World famous transvestite artist Grayson Perry in bid to save Finsbury Park ceramic course

Grayson Perry: 'Where will we find artists of the future?' Pic: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Grayson Perry: 'Where will we find artists of the future?' Pic: Dominic Lipinski/PA - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Cross-dressing Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry has stepped in to try and save a Finsbury Park ceramics course.

The world famous artist, who lives in the borough, has written to the head of City and Islington College to ask him to think again about scrapping the entire ceramics department, based in Blackstock Road.

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

In his letter to Frank McLoughlin, Mr Perry said: “I am appalled that a popular and beneficial course should be considered for closure just because it does not fit neatly into an instrumentalist idea of education.”

He added: “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?”

A staff spokesman said: “The proposal to close ceramics is being rushed though, with little time for consultation.

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“We are confident, though, that we can put a stop to this, just as we did the last time the college tried to close the department down in 2007.

“We will be presenting a set of counter proposals which not only defend this area of work, but set out ways in which it could be extended and link into the other Art Foundation work the college successfully runs.’”

Bridget Fagan, on of the college’s 250 ceramics students, said: “In planning to close down the excellent resource of the ceramics studio, the leading college in London will be losing a teaching and learning centre with the potential to be providing more arts foundation and making courses for a wider range of students of varying ages.

“City and Islington College should be more entrepreneurial with its valuable resources, and also recognise the positive well-being and creativity that working with clay brings for all students whoever they are.

“Islington residents will be the losers.”

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.”