Posted Monday 18 November 2013
A senior academic has called for the Government to rethink its approach to the development of new talent in the creative industries. Dr Angela Partington, who has just joined the staff at London's Kingston University, said channelling the same top-level support at such subjects as art, architecture, design and media as already directed at sciences, technology and engineering would be crucial in helping the continued rejuvenation of the British economy.
"It is backward-thinking to actively promote subjects like sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics, while devaluing creative subjects. The English Baccalaureate - a measure introduced in the 2010 school performance league where pupils need a grade C or better in a core range of academic subjects - does not include an exam pass in any creative discipline. But tomorrow's economy will require a fusion of knowledge and skills from professionals who are both creative and technologically adept."
Dr Partington has just taken up her role as Associate Dean for Academic Development, at the University's Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture. Her remit is to enhance the student experience and she is already working on ambitious plans to help students get even more out of their degree studies at Kingston.
Dr Partington brings a wealth of experience to her new role at Kingston University. She studied Fine Art at Bath Academy of Art and subsequently gained an MA and a PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of Birmingham. She has taught for many years across a wide range of art and design courses, and her previous career includes the management of the Department of Creative Industries at UWE Bristol. She is now a member of the prestigious Council for Higher Education in Art and Design (CHEAD), an association of 70 educational institutions whose members are drawn from each institution's most senior academic staff. The association has a strong international reputation for its work in promoting British art and design and in examining key issues affecting the curriculum and its implementation.
"Students generally are completing their degrees in uncertain times. The creative industries are historically fast-changing and evolving at breakneck speed. Our job is to prepare our students for careers which don't even exist yet, so they need to be adaptable and able to continue to develop their talent in new contexts." Dr Partington said she was delighted to be joining Kingston University. "When I was approached about coming to Kingston I jumped at the chance. When I was an art student myself, Kingston was very much the place to be - it had a great reputation then and has gone from strength to strength ever since."
One of her ambitions is to foster an even greater culture of learning across subject specialisms. "We are very fortunate at Kingston University in that many of our courses are taught by current industry experts and practitioners, and it's essential for our students to benefit from the expertise of people who are working out there in the real world," Dr Partington said. "I also want to encourage Faculty staff to mix up the teaching a bit, and lecture across courses and levels, or in areas of their subjects that they may not habitually teach. I am committed to the idea that creative subjects develop and innovate through their relationships with each other. We want students to be able to choose their own pathway through the subject areas that make the most sense in terms of their individual ambitions and aspirations, and to have the opportunity to work in cross-disciplinary teams. Out there in the world of professional work, architects don't talk just to architects, and designers don't talk just to other designers. I want to develop that approach at Kingston."
When not working with staff and students, Dr Partington will be carrying out her own research. She has particular expertise in the historical development of consumer culture and the role of the consumer in shaping the market. In addition, she has an interest in what she terms the convergence of creative practices, where there is greater dialogue between practitioners across disciplines.