Tracey Emin was warned that marginalizing the arts in education could lead to rioting in Britain.
The artist, who came out in support of the Conservatives at the last general election, has urged education secretary Michael Gove to “rethink” a policy which will drop art as one of the core subjects at GCSE level.
In an interview with The Independent, Emin said that for inner-city children in particular, a creative outlet was vital, and the consequences of removing it could be severe.
“If anyone thought the riots in 2011 were bad, take the arts out of the curriculum and it will be worse than it was before,” she said, adding that she has seen firsthand how challenging troubled teenagers with the arts could have a very positive effect.
Emin’s comments come just days after shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg critisied the new English Baccalaureate for “downgrading creative subjects”.
The new EBacc is a qualification for pupils who pass exams in five academic subjects at the age of 16 - maths, english, science, a language and history or geography.
Though a spokeswoman for the Department for Education has pointed out that “no school will be prevented from offering qualifications in the arts”, 15 per cent of schools have already dropped one or more arts subjects since the introduction of the EBacc.
This has prompted the Tate to launch a campaign aimed at convincing Gove to reconsider his stance on the arts, with the Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota arguing Britain could lose its “cultural edge” in years to come.
Meanwhile, galleries, music venues and art spaces across the country continue to come under threat from cuts as local authorities scramble to meet government austerity measures, notably in Newcastle – a city famed for its cultural regeneration that is now facing a galling 100% reduction in art funding.