Values, Quality and Access in Arts Admissions Practices

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This paper will deconstruct the admissions policies and practices of the art and design academy, to comprehend the experiences of admissions tutors, and how quality assurance might lead tutors to ‘moderate values and compromise ideals’ (Morley 2003 p149). It will investigate the micropolitics of admissions practices in five case study higher education institutions across England to examine how issues of widening participation and quality influence processes of recruitment and selection in different university, disciplinary and course contexts. The paper will draw on research funded by the National Arts Learning Network, involving qualitative interviews with arts and design admissions tutors as well as observations of actual selection interviews with applicants. Drawing on Bourdieu’s (1984) concepts of habitus, cultural capital and field to illuminate the complex workings of class inequality, the paper will also explore processes of misrecognition (Skeggs, 2004) in operations of selection (Burke, 2002).


Keywords: Higher Education, Art and Design, Admissions, Cultural Capital, Equalities
Stream: Arts Policy, Management and Advocacy
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Penny Jane Burke

Chair of Education, School of Education, Roehampton University
London, UK

Penny Jane Burke is Professor of Education at Roehampton University in London.
Penny’s first career was as a classical ballet dancer. Dedicated to creating spaces for dialogue across theory and practice, she designed the innovative course ‘Widening Participation: Policy and Practice’. Her sole-authored book, Accessing Education effectively widening participation (2002), draws on her ethnographic study of mature students’ experiences of accessing lifelong learning opportunities, and attracted significant press coverage and reviews in international journals. Her co-authored book Reconceptualising Lifelong Learning: Feminist Interventions (Burke and Jackson, 2007) was nominated for the 2008 Cyril O. Houle World Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education. Penny has been invited to speak internationally including Mexico, India and Australia and has been consulted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on their plans for a new higher education system. She was a recipient of the UK's Higher Education Academy’s prestigious National Teaching Fellowship award in 2008 and is the Access and Widening Participation Network Leader for the UK's Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE).

Jacqueline McManus

Head of Widening Participation Programmes, Widening Participation and Progression, University of the Arts London
London, UK

Jackie McManus is currently Head of Widening Participation Programmes at University of the Arts London. She has worked in education in inner-city London for over 20 years, and previously worked for the Unemployment Unit and Youthaid, now the Centre for Social and Economic Inclusion. She is passionately committed to social justice in the arts and works in partnership with London's world class galleries developing arts programmes for young people. Jackie is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.

Ref: A09P0671