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Whitechapel’s attention on these Youth and Education
Programmes has become even more essential since the funding for the Arts has
been cut by £56 Million by Councils in the last 9 years across England. (Art Funding Article)
Through a selection of innovative workshops and talks hosted by artists, Whitechapel
offers the local audiences opportunity to expand their skills and knowledge and
get hands on with the art world. However, the Education Programme was not
always this supported at Whitechapel or a lot of other Galleries. (A Manual) It was only in
the last few years that the Educational spaces provided by Galleries expanded
to a more satisfactory size. (A
manual) This recognition was established after the opening of the
National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing in 1991 which included facilities like an IT
room, bookshop and auditorium, all of which were open to the Public. (A Manual). This
comparison of the Sainsbury Wing with other large Galleries at the time
prompted the Anderson Report, a survey regarding the “formal and informal
learning activity in UK museums” (A manual). The results showed that only 36% of UK museums had
dedicated space for their educational activities and 10% had space for
practical learning activities. (A Manual) This was understandable because unfortunately, most
museums before the early 2000’s were using their educational possibilities as a
reason to be classified as a charity and gain more funding despite a lack of
decent facilities for schools. (A Manual) I argue that this set a very low bar for Art galleries
across the country. Furthermore, it represented the concept that art galleries
only cared about money and their collections rather than who they were showing
these collections to. Considering the public donate to museums and galleries,
the least that these institutions can do in return is provide satisfactory
resources. In response to this, another survey was carried out 12 years later and
showed a significant increase in educational facilities with 77% of Museums
having a room exclusively for Schools and 53% having an education room,
including a substantial increase in curator and staff interaction with these
policies. (A manual).
But what changed? Why, over these 12 years, did Education become such a pivotal
turning point for UK’s museums and galleries?

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