By Shannon Bono, MA Art and Science at Central Saint Martins
My experience of UAL has been amazing so far, it’s an art school that provides plenty of opportunities and resources for their current students and alumni. However, when I started studying at Central Saint Martins, I noticed the lack of African/Caribbean representation amongst the students and I had no knowledge of black teachers or technicians. When speaking with current students concerning the low numbers of POC, I was informed that the majority of black employees were only accounted for as cleaning, kitchen and beverage staff. Not to discredit the wonderful staff at the college who have helped me countlessly, but POC representation matters.
It makes a black girl like me wonder what lies in my future as an artist. Are the low numbers of black people at CSM due to cultural upbringing? A lack of awareness of the careers in the arts? Or is it financial concerns?
According to the Universities equality, diversity and inclusion report for 2017 only 31% of BAME students applied for first year undergrad course, 42% of students were from BAME back-rounds, 29% were UK/home students and 85% were international students. I applaud UAL for realising the gap and their action to pursue and bridge the gap yet still these numbers are not detailed enough or specific to black people. It also excludes the percentage of black teachers, so what is the percentage of African/Caribbean students across the schools?