British Council Puts Talent & Arts Education Front and Centre

In light of funding cuts to creative arts education and the introduction of the EBacc, this month the British Fashion Council (BFC) used its annual Graduate Preview Day to cement its work in education as more important than ever. Working with industry to highlight talented students and the leading fashion design courses across the UK as well as the opportunities to access support through scholarships, the BFC aims to encourage and support young people to access arts education, study at universities and pursue careers in the fashion industry.

Sarah Mower, British Fashion Council Ambassador for Emerging Talent said “When arts provision in schools is at risk, the determination of the BFC to ensure that talent is supported has been redoubled. We have signed the petition against the EBacc as the programme contributes to this threat and discourages students from taking creative subjects. Since 2010 the number of students taking art subjects at GCSE level has declined by 27% and is expected to decline further. Combined with Brexit this threatens the future of Britain’s creative industries. It is therefore crucial that we work together in order to secure the industry’s next generation by keeping it on the educational agenda.”

On Thursday 10th May, the BFC hosted its annual Graduate Preview Day at the Ace Hotel in London to shine a light on the breadth of design talent in the UK while giving the industry first-hand access to the portfolios of this year’s graduating fashion design students and to meet the course leaders at the top 30 fashion institutions in the UK. On the day, the BFC announced the 2018 BA and MA scholars graduating this summer chosen for their ability and potential to make an exceptional contribution to the British fashion industry as well as awarding four prestigious awards, supported by industry partners.

2018 BFC Education Foundation BA scholars graduating this summer Alexander Jones, Aurélie Fontan, Jessica Grech, Katie Jones, Paolina Russo, Paolo Carzana and Patrick McDowell MA scholars graduating this summer Cassandra Verity Green, Cavan McPherson, Rebecca Jeffs, Rhys McKenna and Yasemin Cakli.

BURBERRY FASHION DESIGN COMPETITION Winner: Hannah Blakeman, Manchester School of Art – Hannah has been awarded £2,000 and a 3-month internship at Burberry. Runners-Up: Hannah Bentley, Manchester Fashion Institute and Soonang Kim, University of Westminster, also received three-month internships with the Burberry design team.

BRITISH LIBRARY x TEATUM JONES RESEARCH COMPETITION Winner: Alanna Hilton, Edinburgh College of Art – Alanna has been awarded a £2,000 cash prize and year-long membership to the British Library.

FASHION MONITOR OUTSTANDING PORTFOLIO AWARD Winner: Falmouth University – has been awarded two 1-year subscriptions to Fashion and Beauty Monitor.

WGSN ILLUSTRATION AWARD Winner: Edinburgh College of Art – has been awarded two 1-year subscriptions to WGSN.

Furthermore, two fashion design competitions will be awarded later this month; the TOPSHOP/TOPMAN FASHION DESIGN COMPETITION will be announced in late May and the winners will be awarded a year-long internship at Topshop and Topman respectively.  The STRADIVARIUS FASHION DESIGN COMPETITION will be announced in June and the winner will be awarded a £2000 cash prize.

In 2017, The British Fashion Council raised over £2.2million for its charities and business support initiatives and in the twelve months to March 2018 has allocated £1.1million to further support these efforts.  Research conducted by Cultural Learning Alliance shows how Arts GCSE entries have fallen 28% since 2010 and the number of hours arts subjects are taught in secondary schools has fallen by 17%.  Furthermore, the number of arts teachers is down by 16% since 2010 which makes the BFC’s work in education more important than ever. As part of its Education pillar, the BFC’s education initiatives are designed to secure the legacy of support for talented students at every stage, safeguarding the opportunity to further education regardless of financial situation. The BFC has been awarding students MA scholarships since 1998 and introduced awards to support BA students in 2015; in the last year alone the BFC’s Education Foundation has awarded over £125,000 across 11 BA and MA scholarships.

The BFC Education foundation also supports younger people looking to gain fashion industry knowledge and insight through the BFC National Fashion & Business Saturday Clubs, which provide opportunities for teenagers aged 14-16 to go on to further education in the creative industries, hosted at local colleges or universities free of charge.  Hosted by industry experts, including Apple, Dazed and Nike in 2018, specialists deliver masterclasses imparting their knowledge to young people with an interest in art, design and fashion.

On Friday 11 May David Beckham OBE, the BFC’s newly appointed Ambassadorial President visited Manchester Metropolitan University on his first day in his new role to meet students, graduates, and lecturers. The day included presentations from BFC Education Foundation scholarship alumni, local community projects and Fashion & Business Saturday Club members as part of his objective to help the BFC reach young talent from all backgrounds across the UK and engage them in arts education.

The British Fashion Council have signed the Bacc For the Future petition, lobbying against the introduction of the EBacc, show your support here: