Friday 15th of November 2019

They don't have to burn the books they just remove them

Last week James Cook University announced it was closing the Library on it's Vincent (visual and performing arts) campus. This is part of a larger plan to restructure the facility, “...moving from a traditional form of art-making to a digital form of art-making.” Director of the Collage, Professor Des Crawley claims that this is because of the low employment rate of visual arts graduates.

There is a few important points in this. Firstly, is what is deemed to be employment. From what I can gather self-employment, ie working for commission, etc. isn't considered employment.

The second point is what do people expect out of a fine arts degree? If it is all about bottom line dollars and employment figures then we are missing the bigger picture. What about the cultural, and the environmental, and the social aspects of life. These are often not served at all by increasing graduate numbers in most other degrees. And by putting a clamp on arts places do we not actually damage to these aspects of our society?

I'm sure nearly every art student know what their employment prospects are like, if not when they start, then after their first year of study. So they are not the ones who deem this a problem. Rather it is the system, which ranks and funds universities according to outcomes performance, which includes full time employment as an indicator, and neglects the sometimes intangible social and cultural benefits. Therefore cutting degrees which don't stack up to the one dimensional economic analysis is going to be good for securing extra funding in the future.