The University Council of Modern Languages has learned with dismay of the proposed closure of Modern Language courses at UAL.
The cultural scene represented by UAL is in essence international and its multilingual nature and spirit are crucial in a globalised world. Indeed, a wide range of arts initiatives value inclusivity, collaboration and internationalisation and the quality of art and culture is largely dependent on intercultural exchange and enrichment. Cultures, the arts and languages are known to be intrinsically linked and their combination is essential to building coherent and sustainable development strategies. It will be regrettable to replace this with a monolingual culture which does not recognise these links and which will disadvantage students in terms of the loss of key professional, interpersonal and intellectual skills.
Whilst UAL prides itself on the entrepreneurial strengths of its offer, closing down language learning opportunities would indeed seem to go against the needs of employers and narrow down employability prospects for graduates. The shift away from languages also does not align with the Knowledge Exchange agenda at UAL and its focus on inclusive development and communities.
We would like to invite UAL senior management to liaise with specialist associations such as AULC and ourselves to explore how the institution can continue to position itself at the heart of the national and international arts scene by maintaining and maximising its language offer.