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Turner prize winner Elizabeth Price warns against marginalisation of arts


Elizabeth Price: ‘If you look at my CV, just about everything I have done has come through a publicly funded institution; it is a career entirely built on that sort of support.’ Photograph: David Levene

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Turner prize winner Elizabeth Price warns against marginalisation of arts” was written by Charlotte Higgins, chief arts writer, for The Guardian on Tuesday 4th December 2012 23.00 UTC

Were she starting out now, her career in art – one that has just been crowned by her winning this year’s Turner prize – would be impossible, Elizabeth Price has said.

The artist, who was awarded the £25,000 prize on Monday, criticised the government’s introduction of the Ebacc qualification in schools.

“It would be impossible now. And the Ebacc is part of that,” she said in a Guardian interview. “What’s depressing about the Ebacc is not only that it will be difficult for individuals to fulfil their ambitions or get to identify their own capabilities … but also what you end up with is art becoming something that is available only to privileged people.”

Arts subjects would be marginalised by the focus on the five main subject areas of maths, science, humanities, languages and English, she said. “The point of the Ebacc is to privilege certain disciplines, and it stands to reason that you can’t privilege some subjects without marginalising others.”

Price, who attended a comprehensive school in Luton before studying art at the University of Oxford, where she also now teaches, criticised the withdrawal of state funding for humanities and arts at universities. The result, she said, is that “these will become the subjects of the privileged, and history-writing and novel-writing and art-making and poetry-writing will become homogenous in terms of class and social background”.

Her career – making video art whose value in the commercial world is insufficient to support her – has been possible only because of publicly funded arts institutions, she said. “If you look at my CV, just about everything I have done has come through a publicly funded institution; it is a career entirely built on that sort of support.”

It would never have happened without the “generous opportunities I’ve had through education and public funding”.

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