Is Studying Art Worth It?

Amber Akaunu 23/07/2018


Is studying art at university worth it?


To be honest there is no one correct answer to this, as it just depends on the individual. I think to make anything worth it, you have to be willing to put in a lot of extra work and effort and have a deep curiosity for whatever it is you are studying. Some of the most successful artist both past and present didn’t go to university, however some did. For me personally I can definitely say that university was worth the money, effort and time (although at times it didn’t feel like it did at all). There are three things while at university that I made me decide that my university experience was worth it. The first being that at university I got answers to questions I didn’t even think to ask. I would never have thought to ask questions like how do I apply for arts council funding, or what is an artist residency because before university I genuinely had no idea what those things were. There are a lot of things that you learn about that you didn’t even know was a thing. I had no idea sound or performance art was a thing before uni. Another factor of my three years at university that made the time, effort and money worth it was the people I met. If I didn’t go to university I wouldn’t have met Fauziya (or kind of remet as while we were in secondary school we used to see each other every day at a bus stop on our way to our separate schools). That also would have meant that we would not have started ROOT-ed Zine. At university being around artists is also a very inspiring and encouraging environment and I felt like I learnt a lot from my classmates and I got to see their art grow and develop and I’m so excited to see where they go in the future. Another reason why my degree was worth it was due to all of the connections and awareness my tutors and lecturers brought to big and smaller arts organisations. I may have never heard of The Royal Standard, CFCCA, The White Pube or The Double Negative if I hadn’t have gone to university. These connections are so important for emerging artists to keep updated with contemporary art. All these things have helped to make my £27,000 student debt (which I hope I don’t actually end up paying off tbh #sorrynotsorry) seem like an investment rather than a waste of money (This all sounds really sarcastic, but it actually is not at all). With all this being said if your mum is like Tracey Emin or your great grandad was Mark Rothko you probs don’t need art school. What I’m trying to say is that if you or your family already have decent connections to the art world then its probs a waste of time and money, but if you’re from a family of doctors and no one around you has a clue about art then its deffo an investment.

If you are currently thinking about studying an arts subject at university my advice to you is to research your university and see whether it is practise based or theory based. Also look at the lectures; do their own practises tie in with things your interested in. Also research the city of the university you want to go to and see if there are any significant arts organisations there that you can maybe volunteer for or build a relationship with for the 3 years that you are there.