Speed Date: What's The Point Of Art School

'Speed Date' logo, CSM, 2013.
Woman looking at Speed Date sign, Central Saint Martins, John Sturrock, 2013.
John Sturrock
People listening to talk, Central Saint Martins, John Sturrock, 2013.
John Sturrock
Girl with pink hair listening to talk, Central Saint Martins, John Sturrock, 2013.
John Sturrock
People listening to talk, Central Saint Martins, John Sturrock, 2013.
John Sturrock
People listening to talk, Central Saint Martins, John Sturrock, 2013.
John Sturrock

This event took place on 25 April 2013 in the Platform Theatre Bar.

How do we respond to recent challenges to art education and help shape ensuing debates?  In six short polemics speakers advocate the values of art school offering different visions and cautions.  Followed by 30 minutes of 'speed dating' in which all in attendance discuss the issues raised, with a succession of lucky partners.

Anna Baker - artist and art teacher at Havering Sixth Form College, graduate fellow at University of the Arts London

Hard to Soft Skills

"My focus is the shift from hard skills (learning to etch/ carve/ weave) in favour of the soft skills (learning to question - challenge - analyse - confront – contextualise) which the arts are so perfectly placed to deliver. I will discuss transferability of these skills and the greater potential for cross-curricular engagement, structures that connect rather than divide. I will be looking at the idea of the artist-analyst; similarities between investigative approaches in the arts and sciences - both with the shared aim of understanding the world around us."

George Bray - artist and former Fine Art student at CSM

Art School Under The Microscope: Engage to Survive

"I compare the art school to culturing bacteria in a laboratory and explore its experimental and random nature, with particular focus on the need for student engagement, both with the course and with each other."

David Burrows - artist, writer and Head of Fine Art BA at The Slade

News from the wastelands: art schools do not exist! 

"They were destroyed by the anti-art school that could be found at the heart of all art schools. The product that UK (artists turned) art-school-managers tried to sell to the world for £9K to 15K+ a year (that is, art and art education) was riddled with parasites that got under the skin, burrowed into minds and were impossible to get rid off. ....... The presentation will deliver a brief account of art schools and the 'great collapse'."

Matthew Cornford - artist and Professor of Fine Art, University of Brighton

Art School Attitude

"I propose that the point of Art Schools is that they are not Universities, but distinct educational institutions in which students can learn through not doing what is expected. Art Schools giving permission, encouraging innovation, accepting failure and allowing for time to be wasted, they do more than educate art students to be successful artists and designers."

Dean Kenning - artist and writer, tutor at CSM

Towards a Critical Art School

"As Higher Education becomes increasingly subsumed by dominant market practices, what is the future for the 'critical' art course? Even if 'critical theory' remains a part of art degrees, will the focus on economic survival for student-customers and the 'creative industries' agenda gear it towards a merely acquisitional or adaptive function? Emphasising the resistant and liberatory aspect of criticality, a political dimension beyond object-based analysis and reflection, I will argue for the absolute social necessity for critical voices to come through, of the kind produced out of the utopian and oppositional spirit associated with art school, both as conductors of an avant-gardist legacy, and as places of individual and material transformation."

Corinna Till - artist, Cocheme Fellow at CSM 2011-2012, career guidance practitioner

Energetic interface with the world

CT will ask ‘What's the point of art school?’ from a career guidance perspective. Career guidance understood as a form of conversation that attends to concerns about how to direct one’s energy, takes as a starting point a personal interface with the world and listens carefully to questions such as ‘What am I doing?’ ‘ How does my life interact with others?’ ‘What’s the point of art school?’ asks about the purpose of an institution and a community. CT will attempt to use career guidance methods to form a set of questions for CSM as an example of an art school.