Stars unite for the next generation

stewart-lee Stars unite for the next generation
Stewart Lee

Big names donate short films for Arts Emergency’s Christmas Appeal

Big names from the arts world, including Stewart Lee and Neil Gaiman and stars from Eastenders and Coronation Street, stand up in support of the grass-roots charity Arts Emergency and its fight against the marginalisation working class voices in the arts.

Against the backdrop of the recent Government spending review, scrapping of the student maintenance allowance, cuts to education, and recent calls for more diversity in the arts and culture, Stewart Lee, Neil Gaiman, Himesh Patel, Julie Hesmondhalgh, and Game of Thrones star Phil McGinley, along with founder Josie Long, are showing their support by making and donating their own 30 to 60 sec films for Arts Emergency’s Christmas Appeal this year.

Stars unite for the next generation philip-mcginley
Game of Thrones Philip McGinley

The films are part of a zero-budget Christmas appeal this grassroots charity hopes will allow them to expand their programmes in London, Manchester, Newcastle and the Midlands.

Other high profile supporters of the charity include artists like The Chapman Brothers and Bob & Roberta Smith. Comedians like Shappi Khorsandi, Stephen K Amos and Johnny Vegas. Poets like Kate Tempest and Scroobius Pip. Actors like Jessica Hynesand Joanna Vanderham.

Authors like Nikesh Shukla and Joe Dunthorne.

Performers like Akala and Charlotte Church.

Journalists like Owen Jones and Laurie Penny…and over 3000 generous, smart, inspiring people you’ve not heard of.

Arts Emergency mentors 16-19 year olds and provides access to a wider network crammed full of artists, academics an activists. It’s an alternative oldboy network! Their mission is “to defend the study of arts and humanities and to the most disadvantaged young people that pursuing a creative life is a viable thing, whatever their background.”

josie-long-006 Stars unite for the next generation
Josie Long

“I believe an arts degree is not a luxury and the decision to study for any degree should be based on talent and passion rather than a financial trade-off between debt and future earnings.” – Josie Long, comedian

“There’s never been a time since the war when there’s been less social mobility in this sphere” – Stewart Lee, comedian and writer

Neil Gaiman Stars unite for the next generation
Neil Gaiman

“This year I gave my address book to Arts Emergency. If we lose the arts, and access to the arts, then what’s left is drained of meaning and importance. Arts Emergency is creating a new way of allowing students to interact and, incidentally, making the world a better place” – Neil Gaiman, author

“With cuts to education and the scrapping of grants, young people from working class backgrounds like mine are really struggling to get into the profession” – Julie Hesmondhalgh, actor

You can watch the videos here:

Julie Hesmondhalgh –
Himesh Patel –
Stewart Lee –
Neil Gaiman –

A little more about Arts Emergency

The set-up
Arts Emergency was founded in 2013 by comedian Josie Long and campaigner Neil Griffiths and quickly gained the enviable support of high-profile artists, comedians, writers, musicians and actors, such as Bob & Roberta Smith, Jake and Dino Chapman, Kevin Eldon, Olivia Coleman, Jarvis Cocker, Kate Tempest, Johnny Vegas and Charlotte Church.

It is entirely crowd-funded and run by two members of staff out of a small office in Dalston. It currently supports 50 active mentor pairs in London, with 22 students being actively matched right now. There are around 500 trained mentors and over 2000 creative professionals in their wider network. They have recently launched in Manchester, where they have 60 mentors trained already, and are due to take student applications in January. Mentors have already been trained in Newcastle, and Derby is next, followed by the rest of the country as soon as the charity has built the infrastructure to deal with the demand.

The young people supported by Arts Emergency
The young people supported by Arts Emergency are those they believe are being denied the opportunity to pursue their natural human interests by discrimination, cuts to education and intimidating amounts of student debt. They may be the first generation in their family to go to university, be a care leaver, or have a family income of less than £25,000.

The mentoring
Mentors are volunteers who come from an arts or humanities background and either have a degree and/or relevant experience, and are now working in a creative capacity or academically. They cover every aspect of creative and human culture, and include writers, directors, artists, journalists, musicians, producers, sociologists, psychologists, actors and more.

The network
The network operates like an “alternative old boys network” by creating connections and opportunities for young working class students that they wouldn’t usually have. The idea is to replicate the networks of privilege that exist in society and give them to young people in Britain that need them the most, whilst at the same time empowering them with the social capital to use it.

For more information please contact Linda Ewen at

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