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One of the newest building of Goldsmiths College - opened in 2008

The other key aspect of the reform was the merger of two contrasted higher education systems that co-existed in Britain. Those were the Oxbridge type universities, based in the Western humanist ideal of academic education with its liberal approach to learning for the sake of self-development, and polytechnic education that arose out of the industrial revolution with its cognitive learning approach derived from practical work rather than abstracted ideas or in other words building from the particular to the general. Majority of arts colleges such as Goldsmiths, Chelsea, Wimbledon have their roots in these polytechnics that provided what Marx originally thought as 'technological training' needed for self-realisation and transformation of future subjects of a socialist state. It is worth noting that Marx theory of education was largely inspired by the British schooling examples and in particular by the factory owner Robert Owen, who during the first half of nineteenth century had established schools for the children of his factory workers, in New Lanark, Scotland. 

On the other hand you have the Slade School of Art that has long been a part of the University College of London (UCL) and thus part of the 'Golden Triangle' a term used to describe a Oxbridge type university located in the triangle formed by Cambridge, London, and Oxford. While this historic divide might have little or no relevance today, it helps us to illustrate two different formations that have influenced art education in Britain. It might also give us a taste of background influences and the place each college might have in the long history of British enlightenment.

Since the reforms of 1990s, there have been many other smaller and larger mergers, college name changes and endless debates about the best way to approach learning in today's complex world. For example, just six years ago, six distinguished art colleges merged and the  University of the Arts London came into being. If you want to study fashion, for example, you can do it now at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. 

Those in fashion business might know that the London College of Fashion has been one of distinctive colleges in London, which was opened about hundred years ago for a very specific reason: to train young girls in the arts of dressmaking, embroidery, and hairdressing. So, even today, if you want to learn the skill of dressmaker, tailoring, or fashion management you would certainly choose the London School of Fashion. There are, however, another set of courses in fashion and textile design, also at the University of Art, but these are taught at Central Saint Martins.

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