photography course cuts
Source Magazine recently published an article discussing the likelihood of photography course cuts throughout the UK.
Spending cuts: the coalition government announce teaching grants for undergraduate courses in arts and humanities will be axed.
Art courses such as photography are under threat of extermination as they are unable to run without supportive government teaching grants. Many institutions now face a dilemma over which courses to discontinue and which to keep. In addition to the government cuts, student course fees will rise in 2012, leaving many potential students unable to afford attending university. It all spells a rather difficult time ahead for academic institutions.
Twenty years ago, only a handful of photography courses were available, along with a dozen or so HNDs. Today the UK photography student can choose between over 100 photography BAs, FdAs and top-up degrees, with almost every UK university offering a photography based course. Every year, thousands of students enter the photography industry armed with their Canons and Leicas, ready to be next Gursky, Bradt or Bailey.
While I believe in formal education and the wide-reaching skills (application, motivation, organisation) education can provide, I don’t believe academic education is vital to the wannabe fine art photographer. Many successful photographers have no formal qualifications in photography and are inspiring examples of how diverse academic and working backgrounds can add to artistic expression. I’m a great believer in the self-taught and the talented has always, and will always, break through; degree or no degree.
In an already overflowing pool of fine art and commercial photographers, does it really matter if the photography industry is spared a generation or two of further input?