I read Adrian Shaughnessy’s article Seditious Stirrings (Private View, DW 6 January) with a great deal of interest. I wholeheartedly agree with him that the social focus we are beginning to find among students is indeed heartening. As somebody who also makes numerous visits to design schools, I too have noticed an ever-increasing social focus on projects.
I have also taken a degree of guilty pleasure in seeing the students out on the streets protesting, as I had feared that as a breed they had turned into a bunch of conformist automatons.
This brings me on to the point that Shaughnessy makes regarding the withdrawal of arts and humanities funding. Whereas I agree that a withdrawal of all funding would be a disaster, I do actually believe that a partial reduction might not be a bad thing.
On my visits to art schools I am acutely aware that students who simply aren’t good enough are allowed to take the various design courses, simply to make up the numbers and bring in revenue to the school, which has a detrimental effect on the really good students.
We don’t need a huge number of new designers every year. What we need is a good throughput of excellent designers capable of radical thought. If reducing budgets means only the best students get to study design and those who do are also radical thinkers, socially focused enough to want to protest about the injustice of the reduction in budgets through the power of design, then surely the ultimate winner will be the design industry.
Glenn Taylor, Co-founder and graphic designer, Stocks Taylor Benson, Grove Park, LE19