Thursday, 19 February 2009

Important Meeting Tomorrow Morning

After long negotiations, Jane Rapley has agreed to attend a meeting at Byam Shaw at 10.30am on Friday.

Please show your support through your presense.

We will be holding an open meeting at 9am with Kit Friend.

Notes on a Meeting with Rob Ineson and Alister Warman by Kenneth Collings

Rob Ineson, Dean of Students, joined us at the meeting with Alister to gather student feedback and to relay messages to the rector tomorrow or within the next few days. He informed us that Jane Rapley, in charge of recourses, agreed to meet 5 of us Tuesday morning at Southampton row. (Later in the evening arrangements were made to forward the meeting to tomorow at 10.30.)

This issue of inadequate funding on the courses supplied by the university is not just a local issue, it has occurred across the uni; wimbledon etc. and is ‘recognised’ by the bursar. The new bursar, we were told, has held his position for only a year. As if this is adequate reason to give him a chance to get used to how things are done. This is the 3rd years’s last year, give them a chance to finalise their education to a standard that was promised to them because they’re never going to have another chance to redo their degree / year.

When asked why it supposedly costs more when there are less tutorial hours, the reply was; “Crudely put, we were spending money that we didn’t have” – Alister
Despite £60 000 per annum being raised, for bursaries and scholarships, (in addition to government support and what we pay) we need to raise more. – A.W.

Reiterating the agenda that tutorial hours are to be congruent with what was promised in course handbook, we were met with the reply from Rob that CSM policy supposedly is to grant one 20minute tutorial per term, per student. As student surveys have shown; student satisfaction at Byam is far higher than at CSM, and our usual abundance of tutorials is surely one of the reasons for this.

Workshop opening times seem to be on a see saw with hours of tutorials, one compensating for the other. (less tutorials, more workshop hours.) Alister has agreed to talk to Lynn and Trevor at the beginning of next week with respect to extending hours of tutorials.

A suggestion to improve the transparency of communication in relevant decision making processes; meetings, forums deciding necessary delegation of funds was “unlikely to happen” but Rob Ineson eagerly noted down improvements of communicating through blackboard, and informing us of intentions of changes and not just telling us in a lame letter after it’s been done. Proposition of a student rep of Byam Shaw, from Byam Shaw fell on eager ears, so it seemed, though Rob said that he wasn’t in a position to make these changes.


Alister meeting Friday at 14.00, Following the meeting there will be a Q&A forum with the rest of Byam’s student body.

Afternoon Australian Energy Aerobics

The students had a lunchtime aerobics session in the courtyard to energize tired bodies for another day of negotiations, talks and art making...

Our Story So Far...

It's the same each time with progress. First they ignore you, then they say you're mad, then dangerous, then there's a pause and then you can't find anyone who disagrees with you.

-Tony Benn

The screen printing factory upstairs had been hard at work to provide us with our beautiful garb.

Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.

-Martin Luther King, Jr
Just before settling down to discuss our agenda.
Rob Owen, of the NUS national executive came to talk to us about education in relation to political policy and Richard Braude, a member of climate change discussed protest in relation to philosophical thought.

. . . followed by sushi courtesy of Yoichi and Sakura :o)

Another meeting was held where our proposals were discussed again.

Bedtime . . .
. . . and back to work.

The imposition of management culture on the academic environment has had a debilitating effect on art education, and has caused a complete split between the managers and the managed.

-Art Monthly, May 2008

Hope This Fits The Bill! By Laura Lenander

The imposition of management culture on the academic environment has had a debilitating effect on art education and has caused a complete split between the managers and the managed. Education cannot be easily quantified, but managers only value what can be quantified and thus measured. If an 'output' is not measurable then, it is literally of no account.

Something is systematically wrong with the way that the education of fine artists is managed. In order to get validation small art schools are no longer able to survive on their own and forced into surrendering their autonomy by merging with other institutions, in this case it has resulted in Byam Shaw School of Art joining Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design, part of University of the Arts London. Of which there are many benefits, such as use of the library and the ability to mix with a wider range of disciplines throughout the university. Also services such as student support are much improved. However, with these benefits has also come many disadvantages to the great detriment of the education available at the Byam Shaw.

In the annual report for 2007, UALs expenditure is listed as £161.5 million, yet the payments in 'teaching departments' is at little more than £70.6 million. The money spent on administering the whole bureaucratic nightmare which is University of the Arts London comes directly out of the fees which the students are paying. This money would be far better SPENT ON TEACHING. Effectively, less than half of the fees each student is paying is spent in 'teaching departments'. In the past two years the money allocated to tutorials for the BA Fine Art course at Byam Shaw has been reduced by 276 hours. This has left the part-time staff (who's employment is VERY causalised) finding they have lost a large chunk of income days before the start of the academic year. Tutors are frightened to speak up for fear of reprisal. Here, at Byam Shaw students are taking action, speaking out to fight for the rights which they pay for. It is not a matter of resourcing; it is a matter of priorities. The management culture the university is caught up in has lead to the prioritisation of the administrative over the academic.

