At one end of the spectrum fine art as a subject is simply a part of mass higher education, while at the other it exists to launch successive generations of artists into practice in a contemporary world of art that is Brobdingnagian, matching the scale of its ambitions to the worlds of Michelangelo, Titian and Rubens. Young British artists have famously claimed a place in that vigorous new art world and some of the art schools have made it their business to shape themselves as springboards into global art practice.
Many higher education institutions have their own art collections. Some place them in galleries and some put them in the care of curators. The accumulating tide of work as some 4,000 students graduate in fine art practice each year is daunting: annual showcase exhibitions and institutional curators face an improbable task as they try to filter the huge potential volume of work to be represented.