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United Kingdom/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.4 Higher arts education and professional training

There are a wide range of degree, postgraduate and diploma courses in the practice, management and study of cultural and humanities subjects at universities and higher education establishments in the UK. There are more than 30 masters degree courses in arts / cultural administration / management in the UK. A number of higher education establishments also organise first degree courses. However, serious concerns have been raised by the new government's decision to implement two of the recommendation of Lord Browne's review of university funding: the removal of the current GBP 3 290 cap on tuition fees for UK students; and the removal by the 2012/12 academic year of direct government funding for the arts and humanities courses, which is likely to force higher education establishments to charge much higher fees or close some courses.

In November 2006, Arts Council England published a new strategy for the arts and higher education (HE), Arts, enterprise and excellence: strategy for higher education, developed in consultation with the HE sector and focused on the creative economy and widening participation. Key actions within the strategy include the establishment of high level strategic relations with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the implementation of pilot projects with clusters of higher education institutions (HEIs). For more information about the strategy, visit:

According to the Arts Council England annual survey of Regularly Funded Organisations 2008/09 nearly 550 of Arts Council England's regularly funded organisations had relationships with HEIs.

In 2008 the Higher Education Funding Council for England introduced pathfinder projects through five Lifelong Learning Networks (LLNs) targeted to 14 and 19 years olds, an initiative to enable education institutions and funders of institutions to work together strategically and with greater collaboration to increase progression into post-16 education, creating the conditions for efficient and effective growth in further education (FE) and high education (HE) participation, and improving and increasing learner choice. The LLN that focuses on creative and cultural industries, The Creative Way LLN, aims to help address the skills needs and progression of students through a new Creative and Media Diploma, which is offered in some schools and colleges in England. Aspects of the Diploma have been incorporated in the Welsh Baccalaureate. The qualification is stimulating demand for work-related opportunities in the creative and cultural sector. More information can be found at:

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) is a central independent body that supports the enhancement of learning and teaching in higher education in the UK. The Academy provides a network of subject centres on different disciplines, including two culture related centres: the Arts, Design and Media centre (ADM-HEA) and PALATINE - the Dance, Drama and Music centre. Both centres provide research, sector information, offer funding to higher education institutions and sector based organisations, and develop collaborative sector projects. For more information, go to: and

The Arts Award is the first award scheme to recognise the development of young artists and young arts leaders aged between 11 and 25. It is a qualification offered at Levels 1, 2 and 3 (Bronze, Silver and Gold) on the National Qualifications Framework.. The scheme encourages young people to develop in their chosen artform, to review the work of others, to make use of arts resources in their communities, to share their skills and to run arts projects with others. It also enables them to explore future options in the arts including training courses and jobs. It was launched in October 2005, following a two-year pilot scheme run by Arts Council England, and is run by the Arts Council and Trinity Guildhall. Since its launch in 2005, the programme has benefited over 35 000 young people. (

Greater emphasis has been placed on continuing professional development in the cultural sector over the past decade or so. Particular attention in recent years has been given to training to equip potential cultural leaders with the necessary skills to be effective leaders in the future, notably through the Clore Leadership and Cultural Leadership programmes. These incorporate placements that offer a range of leadership opportunities for emerging and mid-career leaders by encouraging learning through doing.

The Bologna Process

The Bologna Process endorses the Lisbon Recognition Convention and subsequent texts which set out basic principles to recognise qualifications between European countries. All Bologna Process participating countries are required to ratify the Convention and the UK did so in 2003. The Lisbon Convention also promotes the Diploma Supplement, a document issued to students by their higher education institutions on graduation, describing the qualification they have received in a format that is easy to understand and compare, fostering mobility for employment in Europe.

To support the Bologna process in the UK, a sector-wide body was launched in 2004, the UK Higher Education Europe Unit, with the aim to raise awareness of the European issues affecting UK higher education and to co-ordinate the UK's involvement in European initiatives and debates. The Unit works closely with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills , the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government and is jointly funded by Universities UK, the three higher education funding councils of England, Wales and Scotland, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), and GuildHE (the former Standing Conference of Principals, which represents higher education colleges). The Europe Unit also cooperates with a large number of UK HE organisations, including the Association of UK HE European Officers (HEURO), the UK Research Office (UKRO), the British Council, the UK HE International Unit, Welsh Higher Education Brussels (WHEB), the University and College Union (UCU), the National Union of Students (NUS) and the British Academy.

Universities in the UK do not tend to promote themselves as Bologna-compatible, perhaps because leading universities already attract large numbers of international students.

Chapter published: 15-04-2011

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