Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Cameron, Emin and UCA

Letter in yesterday's Guardian from my friend Luke Frost on Cameron, Emin and the University for the Creative Arts which is closing its Maidstone Campus where Tracy Emin studied.

I couldn't help but clench my teeth with indignation after reading your star-studded Q&A interview with David Cameron (So, prime minister, what are you ashamed of?, Weekend, 26 November). In his reply to a question from Tracey Emin he pinned himself down as a "big fan of art education" and said he is "all in favour of us having well-funded art colleges".
The art college in Maidstone where Emin studied (whose current students I represent as a sabbatical officer) will be closed by 2014 and is now part of the fourth worst-cut university in England. The University for the Creative Arts has been forced to bid for exemption from coming student number reforms after the funding council was "convinced" by the case of institutions like ours that the result of these changes would "likely be a loss of this type of provision". The university would have lost over £1m in funding under the new regime. I worry for the future of our institution, and art and design education in Britain as a whole.
UCA has a good record for widening access, and Cameron is a brazen hypocrite who would see that destroyed, with the "enormous benefit" of this "great education" denied to so many in future. However, he is not the only hypocrite. If Emin truly cherished the memory of her education at Maidstone College of Art she would not have so publicly endorsed the Tories over her desire for a lower tax rate.
Luke Frost
Maidstone campus officer, UCA Students' Union

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