Artists and writers join protest against Finsbury Park ceramics course closure

Edmund de Waal is opposed to the closure of City and Islington College's ceramics department Pic: PA

Edmund de Waal is opposed to the closure of City and Islington College's ceramics department Pic: PA/Dominic Lipinski - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Edmund de Waal and Jeremy Deller join protests over ceramics dept

City and Islington College's ceramics department faces the axe

City and Islington College's ceramics department faces the axe - Credit: Archant

Edmund de Waal, renowned British artist and author of the best-selling book The Hare with Amber Eyes, has voiced his anger over a plan to scrap the entire ceramics department at City and Islington College, in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park.

If the closure goes ahead in March six members of staff - two teaching and four technicians - will be axed.

Mr de Waal released a statement, which said: “I am fiercely opposed to the closure of the Ceramics Department at City and Islington College . . . [the proposal] is enormously shortsighted.”

He added: “To close such a key facility for studying ceramics in the heart of London deprives not only this generation of the opportunity to explore their creativity with clay, but deprives every other future generation of a gateway into learning this art.”

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Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North which covers the college, has written to the Principal, Frank McLoughlin.

He said: “I very much hope that with some creative will be possible to safeguard the future of this much-loved and much-needed department.”

More than 3,200 have now signed a petition against closure of the ceramics department, including world famous artist Grayon Perry, Turner Prize-winner Jeremy Deller and leading ceramicist Alison Britton.

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Earlier this month Mr Perry said: “As an artist who studied pottery in evening classes I am proof that people can and do progress from such classes into successful careers in ceramics.

“City and Islington College provides a vital training ground. Without it, where will we find the artists of the future?”

The department currently has 250 students.

Mr McLoughlin said the college’s adult funding had been cut by more than 25 per cent, meaning they have to priorities resources “around provision which helps people progress on to employment and university”.

He added: “The ceramics provision has been very important to the college, however it is expensive to run, and involves very small numbers of students.

“We have therefore had to make the difficult decision to enter consultation about its future.

“No decisions have been made at this point.”

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