Tate, Baltic, MiMA, Slade leaders join campaign against arts education cuts

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Leading arts institutions have joined the campaign to oppose Gavin Williamson’s proposals to cut arts teaching in higher education by 50%.

The directors of BALTIC, the Hayward Gallery, MiMA, the Serpentine, Tate (whose director, Maria Balshaw, is pictured), The Slade, Central St Martin’s and Goldsmiths are among over 300 signatories of a letter to the education secretary objecting to the plan.

“This proposal will detract from one of the UK’s fastest-growing economies” the letter says. “The creative industries contributed £116bn in GVA in 2019 and support one in every 16 jobs. This success has been built upon the UK’s world leading arts education and its entrepreneurial graduates - 65% of employees in the creative sector have a degree, evidencing the value of the universities and schools of art.” 

The letter is part of a national #ArtIsEssential campaign to show the essential value of the visual arts.

The cuts for the 2021/22 year are to subjects such as performing and creative arts, media studies and archaeology, and Williamson wrote to the Office for Students, the independent regulator for higher education in England which is conducting the consultation, saying it should "reprioritise funding towards the provision of high-cost, high-value subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost STEM subjects and/or specific labour market needs”. The deadline for responses was May 6, and the proposals were described by cultural leaders as “horrific”, “catastrophic” and "philistine".  by cultural leaders. Ten government has until mid-June to finalise its decision.https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/consultation-on-recurrent-funding-for-2021-22/

The letter has been organised by the Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN) working with the Visual Arts Alliance (VAA) and London Art School Alliance.

“The current proposal may limit the availability and accessibility of places on arts courses and result in fewer courses being offered. This will have a detrimental impact on our ability to retain our world leading position, attract inward investment through our cultural capital and our share of the global art market…” the VAA said. “The knock-on effect would be less skilled workers in the creative industries, reduction in investment for cultural regeneration; and decreased health and wellbeing driven through place making agenda.” You can read the letter here.


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