April 21, 2020

Why Do The Humanities Matter?


My name is Sophia and I am a freelance Theatre Designer who also teaches and privately tutors to support my creative career. I specialize in humanities subjects – Drama, English and History and Art. During my time at school, I was drawn to the Arts and Humanities subjects. For my A Levels I took on Art, Drama, English and History and was constantly surprised by the overlap between these subjects. This overlap continued during my BA at Warwick University, studying Theatre and Performance Studies.


Whilst my BA was a Theatre course, I really was studying a plethora of topics. Whilst one module required an extensive research into Ireland’s temperamental history, another sparked an investigation into the effect of mental health on men and then another required a study of Apartheid in South Africa. Simultaneously, my course frequently involved delving into classic literature the works of Shakespeare. This vast range of modules allowed me to explore history, the human psyche, politics, art, language and many other topics. Suddenly all the skills, knowledge and interests I’d gained from my A Levels had combined and become essential in my undergraduate studies. It lead me to understand the importance of humanities subjects.

I believe creative and humanities subjects are an essential element of education. Whether studying History, English, Theatre, History of Art, Politics, Religious Studies or Philosophy; you are never pigeon-holed. Each subject allows you to explore such a vast range of subjects and really provide a student with an expansive and perceptive insight. Humanities enables students to understand the world around us , through the learned understanding of human experience. Even beyond education, this extensive bank of knowledge retains its use. It sparks a desire to keep reading, to visit exhibitions and museums, to watch documentaries and to attend educational talks. Personally, I have also utilized my studies thoroughly in my professional career as a Theatre Designer, as I am able to reference and draw inspiration from my studies. For myself, and many others, humanities subjects stay relevant and important even once leaving education.

Even if a student does not pursue a creative career, humanities subjects are hugely beneficial for any career path. Aside from the bank of knowledge humanities subjects provide; humanities subjects also create creative thinkers who think critically and provoke questions and debate– skills which can be applied to all different forms of work. Humanities provides individuals with the confidence to interrogate, making them thorough and engaging working team members. Humanities enables students the ability to present and deliver points orally, to articulate a concise point of view, to problem solve, to digest large amounts of information, to think creatively, to research intensively and then concisely collate that research, to meet deadlines and finally to propose ideas and theories. Skills like these will set an individual aside from the rest and really push them higher in their career trajectory.

Aside from the career benefits of humanities subjects, it’s important to also focus on the personal development that emerges from studying humanities. The world is constantly adapting, and society norms are always evolving. This evolution happens because the next generation is provoking and questioning. Humanities enables students to look at the wider picture, to understand their history as well as cultures different to their own. They are made to think about ethics, morals, democracy and look at historical mistakes and conflicts. This study combined with a confidence to question and critique will therefore enable them to contribute to society’s evolution. It will help create well-informed individuals who challenge what they perceive as morally wrong. Therefore, I believe humanities are so important to the development of individual students, and society.

I believe humanities subjects are of the utmost importance. This belief drives my passion as a tutor to help students really understand and engage with the content of their courses. It is then our job to help students frame and ask their questions – to become a critical thinker. Finally, we must encourage them to continually utilise their humanities studies in the future.