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The Art School Brand (2)

Yesterday I wrote about the lack of genuine benefit the ‘cool’ CSM brand offers its own students and graduates. Now I find the current Art Monthly (310, p.19) is running a very short anonymous polemic that paints a bleaker picture, arguing that the costly cultivation of PR machines in universities actually reduces the standard of education the institution can provide. It stands to reason – the money’s got to come from somewhere.

It begins “Art schools are plagued by those who see them as ‘the brand’ and driven by profits”. The complaint is that in the interests of keeping profits high, art schools have cut costs by dropping facilities, reducing staff numbers and increasing class sizes. What remains, it reads, “are businesses and the managers that run them”. Seek out AM and see what you think.

Tamarin Norwood


One Response

  1. In response to both The Art School Brand (1) and (2).

    While the problem of ‘cool’ in relation to education is perhaps peculiar to art schools, the transformation of educational institutions into ‘businesses’ (though not profit-making ones) is a common phenomenon throughout higher education: with the withdrawal of public funding, new ‘revenue streams’ need to be identified that can be exploited. These revenue streams also go by the name of fee-paying students, preferably from overseas.

    I have no idea what can be done about that, nor whether it’s necessarily a bad thing (in the sense that it isn’t clear whether universities are necessarily good things, historically having been more often on the side of reaction than otherwise).

    What I would find interesting, though, would be ideas about other forms of (art) education that might be established outside official institutional contexts. Could Kultur Fabric experiment with this? Presumably you already do to an extent.

    Last thought. One of the themes of the Documenta Magazine Project was ‘what is to be done? (education)’. It’s probably worth having a look at some of the contributions to this, particularly from Radical Philosophy. Links to articles are at the Kultur Fabric del.icio.us site.

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