Venue arts in the east magazine keeps you in touch with the vibrant arts scene in the east of England; Beds / Cambs / Essex / Herts / Lincs / London / Norfolk / Suffolk. Our aim is to spread the word
|about the vibrant arts’ scene in Eastern England in all its richness and diversity. We are dedicated to those who participate in the arts and to those who love the arts; in whatever form it takes.|
In this issue of Venue we feature the excellent arts education which is provided
in East Anglia and neighbouring counties, offering learning and development opportunities in all disciplines and at all levels. Not only does this provision offer a sound grounding in visual and performance arts, design and architecture, but its wide scope embraces also the moving image, sculpture, installation, sound art, interactive and conceptual art, plus all the disciplines associated with the latest digital technologies. The region also has study centres, workshops, galleries and studios which themselves offer learning programmes for anyone with an interest in being creative.
That Britain as a whole has some of the best arts education establishments in the world does not happen by accident or whim. Our politicians have made a formal commitment to young people to ‘ensure that our most talented young artists have access to the very best tuition and support they need to fulfil their potential and to promote a skilled workforce in the arts sector, including a world-class education workforce.’ Such a promise is not sufficient in itself, though; it has to be kept. Some warning signs to the contrary were flagged up when it became clear that the proposed new National Curriculum would not support the wider scope of the creative, design and media industries.
There has been further concern that plans for the English baccalaureate, which will be taught in schools from 2015, did not include arts subjects. This has all resulted in strong opposition, some of it based on the importance to the UK of the arts and creative
industries. The valid arguments are that art and culture enrich the lives of
individuals; reinforce a sense of local community; and are vital to the
economy, generating more than £36 billion a year and employing 1.5 million people. This, along with calls for
creativity to be put at the heart of education, with access to finance and
funding, has led to some rethinking but not, it has to be said, before damage
has been done by the haste to do away with many arts courses.
Perhaps the greatest concern in education establishments themselves at the moment is the impact performance measurement systems in schools is having on arts subjects. In her timely article on page 26, Nicola Powys puts her finger on this particular button when she says you cannot teach creative thinking – ‘instead you have to provide the right environment in which it
can flourish, accept that it is something that cannot be easily measured, and trust that individuals can grow through being allowed to fail.’ We clearly need to teach problem solving, using creative processes/methods, not factual rote learning. Whatever role our young people take up in life, teamwork and problem solving are likely to be vital. As we move to a leisure-based economy, our children need people skills above all else – without these they will suffer in the jobs market.
Arts education in our region is a tremendous resource. We must all work to ensure that it continues to flourish.
Fran Goss Editor