Art and design college heads have taken the first steps towards setting up a national federal university of the arts, writes Tony Tysome.
Executive management group members of the UK Arts and Design Institutions Association (Ukadia) have sent a proposal for the institution to education secretary Charles Clarke and chief executive of the Quality Assurance Agency Peter Williams.
The move follows the granting of university status to the London Institute and comes as a significant number of higher education colleges prepare bids to use the university title.
The proposal sets out a vision for a new federal national and specialist "creative arts and industries university", consisting of all art, design and performing arts colleges in England outside of the London Institute and the Royal College of Art.
The new university would have a similar structure and constitution to the University of London, in that each of its member colleges would benefit from the federal institution's degree-awarding powers, but each would retain its name and autonomy.
Ukadia is hoping for a positive response to its proposal from Mr Clarke and the QAA by a meeting of its 18 member institutions in September.