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Tuesday, July 14, 1998 Published at 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK


Top marks for 'Costa Scarborough' students

The students relax in sunny...Scarborough

Thirteen art students who faked a holiday to Spain for their end-of-year project have been awarded top marks.

The group, who took dummy Mediterranean holiday snaps and cultivated fake tans, received first class honours for their project at Leeds University.

Art critic Brian Sewell tells Radio 4's Today programme: "It reflects very badly on the state of art teaching"
Examiners praised them for challenging popular perceptions about how art is produced, taught and criticised.

The students provoked a furore by claiming to have taken a holiday in Spain with the help of grants worth more than 1,000 which had been provided by the university students' union and local businesses.

In fact, they had spent time in Scarborough, faking the snaps and lying on ultra-violet sunbeds.

[ image: Sian Jones:
Sian Jones: "It took months of planning"
One of the 13, Sian Jones, says the group worked hard for their grades.

"It took a lot of time, a lot of effort from us," she told BBC News 24.

"We could have easily sat in the studio and painted some paintings."

But although the examiners are impressed, all is not forgiven - the students' union continues to ban them from its premises.

A union spokeswoman, Anna Richards, still fails to see the funny side.

"It's lying, it's dishonesty ... we've got to pull them up now and say 'No, you can't do that'," she said.

The students have to complete another year before obtaining their degrees in fine art.

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