Is this death-knell for 'live art'?

October 6, 2000

An emerging field in the arts is threatened by a shake-up of arts courses at Nottingham Trent University, academics have warned, writes Phil Baty.

Specialists in the field of "live art" say that the restructure of Trent's contemporary arts degree could seriously damage Britain's live art scene. The Live Arts Development Agency in London said that the course was a key part of the arts map and that the planned changes could damage a thriving industry.

Trent's degree in contemporary arts, which enrols 50 to 70 students a year, includes visual arts, performance art, music and dance. Staff say this mix of disciplines creates the perfect environment for live art - a form of performance art in which artists employ theatrical traditions to create "happenings".

The university said that the changes were "purely administrative" and that live arts were safe. "There is a reorganisation of the academic management and organisation of the programme," a spokesperson said.

But staff fear the essential "hybrid" of disciplines will be lost, with worrying consequences.

* Culture minister Chris Smith opens the university's renovated art and design school next week.

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