There are immense differences between Chinese and UK education systems and ideas. Art education, as specific as it is, is no exception. United Kingdom has long been proud of its education systems, and has attracted thousands of international students every year. This reality makes education one major source of income for UK, and the complete, healthy industry of quality education in turn promises prosperity and further development, raising for the world a great number of future professionals.
In recent years, there is a steady growth of Chinese students studying in the UK – for the Chinese, UK has in reality become the new Mecca, in terms of overseas education. Naturally, China in turn becomes an important market for British institutions. Specifically, because of UK’s pioneering role in the study and practice of creative industry, more and more Chinese students come to UK to study fine art, photography, design, film, drama and other disciplines that are related to the creative industry. Aiming at providing a general introduction to the UK art education system, and at providing a comparison between the system in the UK and that in China, we have featured in this issue numerous interviews with prestigious British art institutions. The interview with Royal College of Art focuses on the differences between programmes in one single institution; the interviews with Glasgow School of Art, Edinburg College of Art, University of Westminster examine the differences between same programme – photography, to be precise – in different institutions; we have also covered multi-disciplinary programmes and art schools that offer a wide range of programmes, from design, fine art, theatre, to photography and dance and etc. Alternative art education systems such as that found in the Christie’s Education and in the Alternative Art College as a relatively young phenomenon are also examined.
In short, through a large number of interviews and through multi-dimension comparisons, we try to present to you the historical development and general condition of art education in the UK today.