Sheffield Hallam University: Sherwood writer raises concerns about English Literature course relocation

The author of BBC drama Sherwood has cautioned that reduced opportunities to study humanities and the arts will result in fewer working-class writers and artists.

James Graham shared his thoughts in response to Sheffield Hallam University’s choice to halt the instruction of English Literature as a degree.

Attributing it to a significant decrease in arts education within state schools, he attributed the decline in course applications. In response, the university announced plans to incorporate English Literature into a more comprehensive degree program.

According to a spokesperson from Sheffield Hallam, the existing course will remain in operation for the current academic year, but it will be temporarily suspended starting from September 2023.

They further stated that the decision was based on the demand for the course and the number of applications received. This action is part of a broader initiative involving the suspension or closure of a limited number of courses.

The university assured that there would be no job losses resulting from this decision, according to a spokesperson from Sheffield Hallam. They explained that as a comprehensive university offering a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, the institution regularly evaluates its course offerings to ensure they remain relevant to the evolving needs and expectations of students and employers.

The university cautioned against conflating the modifications made to its English Literature course with any broader discussion concerning government funding.

Mr. Graham emphasized the significance of discussing the available opportunities within arts and humanities for young individuals from diverse backgrounds.

“There has been a significant decline in the amount of teaching time, funding, and focus on drama, art, and music within regular state schools,” he remarked.

He expressed his disagreement with the notion that these subjects hold less importance, stating that there has been a significant decline in school plays and orchestras. As a result, when young individuals reach the stage of applying for higher education, they have been consistently given the message that these subjects have diminished value.

In the meantime, Jo Grady, General Secretary of the University and College Union, characterized Sheffield Hallam’s decision as “both shocking and disheartening.” Grady further stated that it appears to be part of a broader government-driven agenda that undermines the arts and humanities within universities.



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By Ryan

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