Removal of design from school curriculum
is "insanity" - Neville Brody

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Neville Brody

News: plans to remove creative subjects from the UK curriculum are “short-sighted insanity”, according to incoming D&AD president Neville Brody (+ interview).

Speaking to Dezeen, Brody described government plans to overhaul the curriculum as “one of the biggest mistakes in British government” and added: “The UK government is trying to demolish and smash all ideas about creative education.”

In September, education secretary Michael Gove announced plans to replace GCSE examinations for students up to the age of 16 with a new English baccalaureate (EBacc) system. Creative subjects such as art and design will not count towards the EBacc qualifications, which instead are graded on performance in academic “stem” subjects. These stem subjects are English, mathematics, history or geography, the sciences and a language.

“They haven’t included any creative subjects as part of the Ebacc, which is an absolutely short-sighted insanity,” Brody said.

Brody fears the changes will discourage students from studying arts subjects, leading to the closure of some UK art schools and a decline of the creative industries.

“The creative industries need high-quality creative graduates. If we’re not getting the graduates, we’re not going to sustain the industry,” said Brody. “Creative services as a percentage of GDP is higher here than any other country, so why would you not want to support, promote and build that?”

Brody, who runs London graphic design agency Research Studios as well as being dean of the Royal College of Art’s school of communication, becomes president of visual and advertising design body D&AD on 1 December.

Brody said he disagreed with comments made by broadcaster Andrew Marr last week, who claimed the Royal College of Art would become a “Chinese finishing school” if changes to the curriculum went ahead.

“It’s not about people being tailored for industry,” he said. “What the Royal College does is develop skilled dangerous minds, otherwise there’s no point in doing it “

However Brody described the government’s attitude to overseas arts students who come to the UK to study as “blindness”.

“A lot of [foreign] students, especially at the Royal College, want to stay on here and want to contribute,” he said. “If you’re categorising non-UK students as immigrants, which this government has done, you’re ignoring the fact that they’re bringing several billion pounds into the country, not only fees but money spent on living accommodation, expenses, etcetera, and now we’re saying at the end of all of that, ‘thank you for your money, now leave.’ An alien visiting would find that hysterically funny. It’s just absurd.”

As part of his one-year D&AD presidency, Brody will launch a new initiative called the D&AD Foundation, which will lobby on behalf of design education, and raise funds for design students and courses.

Brody said: “The proportion of our influence creatively compared to the size of the country is massive, so the D&AD foundation that we’re launching in January, will hopefully start to attract and redirect funds from the creative industry, and from the corporate world that needs the creative industry, and funnel that back into the grassroots of developing opportunity including education.”

The D&AD, which this year celebrated its 50th anniversary, needs to become more vociferous in support of design, Brody added: “D&AD needs to have a more active voice. Historically it’s not really lobbied, it’s not taken on issues, and really kind of left those areas to other people but this is a turning point now.”

Neville Brody made his name as art director for The Face and Arena magazines in the 1980s. He is the current dean of the Royal College of Art’s school of communication and has just designed a new typeface for the college. His own design firm, Research Studios, has offices in London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and Tokyo. Dezeen previously filmed an interview with Brody for the Design Museum’s Super Contemporary exhibition, in which he talks about the people, places and cultures that have defined his life in London. See all our stories about Neville Brody.

See below for an edited transcript of the interview between Dezeen editor Rose Etherington and Brody:


Rose Etherington: What do you hope to achieve in your D&AD presidency?

Neville Brody: Well my interest isn’t really to do with the ceremonial aspect of being the president of D&AD. It’s an interesting junction because this is the beginning of the next 50 years in a way. I think D&AD is recognised as one of the most important awards to win, so how can we leverage that focus on excellence and use it as a way of developing excellence for the future?

We’re now in a space where the UK government is trying to demolish and smash all ideas about creative education. So we have to ask serious questions: what responsibility does D&AD have within that? And also, the creative industries here need high quality creative graduates. If we're not getting the graduates we’re not going to sustain the industry.

They’re trying to smash creative education, and it makes no sense. As you know, they haven’t included any creative subjects as part of the Ebacc, which is an absolutely short-sighted insanity. The government’s complete lack of vision and its complete focus on stem subjects beggars belief and I think they’re making one of the biggest mistakes in British government.

