RA Schools (1)

Each year, there is a small ceremony for the graduating students of the Royal Academy Schools to receive their diplomas.   Each year, I find it unexpectedly moving witnessing a year group of 17 students, who have moved as a cohort through the experience of the Royal Academy and its art school:  the first year studios with the casts from Sir Thomas Lawrence’s collection hanging on the walls;  the Premiums when their work is exhibited in Burlington Gardens through to their final show in the nineteenth-century studios underneath the exhibition galleries.   Everyone seems to win a prize:  a residency in New York or money for travel.   I once made the mistake of saying that it was privileged (they pay no fees) and saw 17 people looking at me furiously because it’s not privileged having to survive for three years without secure funding.   But at the end it looks and feels worth it.

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