Musicians’ Union (MU) condemns proposals to close the Music Dept at University of East Anglia (UEA).
12 October 2011

The recommendation that will be put to the University’s governing council is that UEA should stop offering music as an academic discipline . The final decision on the future of the School of Music will be made on 28 Nov 2011.
MU Regional Organiser Paul Burrows says:
The proposal to close UEA Music fails to recognise the importance of the department, not only to its own students, but also to the whole of Norfolk and East Anglia. The UEA music course is very highly regarded and was ranked 5th in the Guardian’s 2010 University Guide – above many Conservatoires. We urge the University’s governing council to oppose this short-sighted proposal.

MU National Organiser for Teaching, Diane Widdison, says:
The UEA music courses have the reputation of being innovative and of producing high calibre graduates who have gone on to influence music education in this country – their added value to the university cannot be measured purely in financial terms. We are extremely concerned about the effect of cuts in the higher education sector on music courses in general as these are already having an effect on employment opportunities for musicians, but will also limit the number of places for musicians to study in the future.

The MU is asking its members to support the following online petition:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHQyd2xkd0I2aDlsTWJGemExb0NpRUE6MQ

The University Senate of the University of East Anglia sat at 2pm, 9th November, 2011 for the first vote on the recommended closure of the School of Music. This follows the findings of the secretly-held, internal and non-specialist review, which were that the University should not "invest further” in creative musical education.

The authors of the Report of Music Review Panel, 26th October 2011, assert, for support, that their review is based on an external, subject-specialist review of the School of Music from 2002. Subsequently, the authors of the 2002 review, Professor Richard Middleton and Professor Robert Pascall, have stated that references to their review are “selective” and “misleading”, and that in their opinion, the “new review follows a familiar model where a department is set up to fail”, and that “the misuse of our report” is “very irritating”.

From Professor Richard Middleton:
This is most dispiriting. Not least because the gist of our 2002 report was that the future for Music could only be decline or investment, and we strongly recommended investment. Clearly this course was not followed; the result is predictable (and the misuse of our report very irritating). The new review follows a familiar model where a department is set up to fail, by a pattern of university (in)action, and then the victims are held responsible; the plodding jargon merely exacerbates the insult.

From Professor Robert Pascall:
The 2002 Document was a positive plan for Music and the selective quotation in the current Internal Report is misleading in this respect. The criticisms in that Report all flow from the failure of the University to appoint staff, both following the 2002 plan and particularly in the wake of David Chadd's death in 2006. With a dynamic and visionary appointment now at professorial level, a pathway for regeneration would immediately open up.

I remain surprised that a Report of such potentially significant impact on regional and national educational and cultural life should have been prepared without consulting at least one, if not more external specialist music advisers.


These extracts are from emails now made public by Save UEA Music, with the permission of both senders and recipients. The senders have declared that they will make official statements affirming their content, if required.

The full emails are available here:
Professor Richard Middleton:
http://saveueamusic.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c3e5e9947d8ea73123bd690f8&id=48d9366f1a&e=70cc76b8f5

Professor Robert Pascall:
http://saveueamusic.us4.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=c3e5e9947d8ea73123bd690f8&id=49cac923cc&e=70cc76b8f5

Links to the 2011 review, official responses to the 2011 review, messages of support and the online petition can be found at:
http://saveueamusic.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c3e5e9947d8ea73123bd690f8&id=bd55934c1e&e=70cc76b8f5

The final conclusion of the 2002 review was: The price of failure to invest is, in our view, the loss of music as an academic subject at UEA, to the impoverishment of the University and the Nation.

Save UEA Music
Union House
Norwich, Eng NR4 7TJ
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