We’re not going to regenerate and reinvent our manufacturing industry that’s for sure. So if you look at the skills we need not only in computing engineering but in programming software development, in games design, advertising as part of the creative service industry, design, and we’re recognised as one of the best quality in the world in the UK. Creative services as a percentage of GDP is higher here than any other country, so why would you not want to support, promote and build that? It’s not just about the music industry, and obviously our struggling film industry, it’s about developing these great minds.

Rose Etherington: If the government goes ahead with this, what would the creative industries look like in Britain in 20 years time?

Neville Brody: Well in 20 years time, will we still have this level of global commissioning of UK creative services? I would say probably not, especially with China opening hundreds of art schools at the moment, focussing not only on the manufacturing but also on the innovative and creative side, and at the other end marketing and distribution.

So where does that leave the UK? The proportion of our influence creatively compared to the size of the country is massive, so the D&AD Foundation that we’re launching in January, will hopefully start to attract and redirect funds from the creative industry, and from the corporate world that needs the creative industry, and funnel that back into the grassroots of developing opportunity including education.

Rose Etherington: Tell me a bit about how the D&AD foundation would work.

Neville Brody: It’s going to be the place where all of the education activities at D&AD will sit. So it has two kinds of remits, or three in a way. One is that it will be a focusing and an emphasising of all of the educational activities. D&AD does a massive amount [but] it has not surfaced, so people aren’t usually aware of the scope of it.

Secondly, it would help separate educational activities from industry activities, which would be the awards, the book, the membership, talks, stuff like that. Of course there’s the money making side in order to raise endowments and donations directly into the foundation, so it can be used directly to support students in universities.

The third area for me is that D&AD needs to have a more active voice. Historically it’s not really lobbied, it’s not taken on issues, and really kind of left those areas to other people but this is a turning point now. This year will be much more vocal, and I think Laura Jordan-Bambach who is coming [as president] next year would also be vocal in different areas. And I think D&AD has to have a voice, and it does ultimately represent visual designers and advertising in this country. So hopefully expect to hear more from us.

Rose Etherington: You mentioned all of the design schools that are being set up in China. Earlier this week Andrew Marr wrote a piece saying that the RCA could become a Chinese finishing school. How do you feel about that?

Neville Brody: Well, number one, I always call the Royal College an “unfinishing" school. There’s a particular quality and there’s a particular what I call an RCA-ness, which you can’t identify. It’s not about people being tailored for industry. What the Royal College does is develop skilled dangerous minds, otherwise there’s no point in doing it. It develops the minds and individuals that will go out and change the industry. So it’s kind of leadership through innovative thinking really that they’re looking for. This country is not going to be looking at developing finishing schools for Chinese students.

The blindness is the UK government making sure that when people graduate with their BA or MA that they don’t leave the country, so it has the opportunity to capitalise on the skills sets it’s training. A lot of students, especially at the Royal College, want to stay on here and want to contribute, but the government is saying ‘well we’re going to invest in educating for non-UK students, but we have no interest in using that education to help our industries. It’s almost to the point of deportation. It’s just insanity.

And economically, it makes no sense. If you’re categorising non-UK students as immigrants, which this government has done, you’re ignoring the fact that they’re bringing several billion pounds into the country, not only fees but money spent on living accommodation, expenses, etcetera, and now we’re saying at the end of all of that, ‘thank you for your money, now leave.’ An alien visiting would find that hysterically funny. It’s just absurd.

Rose Etherington: So does D&AD plan to tackle this problem of students being classed as immigrants as well?

Neville Brody: It’s certainly on the table for discussion. It’s certainly a part of a much bigger picture. It’s not part of our directly remit, of course, because what’s going to happen in the next few months is that we're looking at all aspects of how to maintain quality and opportunity in the creative industries in the UK, and I wouldn’t have thought immigration was an area for D&AD to touch. But survival of creative education in the UK is an area we have to touch, so we have to help think about how best to ensure that going forward. Of course, the best thing to ensure this is if the government supports it properly.

