NiTRO Creative Matters

Perspectives on creative arts in higher education

Former London Deputy Mayor Slams UK Decision To Dump Art History A Levels

Former Deputy Mayor of London for Education and Culture has slammed the UK government’s decision to dump art history from the A level syllabus.

Former Deputy Mayor of London for Education and Culture has slammed the UK government’s decision to dump art history from the A level syllabus. Writing in the Huffington Post, Munira Mirza notes that the numbers taking art history A level has halved since 1999 due to the drop in numbers of schools offering the subject and in tertiary education only 1000 of undergraduate students were studying art history, compared with over 36,000 undergraduates in creative art and design courses in 2015.

While art history was offered 90 private schools, it was available to state students in only 16 schools creating a disproportionate imbalance of privately educated students with access to some of the country’s top curatorial positions. “Our capital is home to the two most powerful auction houses in the world – Sothebys and Christies – plus the most visited museums and galleries on the planet. The international commercial art market is worth £80bn and London is its second biggest city.” she said. “Studying art history is actually one of the few ways of getting a good job in the arts sector. It’s hard to be a museum curator without it, work in any senior position in an auction house or gallery, or become a serious art critic.”

While hoping for a government reprieve , Mirza suggests the Art History in Schools initiative (http://www.arthistoryinschools.org.uk/) as a taster program for pre-tertiary students interested in pursuing art history 

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