According to today's Liverpool Daily Post, Sir Paul's Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) plans to apply for University status. Currently, LIPA's six undergraduate degrees ( three undergraduate degrees in the performing arts, in acting, music, and dance, and three nonperformance degrees, in management, sound technology and theater, technology and design ) are accredited by John Moores University. This year the Academy experienced a significant 19% rise in applications. Last evening, LIPA's principal, Mark Featherstone-Witty, stated:
"It means we have reached the end of the beginning. The admission figures show we have established ourselves and we are ready to move on to the next level, and become a university. The first thing is to separate ourselves from JMU and establish a direct funding relationship with the Government by 2006. Then, by 2008 hopefully, we would be awarding our own degrees. The main drive behind it is to give a bit of status to LIPA and to the students, because at the end of the day what they do is not about qualifications, but about whether they can perform - and no piece of paper can tell you that."
Thanks to Sir Paul, the Academy attracts a significant number of foreign students. According to Mr. Featherstone-Witty:
"The international student figures show we are competing on a par with the best institutions. The success is down to a number of things. I hope it is mainly because of the growing reputation of the college, and our high teaching standards and results. But I suspect it is also because we are the only place doing what we are with popular arts north of Birmingham. Clearly Paul's name sells the reputation of the college around the world. If you are thinking about studying the performing arts, then the idea of coming to Liverpool where the Beatles were formed must play a part. 'It's like going to study country music in Nashville. Another factor in this country is a lot of people seem to want to get into the industry because of the growing popularity of talent contests on television."
The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts was founded in 1996 by Sir Paul and Mr. Featherstone-Witty. Sir Paul was introduced to Mr. Featherstone-Witty by Sir George Martin when he learned that Sir Paul was by then interested in finding a purpose for his old school. At the time, Sir Paul said:
"I had always dreamt of being able to help my wonderful home town of Liverpool in some way or other. When I discovered the 1825 building which had once been my old school was derelict, saving the building became urgent. As if by magic, Mark appeared."
Mr. Featherstone-Witty hopes to achieve university status by 2006 to coincide with LIPA's tenth anniversary celebration.. It would become Liverpool's fourth university joining the University of Liverpool, John Moores University, and Hope University which was granted university status in March this year.
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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