Universities collect art for the same purposes as they do anything else – to accumulate wealth (“Art and soul”, Features, 30 July). They don’t care about art itself. They may pay lip service to it, as they pay lip service to valuing research – but not researchers. But the end point is that it’s all about money in the bank.
For example, one Russell Group university in the North East has enough art in its cupboards (that is, it has so much of the stuff that it can’t fit it all on the walls) to fund all the fixed-term research fellows on its books for another year at least, if it sold the collection. And it’s not showing the collection, so why not sell it? Will it sell? Of course not. Are researchers being made redundant? Oh yes. Can anyone view this art, which is owned at the expense of research careers, allowing the population at large to benefit from it? Nope, it’s in cupboards. So much for the broader mission to educate.
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