Comprehensively Educated

Mock-up image of T-shirt
Mock-up image of T-shirt

In the UK, there is a general belief that employees in the cultural industries are selected on merit, with their social class or background having no bearing on their success or on their chances of getting a job in this area of the economy. Recent sociological research has revealed that the cultural industries are dominated by people from more privileged backgrounds, and that creative fields are surprisingly unequal in terms of social class (Brook et al., 2023).

Alongside this, a wider concern has recently emerged about so-called ‘old-boy networks’ in other areas of economic life, where those who benefitted from a private, non-state education are over-represented in powerful roles in the legal profession, politics, and the media (The 93% Club, 2022.).

This T-shirt allows for the wearer to nominate themselves as part of the social class who did not benefit from a selective private education, but that still consider themselves to be capable, well-educated, and a viable participant in the economy. The text plays on the double meaning of the word ‘comprehensive’, referring both to a type of non-selective secondary school focusing on a broad curriculum (and distinct from selective grammar schools in the UK), and to the general understanding of the word to mean ‘exhaustive’, or ‘including everything necessary’.

Brook, O., Miles, A., O’Brien, D. & Taylor, M. (2023). Social Mobility and ‘Openness’ in Creative Occupations since the 1970s. Sociology. 57 (4). pp. 789–810.

The 93% Club (2022). Welcome to The 93% Club | The State School Members Club. [Online]. The 93% Club. Available from: [Accessed: 11 April 2024].

Available to purchase!

Exhibition History
Launched April 2024

Title: Comprehensively Educated
Date: 2024
Medium: Print-on-demand product, various sizes

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