In the art world’s internal sense of time, the degree show is in many ways the equivalent of New Year’s Eve: a point at which to collectively celebrate the birth of the future, while taking stock of the events of the past year.
As The Guardian reports: “Reflecting on the 2013/14 academic year, it is clear that one of the most pressing issues is that of value, and the need continually to defend the arts in this respect.
“It is interesting to note the difference between making art for yourself – which holds value for you as an individual – and pursuing a career as an artist by studying for a degree in fine art or a related field. By doing the latter, you are implicitly deciding that your creativity also holds value for others.
“Ten years ago, when it came to discussions of creative processes, the question of value for others was not on the table. Now, as a result of continued pressure on the arts to justify their worth to society, the notion of value is very much becoming part of art school rhetoric.
“As this pressure manifests itself within educational institutions – theremoval of government funding for all but STEM subjects and continual space audits of fine art programmes – the question must be asked: to what extent can these programmes and their degree shows persist in their current form? My consideration of this matter is informed by an awareness of technology – I am not only head of fine art at York St John University, I’m also head of computer science and a member of the Internet of Things Council. The Internet of Things is an umbrella term used to describe a next step in the evolution of the internet: to augmented “smart” objects, accessible to human beings and each other over network connections.