Up to 40 students staged a three-hour sit-in at Tate Britain before last night's Turner Prize ceremony to protest against threatened cuts to arts education funding.
Drawn from a loose alliance of arts schools including Goldsmith's at University of London and the University of Southampton, the students arrived in the Devine Gallery at 5pm.
With some wearing dunce's caps and organising life drawing classes near the entrance, they were surrounded by police who had been told by gallery officials not to remove them.
Responding to chanting through the ceremony, the eventual winner Susan Philipsz told The Independent: "It was a surreal experience anyway. It brought me back to the days when I used to protest against cuts. My heart goes out them. It brought me back."
The chanting turned to cheers when Tate director Nick Serota told the crowd and the protesters they had his backing. "We are all concerned about the cuts, the budget, the culture and art education. Cities such as Nottingham, Bristol and Birmingham have been enormously enriched by new galleries and arts schools have been laboratories for new ideas. Arts should be accessible to all, no matter where you live or your wealth."
Dr Gill Addison, from Chelsea College of Art and Design, said: "We are here to show that with these cuts there will not be an education."