During the Information Age, left-brained thinking ruled. The jobs that practical parents wished upon ambitious children were rooted in STEM: science, technology, engineering and math. The recession deepened this trend, as students reacted to a tight job market by choosing majors that would lead to a job. According to a 2015 study by Economic Modeling Specialists International and CareerBuilder, majors like computer sciences and engineering saw increases of 32 and 26 percent, respectively.
In this light, college art courses may have appeared expendable. Cute, even. Studying art, music and creative writing seemed more relevant for Jane Austen heroines than modern students embarking on serious careers.
But the new era we’ve entered—the conceptual era—shows that the STEM versus arts debate might be a false dichotomy. This era bridges the brain divide, encouraging the development of right-brained traits that benefit left-brained fields. Those Austen-esque skills have become cutting-edge knowledge, even in professions you’d least expect to find them.