READER SCULPTURESTEPH COMMENTS ON THE COURTAULD’S INSIGNIFICANCE:
‘Public institutions in the UK are now all businesses-or brands. Additionally the persistent structure of the class system in British society has not disappeared it has merely shifted from the aristocratic elite to the mediocre hot air talking self congratulating ‘happy brigade’. Performance is not measured on ingenuity and challenging aspects in order to improve and further knowledge- there is no money to be made from people thinking for themselves.
So what can you do? Well you will not change the juggernaut that is the management system of this institution- but you can choose not be part of it and endorse it.
I don’t know what your PhD is about, but if you feel passionate about it, who’s stopping you from following your own journey into researching, questioning, discussion with friends, acquaintances, bloggers (!), document and write it up and publish it on your merits (talks, discussions, online or in hard copy, or both).
You are obviously confident and intelligent to express your observations, thoughts and personal opinions (not a very British thing to do as you may have noticed…)
To me artists do what they have to do, paint, write, sculpt, dance, compose, perform- the motivation being more than institutional recognition and obtaining the seal of approval.
At the end of the day you have to decide if you want to have a recognized academic career that will assure a financial reward- but requires you to shed (through the process of your ‘study’) your individuality in favour of conformity or (to use a buzz word of our time) integration- (generally causing deep frustrations, anxieties, self doubt and insecurity as seen with your mentors).
Or you value the energy, enjoyment, therapy, stimulation, learning and understanding you have and drives you (basically you being uniquely you) by finding your own way with no expectations of financial or status rewards- but for the human spirit or Art- itself. That allows you to be free to do it the human way, spend time with and converse with people that matter, making your work authentic- as opposed to satisfying a by definition flawed man made system that uses Art as a commodity.
You know what really matters to you.
We have just all been primed to follow the heard and to scrabble for the ‘gold coins’ that are occasionally thrown into the crowds by the ones that utilize this mentality to further their own agendas.
To walk away from this is very brave and an empowering decision for yourself, if you do it as an action of turning a negative into the opportunity of a positive.
I hope you don’t do it to ‘show them’ or to make them feel guilty as they will see it as your defeat and confirmation of your ‘weakness’. If you lost all respect and trust in them and have come to the conclusion that trying to be part of this is no longer of any significance to the wider picture- they can say what they want; their words are meaningless and no longer hold any power over you. You set yourself free.’