But besides such practical issues is the larger question of what a good life is. This week, a group spearheaded by the British Academy and including the London School of Economics and Arts Council England offered their answer: a parallel acronym, Shape – social sciences, humanities and the arts for people and the economy. So everything from fine art to psychology to economics: the disciplines that help us govern ourselves, understand how we have developed over time and argue for doing it all better.
The argument for Shape can, if necessary, be economic: last year the arts and culture sector overtook agriculture in terms of its contribution, at £10.8bn a year. The humanities’ supposed lack of obvious vocational pathways is in fact a strength in an economy where flexibility and entrepreneurship are prized, while the perception of lower employability is not borne out by facts – 88% of Shape graduates were employed in 2017 (compared with 89% for Stem).
Shape subjects will also be central to answering the most urgent questions we face; science, for instance, is foundational to comprehending the climate emergency, but will not effect the political and behavioural changes needed to achieve net zero. Nor will it necessarily predict or mould the future. Eric Hobsbawm may have found it baffling that “brilliant fashion designers … sometimes succeed in anticipating the shape of things to come better than professional predictors”; the fact remains they sometimes can. The stem of a plant is, after all, sustained and not just decorated by its leaves.
We should not be shy to argue for confidence and curiosity, joy and openness as good in themselves. Along with Stem, Shape subjects have the potential to open up the full extent of our humanity, to help shape a well-rounded, empathetic and resilient body politic. Fighting for equal weighting for these disciplines is not only good but also necessary.
• This article was amended on 29 June 2020 to remove an incorrect reference to Nicky Morgan having been the UK’s education secretary. As education is a devolved matter, Morgan oversaw education policy for England only.
Since I read this article in the times newspaper I have been wondering how much further ahead I would have gone in my career if I did not have a Lancashire accent.
On reflection it seems a mistake to wonder about what might have happened but instead to concentrate on improving the future
I realise that what I could do do instead of learning the queen’s English I could learn to speak with a foreign accent instead.
I am very fond over the singer and poet Leonard Cohen and I have listen to him for hours and hours since being bereaved. He has a Canadian accent.Since a I love him it will be a tribute. So what I’m hearing him singing I try to to feel in my mouth and throat what he is doing with his.
I have got the accent for a few of the words but it’s taking me a long time, and now I have an accent which is a cross between Northern British, Canadian and Cockney.
It will give some researchers work because I won’t fit into one category,: when I was teaching in a university some people thought I was from the USA, other thought I was Dutch.
My name also causes problems because it’s Danish from the Vikings and it’s very hard for certain people to pronounce it or even try. Unless you’ve been living here only a few years you’ll be very puzzled. Someone who had come here from Eastern Europe asked me where I came from because she was sure my name was not English.She was trying to do some one-upmanship over someone who was less capable of adapting to life in the UK.
Is Boris Johnson English? I don’t think but he went to Eton so he has mixed with the the Royal the aristocats and the wealthy. So that is the accent that has learnt
Shall I keep my accent and it’s mixed sounds or shall I try to become totally Canadian? That does not have an answer but it has made me live longer trying to reconcile these differences and I suppose it would have been easier to go to an efficient teacher and learn to talk with BBC English or received pronunciation. That sounds quite religious as if Boris Johnson had climbed Snowdon and received the tablet from God tell ng him how to pronounce vowels.