Rose Etherington: So what specific things would you like to see the government do in order to support it?

Neville Brody: Money. Some art schools will definitely go out of business in the next five years in this country. It’s unsustainable, with the extra pressures that government’s putting onto art schools; putting pressure on schools to get rid of art in its curriculum. Because it’s saying that it’s going to give money to schools and academies based on the success in the stem subjects. It doesn’t consider creative subjects, so what happens then is that schools will not invest in art or performance or any of those areas because it won’t go to their bottom line. And so schools might end up focusing many of their hours on teaching maths and sciences and English, and may not even offer art in future.

A lot of schools had to close playing fields and sell off land in order to try and raise money, and so sport collapses, and it’s just insanity. It will lead to further collapse and will lead in the end to such a massive need for reinvestment.

Otherwise other countries will be buying up these facilities, and extracting all the profits, and then not paying tax back into this country. I’m all for internationalism but I’m also all for healthy creative industry of this country.

  • Rob Dowie

    Why do politicians – who commonly know nothing about anything other than how to feed their own egos – think they should remove the keystone of one of Britain’s most successful industries? And that’s without considering the pleasure, therapy and richness it brings to all of us on various levels. Even mad people would call it mad.

    • http://www.blackmarquegallery.co.uk John Tiley

      Couldn’t agree more, Rob. I am increasingly convinced that to become a politician or someone of the powers that be, a pre-requisite is that you must be either alien or unable to distinguish between sense and nonsense.

    • Marcus Richardson

      Politicians don’t see things as we do. As a designer I count myself lucky in that I am part of a group who see life differently, more analytically and in a more observational way. This gives us far more insight into the world we live in. For instance, politicians see numbers, opinion polls, flattery and knee-jerk reaction as the status quo. They see artists and designers as a secondary tier of society. We however, with our more inquisitive eyes see politicians as knobs. ‘Nuff said.

  • http://twitter.com/daaain @daaain

    Learn more and sign up your company to support: http://includedesign.org/

    Sign the petition: http://www.baccforthefuture.com/

  • Adams Namayi

    Neville Brody’s advice to government on the value of design education in the UK is ideal and should be replicated in other parts of the world. Governments tend to ignore the fact that this creative field is a key factor in social and economic growth of a country.

    Dear Brody, please refer the UK government to the history behind the inception of RSA. Please move on with your plans to lobby government. I wish you success. I am also on the same issue to lobby government to come up with National Design policy in Kenya.

    Adams

    • elinor

      I believe design should be a major element of every subject, not necessarily a subject standing on its own. It gives the reason behind the function, the ergonomics behind the aesthetics. Maybe the whole school and college curriculum needs reassessing and cross fertilising. This may be the time!

  • http://www.ryanfrank.net Ryan Frank

    This is unbelievable: design is the most powerful tool we have in planning and preparing for a greener, cleaner future. Just goes to show how disconnected the government really is from what’s important.

  • JonnyMagic

    Retaining the potential of sustainable and eco design amongst young learners is undoubtedly extremely problematic for the global development of a clearer future. What ever is Gove going to compress in the British education system next?

    China and Japan are planning to do exactly the opposite, ie they know the ancient arts and crafts in their culture have got forgotten and they are planning to reinstate them. Go East Asia and their current 8.2% GDP. Glad to say I am applying for creative educational posts here after a degenerating seven years teaching creative design and technology in England! Jonny in Hong Kong.

  • http://acad.ca Rik Zak

    Regarding Neville Brody and the EBacc: yes, it looks like the UK takes one step forwards and two back.

  • ugr61

    I partially agree. On the other hand though, how many “qualified artists” does the world need? Should we not try to popularise science etc instead? I’ve met some young people at the Art and Design Foundation recently – not only were some of them simply lazy and not massively creative or talented (as creative as anyone is to a certain extent) but also not educated properly (couldn’t pronounce “Gaugin”, didn’t know what Gestapo was, mistaking immorality with immortality).

    Britain is famous for its design, but let’s admit that so many students choose art and design because it’s an easy subject and it often doesn’t require as much commitment as studying, let’s say, rocket science.

