A temporary art school created by the students, staff and alumni of Central Saint Martins opens at Tate Modern's Switch House space this week (until 15 January). The workshops, lectures and classes aim to draw attention to the forces "currently threatening arts education" and "what resistance we can offer", according to the organisers.
A campaign to persuade the UK government to include art and other creative subjects in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is ongoing. Critics argue that to exclude art, music and drama from the “core subjects” studied by 14- to 16-year-olds will have long-term negative consequences for the arts and creative industries in England.
Alex Schady, the fine art programme leader at Central Saint Martins, tells The Art Newspaper: “The threat to arts education is the umbrella issue underpinning our project this week at Tate Modern. Now is a good time to put a spotlight on arts education; it is crucial that the arts are a mainstay of the curriculum, we need daring thinkers from diverse backgrounds. There have been dramatic drops in people taking up art A-level.”
The initiative launches phase two of the Tate Exchange scheme, an ambitious public programme involving 53 project partners such as universities and charities who will organise more than 100 events at the Switch House in Tate Modern this year.
Future Tate Exchange projects will focus on issues such as migration, homelessness and mental health. Workshops organised by the London-based Museum of Homelessness (8-9 April) will, for instance, draw upon the personal experiences of ex-servicemen (former military personnel account for one in ten rough sleepers across the UK). In March, Loughborough University and the Open University are among the Tate Exchange Associates behind Who Are We?, a week of drop-in activities centred on the refugee crisis in Europe.
Tate Exchange is supported by Freelands Foundation, the non-profit founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, the daughter of media mogul Rupert, Arts Council England, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Tate Patrons.