Cathedral of Shit

has taken a well earned GAP year

More RCA…

Posted by cathedralofshit on September 24, 2009

to the RCA link: basically the whole link between Arts Council England and the RCA curating course should be scrutinised carefully – ACE provide funding for Curating Contemporary Art whilst they don’t fund other curating courses (eg Goldsmiths). That this all was agreed when Sir Christopher Frayling was both head (or rector or whatever idiotic title the RCA uses) and also Chair of the Arts Council is of course, completely coincidental. The whispers are that over recent years ACE was getting rather annoyed that under Teresa Gleadowe the course had become rather narrow in its demographic (ie some sort of finishing school for posh girls), although things seem to have got rather better under Mark Nash. Meanwhile the Arts Council were running Inspire as a scheme in London. In London there’s a clear legal case for positive action: 35% of the population are what’s clunkily termed BME (Black Minority Ethnic) whilst around 0% of curators are BME. ACE then decided to “roll out” (as they say) this scheme nationally – without really addresing if the postive action line works for the rest of the country. Legally you can only run positive action schemes where there’s a gap between numbers of people from a particular ethnic background in the population and numbers of that population in a particular work-force. So for instance it’s certainly worth questioning whether there is legally a case for postive action in Margate: if there are say 10% of the population from a BME background in Margate and 0% BME curators, then fair enough; but if there is 2% BME population in Margate and 0% BME curators, then this isn’t really a great difference. Personally I have no idea how many BME folk live in Margate, but I suspect it’s not a huge amount. But of course now this is the RCA’s problem as ACE has foisted the scheme on the RCA. Now how willing the RCA would have been to do this, if they didn’t receive funding from ACE for their Curating Contemporary Art, is of course anyone’s guess. Perhaps they are true advocates of positive action; perhaps they don’t want to upset their funders. Who knows? And of course the upshot of all of this is that the RCA are running two curating courses, one for people from all cultural backgrounds and one for those who are from a BME background. It’ll be interesting to see how many BME candidates end up on the ‘Curating Contemporary Art’ course – as it is open to all backgrounds….

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