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Arts being stripped out of schools, warns former MP

Tristram Hunt: ‘Terrifying drops in young people taking creative subjects’

19 October, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Tristram Hunt speaking at Hornsey Library

TRISTRAM Hunt, the director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, warned that creative arts subjects are being “stripped” out of the country’s education system as he helped launch a new exhibition on Wednesday night.

The former shadow education secretary was speaking at the launch of the annual autumn exhibition of the Isling­ton Art Society (IAS).

Mr Hunt, speaking at Hornsey Library, praised the work of organisations in “civil society” and added: “We are extraordinarily creative in our country and yet we are also at the moment stripping it out at a rate of knots from our education system.

“We’ve seen a 43 per cent drop in the number of 16-year-olds taking design and technology over the last eight years.

Chris Graham with his photographic work, which is on show at Hornsey Library

“We’ve seen terrifying drops in young people taking art, music, drama through the state schooling system, and if we are going to have the artists, creatives, designers and architects of tomorrow, we have to make sure that we enter this fight about the value and importance of art, humanities, design within civil society.”

Former Labour MP Mr Hunt triggered a by-election in the Stoke-on-Trent Central constituency last year when he took the job at the V&A.

Speaking to the Tribune, Mr Hunt said he believed school budget pressures and university tuition fees were some of the factors contributing to the deficit.

The V&A, in west London, has launched several programmes aimed at the arts, inclu­ding supporting design teachers in schools.

Ann Kozlowski-Hunt, chair of the Islington Art Society, next to her painting (top)

The IAS exhibition gives members, who come from across north London, a chance to display their work.

One of the most eye-catching pieces in the exhibition, notable for its remarkable realism, is Anthony Parke’s portrait of art critic Edward Lucie-Smith.

Artist Anthony Parke with his stun­ning portrait of art critic Edward Lucie-Smith

Mr Parke, from Highgate, spent four months on the piece, working from a photograph. He said: “After I finished I took it to Edward and he regarded it as a ‘very powerful piece’.”

The event raised money for the Islington-based health and wellbeing charity, the Stuart Low Trust. The work is on display until Sunday, November 4.


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