An inspiring talk today with the artist Michael Craig-Martin. What came across most was his passion for good arts teaching and I really wish he'd been my tutor! He spoke a great deal about teaching the YBA's (Damien Hirst, Fiona Rae, Sarah Lucas, Anya Gallaccio, Gary Hume, Simon Patterson, Sam Taylor-Wood etc) at Goldsmiths' College during the late 1980's and it sounded like an such an amazingly fertile environment.
During that time the fine art undergraduates were all located in one building, with no departments and no actual structured teaching, but they did have was access to over 20 visiting professional artists/tutors. Students were free to work in any discipline they wanted to and could requests tutorials with any of the artists, as and when they needed it. He said that the students who went on to become successful artists, like Damien Hirst, would probably have had 3 of these tutorials every week for 3 years! it is mind boggling to think of a student having that much contact and guidance from established artists. The art college I went to was ok but you would have been lucky if you had tutorials more than twice a term! No wonder Goldsmith's produced 20 Turner Prize nominees from that period.
It is sad that it now seems impossible for such a place to even exist in the current climate of cuts, form filling and the reduction in teaching staff.