December 09, 2008

Islington Mill Art Academy

Back in 1982, I was nearly thrown out of Loughborough College of Art for too persistently challenging the competence of my lecturers. And in 2003 after a brief waste of time at Manchester Metropolitan University's MA, I resigned in disgust at the disorganisation and mediocrity of the poetry lecturers. So I am comfortably in the camp critical of the state of arts education. Higher education has become a business that is less to do with transfer of knowledge or nurturing artists and more to do with administrations that generate fees and 'hit' targets disingenuously pretending that progress is constant. So it was a great pleasure last week to spend some time in conversation with the artists of the Islington Mill Art Academy.

The Academy is a fascinating attempt by a group of young artists to education themselves, to develop their practice autonomously. Choosing their own influences, the artists invite practitioners to talk about their work, respond to the work going on and establish a creative dialogue.

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