Posted Wednesday 15 March 2023
More than 100 senior educators from across the creative arts are gathering at Kingston University this week as it plays host to the annual Council for Higher Education in Art and Design (CHEAD) conference.
The representative body for the art, design, creative media, and related disciplines in higher education, CHEAD provides a voice for the sector and is made up of members from across the United Kingdom. It is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding, as well as influencing policy.
This year's conference is centred around three key themes selected to stimulate debate around core issues faced within art schools and across creative subject areas. Equality, diversity and inclusion, sustainability and the role educators can play in equipping students with the future skills needed to drive a flourishing national economy will all be major focuses of the delegates' discussions.
Keynote speeches and workshops will be interspersed with student performances, with knowledge exchange and collaboration between institutions key aims of the two-day event.
A range of thought leaders from across the sector will deliver addresses as part of the conference programme. They include Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price, who is also a Professor at Kingston School of Art, Shadow Business Minister Seema Malhotra MP, John Lewis and Partners' futurologist John Vary, founder and creative director of Creative Conscience Chrissy Levett and filmmaker Lord David Puttnam, who will speak about their experiences within the creative arts and how they envisage the future of the sector.
Workshops centred around the three conference themes will be chaired by Kingston School of Art academics, with the aim of sharing innovation in practice. Some of the sessions will see delegates presented with provocations – a technique that uses visual or written prompts to elicit possible actions and guide outcomes. Delegates will then come together to share their findings and agree learnings before setting goals as a community of art and design professionals.
CHEAD chair Professor Sally Wade said art and design education was central to a cohesive society while being intrinsically linked with culture and heritage. "The creative industries are the fastest growing part of the national economy, contributing over £150 billion every year," she said. "Art and design must be celebrated and championed if we are to supercharge the great potential of creativity and its benefit to the UK. Outcomes from the conference will be widely disseminated to challenge perceptions, encourage debate and be a catalyst for change."
Dean of Kingston School of Art Mandy Ure said hosting a conference of CHEAD’s stature gave the University an important opportunity to showcase its distinct approaches to art and design education and latest advances in creative practice. “At Kingston School of Art we are renowned for being at the forefront of art and design education and for the work we do instilling the skills for innovation our sector needs, and our graduates require, to navigate how to operate now and in the future,” she said. “Hosting the CHEAD conference has enabled the University to once again share its expertise to influence active solutions to collective issues faced across the art and design sector and creative industries.”
The conference is supported by Arts Thread and gets under way with a welcome event at Kingston School of Art's Knights Park campus, which is home to a number of nationally and internationally renowned art and design courses. Guests will have an opportunity to see displays featuring students' latest work, while members of Kingston University's Performing Arts Community Engagement group will showcase their dance, music and drama talents. Highlights will include a performance of new choreography by dance lecturer Jean Pierre Nyamagunda and a set from Kingston graduate and hip hop artist Joe Gladman.
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