Audit highlights UK's 'world-leading' art and music research

13 May 2022

Results from the assessment will determine the allocation of around £2bn in annual government funding.

Creative apprenticeships drop to lowest level in a decade

05 May 2022

Sharp fall in creative apprenticeships prompts call for a "radical rethink" of career routes into the sector.

ALRA students join Rose Bruford College

04 May 2022

A total of 142 former ALRA students are to continue their studies with Rose Bruford College following the academy’s closure last month.

All students across undergraduate, postgraduate and foundation courses were offered a place to continue their course after the fallout.

The transferring students will work across Rose Bruford’s campuses in South West London and Wigan. The college said it has been working with a number of institutions to ensure students make a smooth transition.

Principal Claire Middleton says the transfers offer students a “secure way to complete their training after such an unsettling time”.

“We were encouraged to see the outpouring of support for them from across the industry,” she added.

Norwich University of the Arts expands campus

03 May 2022

Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) has acquired central Norwich venue 20 Bank Plain.

Work will now begin to transform the former banking hall into exhibition and performance spaces, student facilities and a café, after NUA confirmed it struck a deal with current owners The Lind Trust.

It will become the university’s 12th building in the creative quarter of the city.

NUA Vice Chancellor Professor Simon Ofield-Kerr expects the university to begin using the Grade-II listed building next year.

“It provides the opportunity to create spaces that combine teaching, research, exhibition and collection and public access way beyond our existing estate and will become an important centre for both the university and the city.”

Unions blame DfE for ALRA closure

14 Apr 2022

The Department for Education (DfE) bears "significant responsibility" for ALRA's sudden closure, unions say.

In a joint statement, the University and College Union (UCU) and performing arts workers' union Equity say ALRA’s financial difficulties were the "predictable consequence of the poor regulation of private providers and an ideological reliance on fees".

"The Government’s vindictive attacks on funding for creative and performing arts and its refusal to support these subjects in higher education form the background to ALRA’s collapse."

Claiming ALRA’s senior management handled the situation "disgracefully", the unions said they are offering advice to their members and encouraging other institutions to make offers of alternative employment.

They warn ALRA will not be the last higher education institution to suffer unless the Government abandons its fee-based funding model in favour of secure public funding. 

"This cultural vandalism must be brought to an end," their statement concludes.

£8.9m for youth music making

13 Apr 2022

£8.9m is being invested in two funds to support young people's music making, learning and earning potential.

Youth Music has launched the Trailblazer Fund, offering grants of up to £30,000 to organisations who want to trial new music projects, and the Catalyser Fund, which will give up to £300,000 to those want to scale up existing projects or "create change in sector practice".

The charity says the funds, made possible with National Lottery support via Arts Council England, respond to a 33% increase in demand for funds over the past 12 months.

"The post-pandemic demand for funding of transformative music-making opportunities is far outpacing demand," it said.

Applicants to Youth Music helped design the funds and will inform the funding decisions.

"This shift will make life easier for applicants and ensure music making opportunities are open for the children and young people who need them the most."

UK arts universities perform well in rankings

07 Apr 2022

The UK's arts universities have held on to top spots in the QS World University Rankings.

The Royal College of Music was named the best insititution for performing arts study.

For the sixth year since 2016, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has been rated in the top 10 for performing arts, placing fifth.  

Conservatoire Chair Nick Kuenssberg said: “Despite the pandemic, yet again the conservatoire has been able to maintain its value set and continues to develop its pedagogy and unique combination of disciplines at the highest level.”

In art and design, the Royal College of Art is first, followed by University of the Arts London.


Shock as ALRA closes without warning

06 Apr 2022

Trustees missed the warning signs in 2020, reporting a "very low risk" of closure just six months ago.

UAL plans 30 online degree courses

05 Apr 2022

University of the Arts London (UAL) will offer 30 online and "low residency" degree courses in the 2022/23 academic year.

The plan, part of the university's new 10-year strategy, could double student numbers, providing another 5,000 full-time equivalent places per year, or up to 15,000 part-time students.

It will invest in its online infrastructure to achieve this.

"By growing student numbers here in London and expanding online, we can provide more students, whoever, or wherever they may be, with a high-quality creative education," the strategy reads.

"Our strategy will deliver quality at scale, so that we are defined not by how many students we exclude, but by how many we include."



Children’s theatre ticket scheme doubles offering

04 Apr 2022

Children’s theatre Polka is making 4,000 free school tickets available before the end of the school year through Curtain Up! 

The commitment doubles the scheme’s previous allocation, which offers free theatre tickets to primary school children from disadvantaged locations in Merton and surrounding boroughs.

Since reopening last autumn, Polka has hosted 1,700 pupils from 22 schools at Curtain Up! performances.

The scheme's growth responds to the lasting impact of Covid, with schools struggling financially and organisationally to bring children to performances, the theatre says. 

"Theatre gives children a creative outlet, an escapist ride into the world of stories, a way to reflect on their own world, and a chance to experience emotional journeys together. We want to make sure they don’t miss out," said Polka's Executive Director Lynette Shanbury.

Music education survey paints bleak picture

a group of students play the cello
30 Mar 2022

Almost all music teachers agree the government should consult them on the much-anticipated refreshed National Plan for Music Education.