    • Sonia

      I have to say to your response, people choose the arts not because of your reasons. To create is actually an extraordinary ability to have. The system lets us artists down in not providing the tools to progress as artists. The world is full of money-driven PR companies and this seems to now be one of the only succesfull way to make something of one’s art. But remember, without us they are doomed.

      • DMSM

        I've met more than a few 'lazy and not massively creative or talented' non-artists. And rocket science IS design.

    • Sonia Edwards

      I have to disagree. To be creative is the most enlightening experience. Without creativity you have no less cause for business. It is such a shame that artists are suffering. The system needs a redesign. Teach artists, designers etc how to do business after they graduate and stop wasting our time with grading our art, as it ultimatly belongs to the observer to decide. Hand in hand, these subjects should not be on the curriculum. Please redesign the course alongside graduates within the areas.

    • Danko

      Ugr61,

      I do agree with you on the importance of everyone knowing the basics but the 20 year long education system has to at the end spit out a well-rounded individual. There isn’t enough time or space for me in this little comment box to argue the merits of one subject over another and when you say easy do you mean easy to make a chair or a tailored suit, or perhaps easy to make a digital 3d model or easy to make a film or television program like the news or easy to design a website, or an app or maybe you meant it was easy to know how to actually physically produce something.

      Disciplines such as product design, fashion and media are not only huge revenue generators they are also critical to the human way of living.

  • http://www.d4online.com D4 Sheffield

    At last the D&AD has a President with some bite to lead this fight. In our own small way we have been running a social media campaign to encourage people to sign the online petition. This lack of economic vision is far too important to go unchallenged – so please get involved somehow.

    You can download free posters here http://www.facebook.com/d4online or spread the word on twitter #moreartnotless or sign the online petition http://www.baccforthefuture.com/

    Ta very much.

  • Sonia edwards

    I did an art degree I have to say I realised art could not be taught, so how can it possibly be graded? I have designed my own ladies’ branded garments and I am struggling to get it off the ground as I was not taught these basic areas, which is a huge fail in the system. I say scrap the system and redesign it using the graduates who have fully understood the system.

  • David

    Art and design shape our world and are key to any cultural, economic and social development. Whether intuition or technique, the scope to create and develop ideas has much more impact on how our future will be shaped. Ultimately – although I don’t condone this – machines can count, translate and educate us but it’s our creativity that creates business, lifestyles and our environment. All alien to those in government of course.

  • Greg

    Total insanity, agreed!

    Even students that are not destined to be designers should be encouraged to study and partake of design/creative exposures. It is proven that art is relaxing and fun!

    Everyone is exposed to more creative and designed things in life than anything else. Design’s effects are involved with almost everything.

  • Blackie Jones

    Having worked both in education and as a freelance designer, I actually believe that they should not include it as part of the EBacc. The current situation with GCSE Art and Design Technology is ridiculous – lots of distinctly unremarkable people ticking all the boxes and getting A*s and some brilliantly creative people getting Bs and below because they cannot achieve the artificial “academic” elements required. Creative subjects are entirely different to maths/English etc and should be taught and assessed as such. Forget the EBacc: start campaigning for an equally weighted creative qualification.

    • Novalinnhe Rowa

      I agree. As a student who has just come out from sixth form, I would like to say to all the people reading these comments that this “tick box” culture is very real, and very unfair – in fact, it’s what my last Art & Design project was about.

      Art cannot be marked, and I do not believe it ever should be. The government isn’t getting rid of the subject – simply the awful system which attempts to somehow force creativity into a scheme which is very much more suited to left side of the brain – not the right.

  • sultony

    I have been teaching design at various universities for the past 37 years and I have had six children go though our school system. Despite obvious developments in technology I have witnessed a deterioration in the standard and provision of design education in the UK, even compared with when I was a student. There are many reasons for this but the key reasons are reduced funding, reduced teaching time and impersonal teaching because of mammoth empire-building campaigns. I know colleagues from many universities who are rushing around the world scooping up overseas students, denying our own students places.

