In the late autumn of 2015 a rumour was circulating that Coventry University was axing its Music Degree programmes. The University was tight lipped about it but confirmation was provided by the fact that all reference to the programmes were removed from the University website and they were no longer recruiting for 2016/17. To my knowledge the University shamefully delayed announcing the move to their then current student cohort. Here is a copy of the comment I have made on the protest petition. Note that I no longer had any association at this point and so had no vested interest in the outcome.
Put simply, it is an act of cultural vandalism. We are familiar with the media stereotype of a vandal as a teenager in a hoodie. But in reality they come in all forms. In this case the vandals wear suits, ties and possess Doctorates. I studied Music at Coventry University a few years ago as a mature student and have since been occasionally employed as an Hourly Paid Lecturer. The courses at Coventry have a distinctive character which emphasise creative exploration and collaboration, stretching the student and engendering a tolerance of diverse musical forms. Moreover it results in graduates who are more flexible and able to cope with the ever changing demands of a fast changing musical environment. For me it meant a transformation in my view of music, arts and even social issues. It eventually led me to discover the solutions to political problems which had troubled me for, literally, decades,
It is ironic that this is happening at just the moment when we learned of the sad passing of David Bowie. There is a broad hope amongst many artists that the consequent rediscovery of his music will inspire a new generation to adventurous artistic exploration. This will NOT now happen at Coventry. Ironic, also, when the city itself is prominent in the bidding for City of Culture in 2021. The council and local MPs need to know that their efforts are being undermined
We are continually told that organisations need to pay senior officers vast amounts of money to attract the right calibre of people. In 2014 the Vice Chancellor was reported as receiving a salary of about £250,000 It is difficult to see just how this salary is justified while simply axing valued assets. Sadly I do not think that Coventry will be the last to kill artistic programmes. Universities have now become part of the Corporate world where those very wealthy senior individuals are effectively lackeys to a philistine government intent on forcing through a doubtful ideological programme.