Cultural institutions oppose cuts to university arts education 2 Jun 2021

Leading arts institutions and creative industries bodies are among those opposing Education Minister Gavin Williamson’s proposal to cut Office for Students funding for university arts teaching by 50%. This would reduce funding per student from £243 to £121.50 for subjects including performing and creative arts, media studies and archaeology. Williamson told Conservative Home : “The record number of people taking up science and engineering demonstrates that many are already starting to pivot away from dead-end courses that leave young people with nothing but debt.” An open letter opposing the cuts and this view has been organised by the Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN), with signatories including Tate Director Maria Balshaw, the Art Fund and Creative Industries Federation.

Describing the decision as a ‘strategic mis-step’ it, the letter says: “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….If you believe that innovation is a strategic priority, you will not cut higher education funding to the arts – but better recognise our value as integral to the fourth Industrial Revolution.” A spokesperson for OfS responded that the changes only equated to 1% of overall funding for arts courses, adding  “alongside this we plan to maintain funds to support disadvantaged students, and to boost funding for specialist institutions by £10m.” The Government will be finalising its decision in mid-June. Arts Industry, Office for Students, Guardian, Society of Antiquaries, The Times, Art Newspaper, Museums Journal