  • ryan

    The problem with this is far beyond the surface issue of art schools and creative industry. In fact, if we only look here, the arts will permanently be doomed. Creativity is essential to critical thinking. This is motivated by the desire to strictly control the population, through the removal of options from the mind of the society. We’re seeing it here in the states and it’s very sad that it’s gone on long enough it’s considered good practice. This is what happens when we believe anyone, least of all politicians, have our best interests in mind. Truth is, politicians are merely puppets of industry. Government itself is a facade for industry. Only people have the power to instigate change and only if we are together, see the reality of the world for what it is and STOP supporting it. Otherwise we’re just consumers, doing what we’re told is best.

  • Jon Effemey

    Is this a plan to turn the UK into “Downton Abbey land”? The plebs will know their place and the elite will stay in their gated communities reading Ovid. Or is this government just plain stupid? We are excellent at creativity across the board. In a highly competitive world, we should play to our strengths not destroy them. What is their agenda? I now live in the Philippines. England is just seen as a part of the USA here! What hope have we got if we both leave the EC. and destroy our creative industry? I am beyond depressed here. Bring back Wat Tyler, and who are the Labour party?

  • http://facebook.com/schooloffootwear Darren Bischoff

    In Australia we have just closed down our 100-year-old school of footwear. We need shoes to be made for the arts within each community, each culture, each tribe, so I – an advanced shoe-maker – went and opened up my own self-funded school. My classes are booked up in advance with people who want to learn the art of shoe design. You’re all talking about England but you should see what the government is doing down here with all our design curriculums and trade schools for that matter.

  • Henry Brimmer

    It’s a shame, no-doubt, that the arts end up sucking hind-tit to everything else in schools. But creativity can’t be stopped or suppressed – close one vent, the steam will find a way out elsewhere.

    Also, consider the incredible contributions by drop-outs who found school programs stifling, counter to entrepreneurship!

    Finally, re-read Neil Postman’s Teaching as a Subversive Activity.

  • A5 Essential

    Hmm, I think Brody is living a lie in an ivory tower here. The current status and intake of the Royal Collage of Art is woefully misrepresentative of the overall situation. At present, design studies at English universities are massively over saturated – a system that is cynically churning out design students for cash and dumping them with very few employment prospects.

    In order to strengthen and protect the creative industries, intake of students in design studies needs increased rigour and numbers must be slashed to improve the quality of the subject – the complete opposite to Brody’s suggestion. Otherwise we see design being diminished as a low-end, low-value commodity with x-factor style dumbing down of worth and valuation. Qualifications will continue to be exported to overseas students, implementing British design qualifications in the less discerning far eastern markets. As ugr61 hints at, more of our students would benefit from a stronger foundation in the “stem” subjects to enable them to properly engage with design subjects should they choose to study them.

  • Elette Wheeler

    I taught art and design in NZ for 20 years, and for those who are unformed, we know that it is not the easy option. Creative thinking needs to be learnt because of the linear thinking school mostly produces. It is the agony and the ecstasy for all students and they work bloody hard but not like a 9-5 job. They may be drinking coffee, or sitting in the pub and they can be still working. Archimedes was taking a bath, remember? Philosophy is of a similar ilk.

    I do believe that one of current Western government’s greatest fears is creative human beings. And, by the way, creativity is natural and inherent to the human species. We need it for our health, well-being and survival, just like air, clean water and real food.

  • Kevin Rock-West

    If design education were to be emasculated in the way that Mr Gove wishes Mrs Cameron would not be wearing those rather good outfits!

  • Janel

    Creative Thinking is the thread that runs through all things great. I believe that there are no problems – just creative solutions. I have lived in the Caribbean for the past 14 years trying to share my creative approach and find that governments reject things that they do not understand. Creative thinking is design. Perhaps we can keep design by repackaging it under an umbrella that speaks to uninspired people. We can surely find a creative solution to this!

  • Scott Robbie

    I’m a design and tech teacher in Scotland. I tell my kids – try and get to England after school for a higher education in design. This is terrible news to hear, England’s schools have enviable school autonomy, yet Gove has spat on this privilege. I’m really upset by this.

