Prof Patrick McGhee

Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco Academy of Art University.’

Arts and The Creative Industries: Speech at the 2012 Professional Doctorate in Fine Art Exhibition

In Blogroll, Uncategorized on January 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Text of Speech for Exhibition Show for Professional Doctorate in Fine Art

27 January 2012 – Check Against Delivery

The UEL Professional Doctorate in Fine Art

Students, colleagues, external guests and practitioners:  Welcome to our Professional Doctorate Programme in Fine Art Exhibition. This doctorate is a practice-based research degree, pretty unique to UEL. With its greater emphasis on practice, it is more appropriate for many artists than a PhD. The programme aims to enable students develop and demonstrate a high level of professional practice through research and creative practice. The written element supports and reflects on the practice, which represents the main part of the original research. Many of the students on this programme are already recognised practitioners, and several students are experienced lecturers in Art at other institutions. This programme is a sign of the networks and the mobility of staff and students – and therefore of ideas and practice – around the capital. The roll call of students, staff, visiting lecturers, and alumni reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of London and UK art, design institutions and other specialist schools:  Chelsea, Royal College of Art, The Royal Academy, Slade, Camberwell, University for the Creative Arts and the University of the Arts, London and constituent colleges. Internationally, we have student representation this year from the  San Francisco Academy of Art University.

The Funding Landscape for Arts

Last year at the ukadia conference David Willetts made a commitment to small and specialist higher education provision in the arts and acknowledged the contribution of arts education to the UK economy and society. However, the direct teaching grant from HEFCE is becoming a smaller and smaller part of funding for Fine Art, Art & Design, Performing Arts and creative industries programmes. We should not forget that these studio based disciplines lose all of their teaching funding from next year, with the costs being met by students’ fees. The cost base of these studio disciplines is high, but so is demand and so is the contribution to our culture and our cultural economy. We have much world-class provision in arts nationally in this country, with a particularly high concentration in London. We find this excellence in larger Schools and Departments, as at UEL, where interdisciplinary developments can be developed, but also of course in the smaller specialist institutions with their distinctive cultures; both kinds of provision must be supported and protected. There is more work to be done by HEFCE, DBIS and UUK in ensuring that provision in the Arts does not fall victim to unexpected consequences of broad-brush policy initiatives. For example, this week’s announcements about AAB+ where students with high qualifications are effectively ‘up for auction’, threaten the stability of recruitment in these areas where portfolios are at least as important as paper qualifications. The last thing we need now is more uncertainty for students, for their advisors, and for universities.
I know there is also considerable concern in the university arts communities about how post-qualification admissions will pan out. The turn-around time implied by the UCAS proposals could throw into stark relief the potential administrative nightmare that is auditioning or interviewing entire cohorts of students over a few short weeks in the summer. Where institutions are small, resources are not as easily assigned to deal with such problems. We need to find a practical solutions together.

Excellence Through Diversity
The university arts community in London has a long history of working together through organisations like the National Arts Learning Network and the UEL-led Creative Way network, and now is a time when that mutual support is more important than ever.
In many larger universities creative arts are distributed across the institution potentially reducing critical mass and undermining distinctive identity. At UEL we have brought all these key areas together in one new School of Creative & Digital Media to build strength and raise visibility. Equally, specialist institutions in the visual and performing arts, who have over the years built up distinctive international reputations and paninstitutional cultures but now rightly reaffirm their autonomy in the new marketised higher education sector.  To my mind, the UK and London in particular is stronger for the excellence through diversity that such arrangements promote. We lose such diversity at our peril, and once lost may be impossible to recover.
We see here this evening the fruits of the labour of a wide range of talents, from all over London, the UK and globally. Let’s celebrate that community of practice and of achievement and resolve to promote its value even further.
Thank you.