Regarding Glenn Tutssel’s call for three-year foundation courses to improve arts education (Voxpop, DW 17 September), I believe he is being disingenuous. This debate between specialist and generalist education has been banging on for years.
My view is that art and design higher education should promote core skills and a depth of understanding in one discipline with transferable skills in other areas, while retaining completely open experimental options, usually over summer, as part of the student’s self-generated major research project, and so on.
I also think more Government funding for life-long art and design learning is what Tutssel should be talking about. Experimental learning opportunities that are affordable and available to students and professionals of all ages should be the way forward. Some of us experiment throughout our life, given an affordable opportunity, not just when we are at college.
Access to gifted art and design tutors, who generate inspiring learning experiences and can actually teach something ‘new’ to us, is what we all want and is often what makes all the difference, not just the idea of an open programme.
I have never taught on an art and design course where students don’t experiment and subvert the main curriculum by twisting it to fit their own interests and obsessions. Wild copulation with ideas andtechniques as a mission is often why many students chose to go to art school in the first place.
Experimentation across disciplines is the norm on most University of the Arts London courses; also the one-year foundation, before the BA, is usually entirely open in content so students can find out more about what takes their fancy, and experience diagnostic processes that enable them to select their area of strength.
Lorraine Gamman, Director, Design Against Crime Research Centre, by e-mail