  • http://www.jamsheedtodiwala.com jamsheed todiwala

    The funniest aspect is that London especially is the home of world culture, and to be cultured you need creativity. Without it our culture is truly lost. I was the last of our year in school that had art as a subject, and history of art as an A level, it’s all gone now, and they’re planning on further removing everything. Funny how a school that promotes a good cultural growth removes the most important part of our race.

    It’s highly disappointing, incredibly sad yet even still the beauty of our culture is that we strive to find other ways of expressing ourselves no matter what. :-)

    So all is not lost sir! But a lot will be :-(

  • terry gander

    This is a rather silly move – we are known as a creative resource throughout the world. Our manufacturing industry is relatively weak yet we are very strong in the creative and design areas. Our tiny company provides creative solutions to China, Europe and the USA. If we stop the creative studies in schools we will severely limit our place within the industrial world – although I have long felt that we are allowing too many people to train as designers based on IT skills and not drawing skills and an ‘EYE’ for form and shape.

    School children should be able to experience creative subjects at school to provide an alternative and balance to the conventional academic offerings.

    Do politicians fail to notice that they are surrounded by objects and buildings that have been designed and created by creative types. The attitude that design is not a real job makes me mad.

    Product Designer 34 years

  • http://www.design29interiors.co.uk Sarah Myall

    This is clear stupidity, I have just donated all my old supplies to the local arts school as they are not provided with current examples of things like fabric pattern books and wallpaper and trims. We will end up being a laughing stock yet again when it comes to our education system, and obviously only thought up by book worms. How do they think this will transend into business in the future, who will create graphics and media for advertizing, who will produce film and production, who will create new fabrics and prints for the productions sector, who will create glass and pottery wear, who will bring on new british inspired architecture, who will develop new game and image formats, who will just make the world a prettier place to look at whether it be in 2D or 3D format? Just goes to show the lack of education from these twerps in suits that we are supposed to trust to have our countries best interests at heart. Well if it is proposed formally the arts world are the ones who best know how to protest (peacefully) and I think that will be what we will see, for it will leave our children lacking in the creative parts of their minds, and bored kids is never a good thing!

  • Colin McKeown

    The performance of this government amazes me. On the one hand they talk about the economy and how to get it moving. Then they do everything to prevent that from happening. Design fires innovation, fact, and old ways of thinking and doing things will not steer this great country of ours out of the mess we are in, unless we do things differently. Design shapes the future of lifestyle, services and products. Clearly we need fresh thinking and a creative approach for our young people to thrive. Design thinking and skills will provide a better future for everyone.

  • Eden Godfrey

    I was a typical unfocussed schoolboy and not inspired by the normal subjects, with no great plans for my future… and then at the age of 14 it was my design and technology teacher Angus Thomas who completely changed the way I saw the world. Through his “no idea is unachievable” approach, all projects were possible.

    When the class would propose the most unrealistic project, he would take it on board and show us the path of possibility. Through creative thought and applied logic all my other subjects had more meaning. The relevance of maths and its simplicity became apparent, in fact all my subjects became far more interesting as “design is evolution” and is the glue that unites all subjects and makes them relevant. I left school at 18 not just with a good bunch of A levels, but more importantly with the belief and enthusiasm that anything is possible. At 54-years-old I have had an exciting, creative, inventive and rewarding life that has brought employment to many people – so far! And all due to the inspiration I received from Angus Thomas in my design class!

    It is not heads down blinkered study that inspires people to create companies or wealth, it is freedom of thought and a desire to create something new and then we work hand in hand with the boring bods that can’t create… WAKE UP!

  • http://www.design-ed.org Joe Schwartz

    I'm concerned about some of the comments offered here, because they tend to lean towards the design industry as one of putting lipstick on a pig; that is, all design is good for is to make things more attractive. The misconception that learning about design is an "easy out" is also dangerous. It may not require the precision of a surgeon or the analytical mind of a physicist, but good design is not easy – bad design is.

    What Mr. Brody doesn't state in clear terms is that the process of design, the very essence of its being, is to improve the human condition – whether it be through communication, architecture, ease of product use, etc. In the United States where I am from, the STEM subjects are important, but I am part of a movement looking to add an "A" (for Art & Design) to STEM and make STEAM. The point is that yes, it is important for students to be proficient in STEM subjects – but then what? What exactly are they supposed to do with these skills? How are these students who are empowered with math and science skills supposed to improve our lot, if they don't know how to MAKE anything with it?

