Cut out the babble, Eno tells lecturers

March 18, 2005

Britain's art schools are "dim and tired" places where lecturers "babble meaningless jargon", according to Brian Eno, one of the UK's most successful pop-music producers and artists.

At a London lecture titled "Is the Art School Dead?", Mr Eno said: "My position is not that arts schools are dead, but they need waking up a bit."

Among the more provocative plans from the founder of Seventies glam-rock group Roxy Music, is a proposal to scrap exams in favour of "pop-chart" style Top Tens of student work. And he favours employing philosophers, scientists, cake decorators and comedians as lecturers.

He told the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce: "The people I would be least interested in employing as speakers would be artists." Artists used nonsensical jargon because it impressed the critics, he said.

Mr Eno also said that art schools should model themselves on the physics department at Imperial College London. This would see art school academics lead projects with students as apprentices or co-workers.

Mr Eno, 57, has produced five U2 albums and co-written three David Bowie albums. He is a graduate of Ipswich Art School and visiting professor at the Royal College of Art.

He said that art schools should be about understanding and articulating "what's new". "I would want to start employing people who do that professionally - for instance, people who work in advertising, in PR."

He said he would also employ comedians - as "comedy is the place where the most interesting things are happening. I'd like them to do the same with cake decorators or anybody else really," he said.

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