Press Release: Creativity, Arts and Culture Talk Series & Campaign Launches

25 January 2016

Speakers for Schools launches national campaign and talk series with partners Creative Industries Federation and Arts Council England with 25 ambassadors to mobilise industry leaders into state schools.

CIF Slide Cropped

Today the Creativity, Arts and Culture in State Schools Series from Speakers for Schools will be launched in state schools and colleges across the UK. This campaign corresponds with the call from industry for more students in state schools to be taking arts subjects given economic projections of the opportunities available, valuable skills they provide for non-arts careers and need for greater diversity in these sectors to keep them thriving in the UK. The campaign further aims to demonstrate the value of leading industry figures giving their time to inform and inspire young people in state schools on important issues, and encourage further eminent individuals to give their time.


The Federation’s Creative Education Agenda report detailed that there are 2.5 million jobs in arts, culture and the creative industries, with this number expected to double by 2020. The report also argues that creative subjects in schools and in tertiary education support important innovation and enterprise skills in sectors such as engineering and computer science.*


John Kampfner, Chief Executive, Creative Industries Federation has said:

“The Creative Industries Federation is proud to be partnering with Speakers for Schools on the Creativity, Arts and Culture in State Schools Campaign, encouraging the benefits of arts and creative subjects in all state schools and colleges. Breaking down the barriers that exist between arts and STEM subjects in the education system has never been more critical to ensure the UK remains a world leader in innovation and creativity. We hope that through these talks students will see that the wealth of skills gained from creative subjects can be an asset in any future pursuit.”


Speakers for Schools, a charity set up by ITV’s Robert Peston to organise free talks from eminent figures of all backgrounds and industries at state secondary schools and colleges, has arranged over 2,500 talks across the UK to date and hosts annual national talk series on critical themes to help state schools in inspiring their students.


The national campaign will feature a series of over 25 talks from the industries’ leading figures, practitioners and performers, with an aim of inspiring students to harness the wealth of opportunities and skills that come with studying the arts and culture in preparing young people for their future.


Ambassador speakers supporting the campaign include but are not limited to:

  • Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman, Arts Council England
  • Deborah Bull, Assistant Principal (Culture & Engagement), King’s College London and Former Creative Director at the Royal Opera House
  • John Kampfner, Chief Executive, Creative Industries Federation
  • Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre
  • David Morrissey, Actor and Director


These speakers, along with 25+ others, will encourage the next generation of innovators and creators by helping students embrace arts subjects in education and remove the misconceptions or stigma about who arts and culture are for. Through personal stories and industry insights they also aim to convey these subjects’ capacity to build transferable personal-professional faculties such as problem solving, ingenuity and resilience.


Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman, Arts Council England said:

“Arts Council England is thrilled to be working with Speakers for Schools to demonstrate how creative and cultural learning can offer rich opportunities to children and young people. Everyone, wherever and whatever their start in life, should have the opportunity to have an arts and cultural education. It’s a gift for life and can also unlock the vital skills that are helping to drive our world leading creative industries.”


Deborah Bull, Assistant Principal (Culture & Engagement), King’s College London and Former Creative Director at the Royal Opera House said:

“As someone whose life has always been connected with arts and culture, I’m delighted to be a part of the Speakers for Schools national campaign. I hope that by sharing some of my own personal experiences and some of the things I’ve learnt over the years, I’ll help to give students an insight into the opportunities that are open to them in the cultural and creative sectors. So many recent reports have highlighted the contribution these sectors make to the UK – economically, socially and in terms of our reputation abroad. But the health of the sector is dependent on the next generation of creative innovators and so it’s vital that young people from a diverse range of backgrounds consider finding their future careers in arts and culture.”

Robert Peston, ITV Political Editor and founder of Speakers for Schools has said:

“The great thing about creative jobs is that they can’t be done by robots. So Speakers for Schools is proud to be forming a partnership with the Creative Industries Federation and the Arts Council England to inspire young people to consider careers in the arts, humanities and design – which would help to secure the long term prosperity of students and that of the U.K.”


Alongside a series of special talks the charity will also be promoting a variety of arts enrichment resources for state schools and colleges to bolster their own programmes, such as the Arts Council’s Artsmark programme and the Cultural Education Challenge.




The Creativity, Arts and Culture in State Schools talk series and campaign officially runs from 25th January to 10th February in state schools across the UK. For more information please get in touch with our team at:



*Creative Education Agenda, Creative Industries Federation, 2015,


Complete list of Creativity, Arts and Culture Talk Series speakers:

  • Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman, Arts Council England
  • Alex Beard, CEO, Royal Opera House
  • Deborah Bull, Assistant Principal (Culture & Engagement), King’s College London and Former Creative Director at the Royal Opera House
  • Clare Connor, Director of Business Development, Southbank Centre
  • Simon Daglish, Deputy Managing Director, ITV
  • Neil Darlison, Director of Theatre, Arts Council England
  • Marcus Davey, Chief Exec and Artistic Director, Roundhouse
  • Tim Davie, CEO, BBC Worldwide
  • Bill Eagles, Film and TV Director
  • Laura Gander-Howe, Director of Learning, Arts Council England
  • Charlotte Higgins, Chief Culture Writer, The Guardian
  • Ian Hislop, Editor, Private Eye
  • Toby Jones, Actor
  • David Jubb, Artistic Director and CEO, Battersea Arts Centre
  • John Kampfner, Chief Executive, Creative Industries Federation
  • Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre
  • Kath Mainland, CEO, Edinburgh Fringe Festival Society
  • David Morrissey, Actor and Director
  • Geoff Mulgan, CEO, Nesta
  • Ray Panthaki, Actor and Producer
  • Chris Payne, Senior Game Mechanics Programmer, Traveller’s Tales
  • Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive, Paul Hamlyn Foundation
  • Alistair Spalding, Artistic Director, Sadler’s Wells
  • Kenneth Tharp, Chief Executive, The Place
  • Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy
  • Jonathan Vaughan, Director of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama
  • Baroness Young, House of Lords


Speakers for Schools

Speakers for Schools is an independent charity that provides young people in state secondary schools across the UK with access to talks from leading, eminent figures, free of charge. The programme was founded by ITV Political Editor Robert Peston with the ambition of organising free talks in state schools with distinguished figures from all walks of life, including leaders in business, the arts, sciences, sport, politics, academia and the media— as often seen in the country’s leading fee-paying schools. Since launching the charity has attracted a network of over 1000 speakers donating their time and travel, and over 2,500 free talks have been organized with state schools and colleges across the UK. Speakers for Schools is kindly funded in full by the Law Family Charitable Foundation and Caxton Associates.

To find out more please visit

Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.


Creative Industries Federation

The Creative Industries Federation is the united voice for all the UK’s arts, creative industries and creative education. It is a membership body, independent of government and funded by membership dues. It carries out policy and research work and organises events to support the continued growth and success of what is the fastest growing sector of the British economy.