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Last Thursday I was invited to the Creative Industries Federation EU Response Event at Manchester Metropolitan University. Over 45 individuals were on the attendance list from design, education, fashion, museums, publishing, local authorities and most of the performing arts. The big exception was dance and although I think I had been invited in my capacity as an intellectual property lawyer I championed the dance industry as a dance blogger as there was nobody else to do so.


Even though the meeting took place in the Ormond Building which is about 100 yards from the Dancehouse Theatre and the Northern Ballet School where I attended a ballet class immediately after the meeting, I found that there a lot of attendees including senior council officials with responsibility for the arts in Manchester who had never heard of those institutions or the Manchester City Ballet.  I banged the drum for dance recalling the special connection we have with English National Ballet which gave its first performance in our city and will return again in Autumn to premiere Giselle.  I said that Northern Ballet had started out in Manchester and had done some of its best work in our city before crossing the Pennines. I tried to build a consensus that a conurbation of over 3 million in the centre of an almost continuous built up area that stretches from Leeds to the Wirral could and should do more.


The meeting had been called to discuss Brexit and I was shocked to learn of the extent to which it had already affected the creative sector.  For instance I was told that he number of applicants to our universities from Europe was already sharply down.  I had previously heard that scientists had been dropped from research teams by their continental counterparts but it appears to be happening in the arts too. There was a lot of concern about restrictions on free movement of people as well funding.  Geoffrey Brown of Euclid who helps arts, heritage, culture and creative industries to access funding described the referendum as "a disaster for the UK across a range of areas - ranging from reinforcing a nationalist and isolationist tendency in the age of globalization which will result in the UK being left behind by larger and more powerful trading blocs and countries."


The sharpness and suddenness of the reaction took me by surprise. Although I had voted "Remain" I had a "let's wait and see" attitude thinking that there would be opportunities as well as costs to the decision. I was sorry to learn that at least one business already felt at risk from the referendum and several speakers feared for their livelihoods.


Speaking selfishly for dance I think that we shall suffer less than most.  I don't think the ending of free movement will stop our companies getting good dancers from the EU any more than they have been prevented from getting good dancers from laces like the USA, Japan, Russia, Australia and South America in the past,  Most of their funding is generated from the UK rather than the EU. Recruitment to our universities was an unexpected problem  


I will be monitoring what (if anything) happens to the performing arts in general and dance in particularly and shall report back from time to time in my blog.

Edited by terpsichore
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Looking forward to updates. My husband has been following the fallout in the scientific community with some alarm; I'm glad things don't seem to be so dire in the dance world and hopefully across some of the other performing arts.

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Terpsichore, you've reminded me that I need to speak to a friend of mine who works for one of the London "medical" schools.  I know she said they got a lot of their funding from the EU, and was wondering what the implications for research and jobs would be if that were lost.

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