Cultivating spaces for extraordinary artists

Open Letter to Gavin Williamson

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Leading UK contemporary visual arts institutions and art schools
unite against proposed government cuts to arts education


An Open Letter to Secretary of Education, Gavin Williamson, facilitated by Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN) and a Visual Arts Alliance, has gained over 300 signatories.

The Government has proposed that courses in price group C1 – covering subjects in music, dance, drama and performing arts; art and design; media studies; and archaeology – are not among its strategic priorities and will be subject to funding reductions. The proposed reduction of £121.40 per student represents a funding cut of 50 percent in the subsidy to these specialist subjects that are expensive to teach. The visual arts sector strongly disagrees with this proposal and furthermore, alongside the London Art School Alliance, opposes the removal of the London weighting.

CVAN and a Visual Arts Alliance have brought together 300 leaders from across the visual arts sector including art institutions, art schools, galleries and universities across the country, to issue an open letter to Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education asking him to revoke his proposed 50% cuts in subsidy support to arts subjects across higher education.

Making news headlines, an article published by The Guardian reads:

“The cuts will come from an overall teaching budget of £1.47bn, with a student on an affected course seeing their funding fall from £243 to £121.50. Signatories of the letter and other opponents of the proposal, including musician Jarvis Cocker, have said that will deter those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and leave arts subjects as the preserve of wealthy students”

The letter is part of the nationwide #ArtIsEssential campaign.
DASH are one of the signatories of the letter.

Read the letter in full here.

Craig Ashley, Chair of DASH Says:

The impact of cuts will make access to higher education in creative arts even more challenging for Disabled people than it already is.

Not withstanding a significant detrimental impact on the diverse talent pipeline feeding the UK's growing creative industries, the cuts will degrade further the social value of creative arts provision.

In turn it will apply further pressure on organisations like DASH to service those areas that the education sector chooses to cut loose due to financial unviability.