Art education has been in the news recently and is somewhat of a political hot potato; since the rise in university tuition fees art schools across the country have been safeguarding themselves from the inevitable loss of income. Is there a better time for this, the Wide Open School, a paid-for exhibition of workshops, displays and salons, to open at the Southbank Centre? Probably, but inclusion is the watchword, and the Hayward Gallery have put together quite the roster of guest tutors.
Divided into nine departments, visitors will have the opportunity to learn from some of the world's most impressive artistic minds, including Gillian Wearing, Ernesto Neto, Jessica Voorsanger, Jane and Louise Wilson, Harrell Fletcher, Wolfgang Tillmans, Yael Bartana, Susan Hiller, Raqs Media Collective, ever-presents Gormley and Emin, and many, many more besides. There are over a hundred artists, representing over forty countries.
In all honesty, the concept and execution of Wide Open School contains inherent ironies and paradoxes, and from this distance it almost feels too curator-led. However, the opportunity to have this closeness to the minds and opinions of your favourite artists (and, potentially, some of your new favourite artists) is undeniable; Hayward Gallery have collected a startlingly good faculty. Your dear old Culture Editor is snapping up tickets left, right and centre, secretly wishing that you're not doing the same.
Wide Open School opens at Hayward Gallery today, until 11 July.