This blog entry marks the start of the demise of our Fine Art degree at a University in the East Midlands.  Although we have been closed to new starters for two years now the part-time structure of the course means that we still have two more years to go, during which time our aim is to maintain quality of experience for the remaining students.  Therefore, to date we have lived through half of a long close down process. Channelling strong emotions generated by the University’s decision in a professionally acceptable way has been a considerable challenge for all the staff working on the course.  This, then, is my attempt to retrieve something positive from what, I believe, has been a destructive act.

All those artist educators who have had the privilege of working within a structure in which they believe, have experienced the pleasure in seeing students develop into independent practitioners. In many ways that is sufficient but occasionally our work receives an additional endorsement through students or graduates gaining external acknowledgements from competition selection. There is an irony, recognised by all involved in teaching on this programme, that moments of public success must now go ignored by the institution that took the decision to close the course.  We have had an exciting summer with one of our recent graduates, Mandy Payne, reaching the final five shortlist in this year’s John Moores Painting Prize with her painting on concrete slab, Brutal, which depicts the Park Hill flats in Sheffield;


also one of our students, Uta Feinstein, was selected for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2014 with her work Quest.



It is now back to the process of encouraging, challenging, sharing and questioning the remaining 20 students in this new academic year.

This blog post was written at the beginning of October but was delayed because of technical difficulties.



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