Can you picture a world without art?
Commenting on the political climate is something I don’t usually cover here on Old Fashioned Susie. Recent decisions by our government here in the UK about our education system have really riled me though!
It is being described as “cultural vandalism”, subjects like Art History and Archaeology at A-Level are to be scrapped. Michael Gove has called them “soft”.
There are so many issues I could talk about with regards to our education system, from homework to teachers jobs and pay.
But the removal of choice here is what has outraged me the most. Here’s a great article from the Guardian on why we must continue to have Art History as an option at A-Level.
“… appreciation and love of art is not just the mark of any civilised society, it is the clearest mirror you can hold up to that society, telling you more of its time than a thousand academic histories or earnest documentaries.”
Stuart Maconie,The Guardian.17.10.16
It’s taken me a few days to compose my thoughts on this, and I still don’t have them articulated well in my mind. I just keep thinking- how dare they.
What I do know clearly though, is my belief that education is for everyone. And the freedom to choose what you want to learn beyond high (secondary education) school is a part of the diversity of our culture. Learning about the past is key to understanding and shaping our future.
As you may know, before having kids and starting a blog, I worked as an art & design teacher in secondary school, so this subject feels very close to my heart.
I asked a colleague, who still teaches art, for her thoughts about the situation;
“I’m experiencing frustrated children who are specifically told that creative subjects have no future. Told they must study other more ‘important’, ‘worthwhile’ subjects because doing so will help them get into college/university.
How can people who have no understanding of creative courses be allowed to cut away at our children’s future career pathways? Reducing options or removing them altogether is not the answer. Just because a subject can not be measured in monetary terms doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value.
Art and creative subjects have been proven to reduce stress, promote a positive outlook and produce imaginative thinkers with initiative.
Isn’t this what we want for our children entering the workplace?
Removing Art History at A-level along with other courses which broaden the mind and allow us to understand our past is a mistake. To truly plan and prepare for our future we must understand what has come before us.
In a visual world where social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook dominate our lives why would we ever be removing creative, artistic pathways that are producing the designers of the future?”
Dawn Lee, Art Teacher ages 11-16
800 students took A-Level Art History this year, seemingly that isn’t enough for Art History to continue. The BBC reports that hundreds of experts have wrote to the government in protest.
Here is a full list of the courses that have been axed.
And here’s food for thought…
Do click through to the articles I’ve mentioned here, highlighted in blue, or the one above. They make for great reading.
What are your feelings on the scrapping of Art History and the other courses? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.