    The point of including design education in K-12 schools isn't to make more designers – it's to provide all students with a sense of how what they are learning can be applied in a practical application. This is what design education does. It can also be used as a teaching tool, if teachers approach some of their assignments as design thinking and break them down into the seven steps of the design process.

    There is a small group of us in the USA working to try and improve the stature of including design in the average K-12 student's day. It would be sad news to learn that the UK is taking a step away from what appears to be a highly progressive position, but it would be devastating to your future as a world leader.

    I hope that this news doesn't come to be. I will let my fellow design educators know to keep an eye on this.

  • Bea Austin

    Firstly thank you Neville for your words!

    Not only is our creativity a precious commodity it’s also a large part of our identity, and not only is that a good reason to protect creative subjects, but as we all know it’s those subjects that keep students in the schools, whether they’re arts or science biased, or more importantly, even if they’re entirely disenchanted with school altogether.

    I think many of us within the creative community understand what a slippery slope this leads to. My question is what can we do about it? Obviously we can write to our MPs and make our voices heard. We can join groups to highlight and educate the desicion makers etc, but equally as stake holders in the future of our joint creative industries and communities, shouldn’t we be doing something as professionals to be able to support the upcoming generations? Can we use some of our time and resources to work with our own local communities, art colleges etc? Our most precious resource is our experience and our time, if we can share that in some ground roots organised way then we may be able to feel more empowered?

    If we’re outraged then we also have to be walking the walk.

  • Stephen M-Rees

    You cannot educate a person to be creative, but you can educate a creative person to be a better creative. Educating them about the world around them is key to this.

    There’s too many design graduates out there with no substance. Not their fault, but the fault of the universities. Many graduates should ask for a refund for a worthless degree.

    • babby sans

      I agree. Creativity is something that should be built in and around this. Also, to say English as a subject is not creative is lunacy. As we all know many of the best designers rely on this key skill in creatively justifying their ‘creative output’.

      Cynicism aside I have found English a far more valuable subject than art was in influencing firstly, how I think and secondly how I design.

  • Tim Williams

    I would accept what you say except I see no evidence on the UK High Street of the money which has been spent on design education at any level during the past 30 years. As an established designer with 40 years experience I feel that ‘design’ teaching has no place in secondary education or indeed in all but the final year of tertiary education. Design is to do with seeing a problem, understanding it and then providing a solution. Too much effort is put into the visual aspect. Form ever follows function. As Bob Gill once recounted in a lecture, the best design solutions are those you can sell over the telephone.

  • Adam

    As a designer, I am proud of my well rounded education. I had to drop my design and art subjects in order to pursue subjects that would scale higher, ironically gaining me entry into the design program I completed at uni.

    I think removing art and design subjects from the recognised list of academic units is a grave mistake, although it is important young students also receive a diverse education, equipping them for the real world.

    English and mathematics are fundamental to my career as a designer.

  • http://twitter.com/tanyavaughanltd @tanyavaughanltd

    Sad and shortsighted proposals. It's not grading the arts that's important, it's exposure to them in the first place. Will our artists, musicians, writers and actors all come from top schools with extensive arts curriculums or families who can afford the extra activities? How on earth can state schools be expected to plug the gap?

  • Loiz

    Encourage Rudolf Steiner Schools all over the world. They are stress free, soul enriching and creativity is the core of their curriculum.

  • Chris

    I believe that it’s a bad idea to remove any subjects from school education, as in my mind everything in this life is linked together. In the early days before science and maths was common knowledge, it was creativity and experimentation that discovered fact, and I believe that if we link the sciences and the arts we’ll discover much more.

    This will also lead to us solving many of the world’s problems. Creatives, scientists and mathematicians all have unique skills that together are very powerful. I feel we’re loosing a lot of this magic as education allegedly “progresses'” Life and the world isn’t as simple as STEM – that isn’t the big picture.

  • http://www.clippingpathspecialist.com/clipping-path.html Jannatul

    He is a good guy.