'Highbrow' culture doesn't influence GCSE grades

23 Mar 2022

"Highbrow" cultural experiences like museum visits don't affect GCSE grades, but reading can be influential, research suggests.

The study by researchers Dr Sarah Stopforth of the University of Sussex and Vernon Gayle, University of Edinburgh, said there is no evidence to suggest that cultural engagement can reduce social class inequalities in pupils' exam results.

While it was "tempting to theorise that visits to museums or historic venues might be helpful in igniting interests in history, and that visits to the theatre might similarly cultivate learning in drama" the pair found it hard to justify this approach, especially when compared to other subjects.

"Educational commentators seldom (if ever) suggest that going to football matches or attending church has any positive effects on outcomes in GCSE Physical Education or GCSE Religious Studies."

Reading was more influential in addressing class divides in educational achievement: "Our empirical findings send a clear and actionable message for policy and practice... schools would be better placed to concentrate on increasing reading activities," the study said.

Neither researcher returned requests for comment.

New Chinese art fellowship to launch

14 Mar 2022

A postdoctoral fellowship in Chinese and Sinophone contemporary art will provide a "unique opportunity", its funders say.

Asymmetry Art Foundation and The Courtauld have partnered on the two-year grant for early career academics, their first collaboration.

Two fellows will be mentored by The Courtauld's Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art, Dr Wenny Teo and be involved in a lecture series and international symposium.

Courtauld Director Marit Rausing said the initiative is part of "our continuing efforts to decentre and decolonise the curriculum".

A call for applicants will open soon with the first fellow selected by the summer.

DfE plans ‘worrying’ for creative degrees

students take part in an art class
02 Mar 2022

Disadvantaged groups could miss out on future university places as creative degrees fail to feature in funding for “strategic priorities”.

Higher education lends support to LEEDS 2023

22 Feb 2022

The University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University will lead a strand of the LEEDS 2023 programme with the support of other local educators.

Leeds Trinity University, Leeds Arts University, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Luminate Education Group have also signed on to be "gold partners", offering events and opportunities to participate in the placemaking festival.

LEEDS 2023 Creative Director Kully Thirai said the partnerships aim to show that Leeds is "an exceptional city for anyone that wants a creative education".

"We will work with our education partners to create opportunities for those already studying in the city to be part of something that’s one-in-generation, and to attract more young talent to study, work and continue to create here."

Leeds University's involvement was first announced last year. It is working to establish a National Poetry Centre that will host several LEEDS 2023 activities and events.

Vice-Chancellor Simone Buitendijk said its Cultural Institute, which is leading on the project, will foster collaborations between the city's creative sectors and its students.

OfS proposals could ‘discourage creative talent’

graduates in a line on graduation day
17 Feb 2022

The education regulator says skills development and graduate earnings may be considered when measuring degree programmes’ success. 

Plastics collection awarded nationally significant status

16 Feb 2022

A collection of designs in plastic has been designated as nationally important by Arts Council England.

Held by the Museum of Design in Plastics at the Arts University Bournemouth, it includes objects like an early billiard ball, prosthetic limbs and the iconic Mr Potato Head toy.

Chief Curator Professor Susan Lambert said there is no other collection worldwide that engages so thoroughly with the history of plastics.

"In recent years, discourse around plastics in the designed world has been divisive, being somewhat polarised by issues around overuse and sustainability. 
“We often see plastics depicted as objects that leave an indelible and damaging impact on the natural world, and while that’s certainly something we need to address as a global community, the current pandemic will see more than 8 billion plastic vaccination syringes used across the world."

Dr Nick Merriman, Chair of Arts Council England’s Designation panel, said he hoped the accolade safeguards the collection for future generations to enjoy.

Digital key to removing music education inequalities

10 Feb 2022

Funding digital innovation will be key to overcoming inequality in music education, a new report says.

Youth Music Charity NYMAZ led an eight-year programme supporting Music Education Hubs to provide online instrumental tuition.

Its conclusive report, Connect: Resound, found online music education opportunities help remove barriers and supporting inclusive and diverse teaching.

The programme reached more than 420,000 viewers through livestreamed events and delivered training to almost 8,000 professionals.

NYMAZ Director Sarah McWatt says the pandemic accelerated the demand and development of digital skills.

“The overarching challenge is how best to address wider inequalities and societal digital poverty, especially in rural and displaced communities and with those who suffer economic hardship.”

'Overworked' theatre school pupil sewed through her hands

09 Feb 2022

A former student of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School says she was "overworked" when she sewed through both her hands.

Stephanie Drogemuller's accident occurred in 2014, and the school says it will investigate if she makes contact.

Drogemuller said she was working hard for the Christmas season and "was so exhausted the needle went through both of my hands on the sewing machine".

She was asked by a school staff member whether it had happened because of her dyslexia.

"I felt like she was phishing for me to say yes, as a sort of easy answer," Drogemuller told the BBC.

School CEO Fiona Francombe said: "We are concerned to hear these reports".

"We take our duty of care towards students extremely seriously and have a robust series of policies and services in place, that we regularly review and update, to support student wellbeing.

"Our courses need to prepare students for professions that can be both physically and mentally demanding, but our priority is to achieve this whilst ensuring their safety and wellbeing."

Keir Starmer: Government is 'attacking' British creativity

03 Feb 2022

Labour Leader promises action on EU touring if elected and says the creative industries deserve more "respect".


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