Statement from the Royal Musical Association on Goldsmiths

We write, as the UK’s largest and oldest learned society in music, with serious concerns about the impact on the Department of Music at Goldsmiths of the cuts proposed in the Goldsmiths ‘Transformation Programme’. The Department of Music has been on the cutting edge of music research and teaching for several decades now, consistently producing (individually and collectively) leading contributions to our discipline. Fittingly, as the world was adjusting to the COVID pandemic in September 2020, Goldsmiths ran a superb online-only annual conference for the Royal Musical Association (the first fully online conference in the RMA’s history). As hosts and organizers, the department reacted quickly, efficiently and positively to the changed circumstances, providing the international musical scholarly community with exceedingly valuable opportunities to interact and exchange ideas in a time of isolation.

Entirely in keeping with its status as a leader in our field, the Department of Music has been ahead of the game in establishing a mix of subject emphases – contemporary composition and performance, popular music, history, sonic arts, social (and social justice) concerns – now widely demanded by students. The department is well positioned to prosper into the mid-21st century and beyond, then, having already demonstrated a willingness and ability to adjust proactively to changing times.

The Music Department has long been recognized as distinctive for placing innovative creative practice and research at its core. The Goldsmiths ‘Transformation Programme’ statement makes a commitment to arts teaching. From Music’s perspective, this commitment must entail understanding and appreciating the complexity of the combined and integrated activities in which it engages – with practice, theory, teaching and research all contributing equally to a flourishing performing arts environment. All areas of the music curriculum and all music sub-disciplines therefore require wholehearted institutional support in the years and decades ahead.

We urge Goldsmiths to invest in its progressive, integrated and high-achieving Department of Music, thereby protecting and promoting one of its most significant scholarly and cultural assets.

The Royal Musical Association April 2024


  1. Thank you to the Royal Musical Association for this vital call to action! It’s crucial that Goldsmiths recognizes the importance of maintaining and investing in its Department of Music, especially considering its rich history and contribution to the field. The proposed cuts could undermine a department that not only adapted brilliantly to the challenges of the pandemic but also stands as a beacon of innovative and diverse musical education and research. Let’s hope this plea leads to a positive reevaluation of the ‘Transformation Programme’ to support the arts robustly. Denizli Avukat #SaveGoldsmithsMusic #InvestInArtsEducation #MusicMatters

  2. I greatly appreciate this statement’s clear articulation and acknowledgement of the contributions of Goldsmiths Music Department. Prof Simon Mcveigh, who over years led both Goldsmiths Senior Management and the Royal Musical Association, represents a brilliant legacy that Goldsmiths is called upon honour.

  3. Apart from everything else, Goldsmiths College has provided part-time music degree education to mature students for many years: I believe it was something of a pioneer in this area. This is a facility which should be strongly encouraged to continue.

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