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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Take the Arts Out of Education and There Will Be More Riots, Tracey Emin Warns

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Tracey Emin is urging U.K. Secretary of State Michael Gove to “rethink the policy” on education, the Independent’s Nick Clark reports. Currently being examined by the government, the proposal for the Ebacc to replace the GCSEs involves dropping the arts as a core subject.

“If art isn’t considered as important as other subjects it will just fall by the wayside,” said Emin, echoing a concern voiced by major cultural leaders including Tate director Nick Serota and V&A director Martin Roth. “It can’t become a secondary subject.”

Notorious Tory backer Emin, who has worked with teenagers in the past, warned: “If anyone thought the riots in 2011 were bad, take the arts out of the curriculum and it will be worse than it was before.”

Emin grew up in a working class family in Margate. She studied at the Royal College of Art and rose to prominence in the mid-1990s alongside Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas, as a key player of the Young British Artists. “It was only the confidence that my art teachers instilled in me that allowed me to go down the route I did,” she said.

The Independent’s article also reveals that Emin wrote a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron expressing her worries over the proposed Ebacc. “I got a letter back saying they are investing in other forms of the arts,” she recalled. “And there are interesting ideas around Saturday morning clubs.”

The government is expected to announce its decision in the coming months.


This article also appears on ARTINFO U.K.

(Photo copyright Nick Morrish, British Airways.)

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