This workshop will reflect on the British experience of bringing performing arts disciplines into university-sector higher education, and will prompt discussion on the implications of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) on the possible continuation of this process more widely.
Britain has seen over the last decade the incorporation of several arts disciplines, including music, drama and dance, into the standard university-based framework of national qualifications with the award of bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. This transition has often taken place within small specialist institutions sometimes with international reputations for the vocational quality of their graduates and with exceptional links with the creative and cultural industries with which they work. The process was, for some, seen at the outset as potentially damaging not only to the vocational and specialist aspirations of the institutions and their graduates but also to the nation’s understanding of Higher Education as a concept.
Now that this development is largely complete it is possible to reflect on what has been gained and what, if anything, lost. Now is a good time to do this, for the possible introduction of the EQF, with its sensible emphasis on learning outcomes, could provide a useful mechanism for the appropriate placement of disciplines from qualification domains now outside higher education to those linked to or within HE.
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