Have art colleges lost their creativity?

With regimented marking criteria and a certain element of 'box ticking', do art colleges still offer creative freedom?

Have art colleges lost their creativity?

This is a tough question. In my art college and at university I've been very creative - possibly not reaching my potential, however I can't say that there is no creativity there at all. I will say though that I think the curriculum and marking schemes are choking the creativity right out of us and limiting what we can achieve.

How can I explore what I want to do when I'm being told that what I want to do must fit into certain parameters, time frames and concepts, and that I must document it, but I must do this is a way that shows that all the relevant boxes have been ticked for processes and research, in order to achieve a grade, rather than actually just showing what I did. I understand the reason we get graded, so that the people who will interview us for the next stage of education/career will know that we measure up to the expectations of the people with the clipboards who say how good we are. But it's just so, so frustrating.

I always try to think of ways I can follow up this argument with how we could get around this issue, but I'm not sure exactly. I can already see the areas that we are assessed for the work we create and individual progress (portfolios) - why then do we still need the numbers on a scale that measure us up in comparison to other people? Everything is just one person's interpretation, that another person might disagree with anyway, so what is the point?

Another reason that this is a tough question, is that I am only 20 years old, so I can't say whether or not art colleges have lost their creativity, because I only have my experience of one generation's worth of art college education, can anyone else put forward another answer to this that has a better comparison?

If I were to guess though, I'd say perhaps there are even more art colleges around trying to compete with each other. There were times in our history when creativity was not the priority, as in times of war when people were just trying to stay alive, not sure if they even had a future. People abandoned their jobs in aid of the war effort, and to this day I think some people have the idea that the arts are not a secure and stable source of a career.

However the point I'm trying to make is that I think we are more accepting and open to the idea of creativity and art in our lives, we see it everywhere, in many forms, and it brings us joy. So perhaps then, there are more art colleges out there, trying to compete with each other, and when things get competitive sometimes we lose sight of why we are doing it in the first place.


Meridith Dickin

Meridith Dickin Youth Network

An Arts Award Youth Network Associate from the East Midlands. A visual arts student.

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