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Thanks for the name check. Sadly I think I have failed to get the message out to Government that the Arts are important. My view now is that all the effort with the Art Party and standing in the election may have helped create a bit of solidarity but as an advocacy tool it has been a complete waist of time. Further more I think institutions have failed to get their message across because they have taken the view that there was little point in annoying the politicians who hold the purse strings. Museums, galleries and the education sector have mistakenly thought all the calls for ‘more evidence’ were made in good faith and were just not a delaying tactic.
Why am I so pessimistic? Because post election there is a new wave of cuts that butchers the sector of the Arts which is the most progressive, Further Education. Last week I went to Hackney Community College which is a hugely diverse community of kids from disadvantaged backgrounds whose management have seen fit to close its Foundation and BTEC courses in Art.
Hackney College is in Shoreditch which is supposedly a creative hub. People flock to East London because of its creativity. The Art World is overwhelmingly like me, male and pale, the class of kids at Hackney Community College was wonderfully diverse. These are the artists of British Culture of the future. But where will the class of 2015/16 study? UAL has also made huge cuts in numbers of Foundation Course places. Foundation Courses, adult education classes, and access courses are dwindling. These courses are about entry to a profession. These courses are about social mobility. For Hackney Community College to close its further Education offer in Art is a crime. Its time for Artists, Museums, Theatres and Galleries to become much more political in their response to cuts. When I was a kid I remember Sir Peter Hall calling the Government philistines at every opportunity on TV and in the papers. We need to call out institutions and people who cut the arts and point out the stupidity of thwarting creative ambition .