Any attempt to query the situation has been met with a rather lame attempt at corporate sophistry.

So what for the future of Byam Shaw? Part of the validation process that is happening throughout University of the Arts London has given Central Saint Martins the opportunity to begin to merge the two BA Fine Art courses. One of the plans on the table currently is the loose the name Byam Shaw BA Fine art and make this course one of the pathways available on the BA Fine Art Central Saint Martins – thus not only loosing its name, but also its individuality. Will it remain as Byam Shaw? I am sure it will be chipped away at bit by bit as the University brings it into line with its 'rationalisation scheme', totally disregarding the idea that each of the schools within the University are individual places which NEED individual budgets to account for this.

What Happened yesterday. 18/02/09

Basically we took over the main building of Byam Shaw School of Art. We want all the students of the college to BE INVOLVED. There were consensus based meetings last night to decide what action is going to be taken and this process will continue throughout the occupation. The agenda will be clearly set out on the Blackboard in reception and also here on the blog.

The meeting last night was in my opinion a massive success, input came from all across the years and courses of Byam Shaw BUT MORE INPUT IS ALWAYS WELCOME. The meeting was minuted as follows...

Minutes from Meeting – as of 21:37, on the 18th February 2009.


1) Media
2) Documentation
3) Food
4) Maintenance / safety / civilisation
5) CSM Union
6) Publicity
6.5) Events / Lectures / Workshops etc
6.7) ART
7) Alister <3 consensus =" wait">
- All should document events personally, but the following have agreed to take more specific responsibility for documentation = Jon, Holly, Maya, Chris, Zelda, Rowan, Jess.

3) Food

- During the day this domain is ruled over by our lord, lady and cosmic bubble **ESMERALDA** - who is enthusiastic, generally.
- During the night-time the resource is at our disposal to cook. Consensus reached that it should not be a free-for-all and that someone should take responsibility for the area to ensure tidiness, cleanliness etc.
- Consensus reached that although individuals may wish to fend for themselves mass-catering can and will feed all. The majority of food to be salvaged from the premature oblivion to which it is consigned by wasteful food providers i.e. Tesco and M&S, yet in order to cover other expenses a kitty is to be established. Bowl passes round, all contibute.
- Those committed to specific responsibilities are as follows – Christina and Richard to salvage and skip. Cooks – Sophie, Hannah, Nicole, Richard, Sarah, Lewis, Kate, Oli, Oliver Cronk and Christina.
- Food times to be published on blackboard which is to appear in reception.

4) Maintenance etc

- Everyone be civilised, tidy up! Esp. in mornings with regard to bedding etc, and food waste.

5) CSM Union

- Kit Friend (campaigns communications officer) arrives = strong support of action! APPLAUSE! Acknowledgement of necessity, validity, context and purpose of action.
- Success in recent undertaking as communications officer – willing to assist as possible, inc. facilitation of strong contacts with CSM, LCC etc
- Help with Arts London News – article? Help with large emails via CSM email.
- Agrees to chair open debate r.e. education, student rights etc – timing TBC, contact when.
- Tarek/Laura to act as representatives on student board?

6) Publicity

- Specific outreach groups to other institutions?
- Participate in education protest at SOAS on 25th February (Wednesday next)
- Facebook – occupiers to set ‘status bar’ to blog address –
- Open evenings? Interested non-affiliated visitors to be allowed in after 6pm – reasonable caution – somebody to man reception and make sure no ill will enters. Sign-in book?
- T-Shirts – 90 gone! More needed – to be orchestrated organically.

6.5) Events / Lectures etc

- Lots of exciting events ranging from workshops to classes to dances to lectures etc.
- Information to be posted on blackboard which will appear in reception. Check it! Come!
- Becky, Ash, Oli, Christina, Oliver Cronk and Kit to organise, although anyone with an idea or contact should put it forward.
6.7) ART

- Yes! Please.

7) Alaster

- Concern expressed. No intention to irritate, aggravate or offend, nor to problematize his position.
- Is he cross? Is he secretly glad? Is he staying the night? Is he a dad?
- He is to be invited to everything, fed, watered etc
- (Same goes for Shane and Jose at reception by night.)

8) Odd Jobs

- Banners? Tied-up – someone has dealt with it.
- Generally fix things, collectively ensure success and efficiency of action.
- Etc
- We should wrap up the meeting…

9) ‘Bricks’ = Working Groups

- As listed in sections above – streamline operations.

10) Rota

- Consensus reached that it is not strictly necessary
- List of phone numbers, emails and hours of availability of all involved to be drawn up. Will be available on the blackboard at reception. Copy to Kit F for contact.

11) Daytime Presence

- Presence needed in reception area – everyone take responsibility for this, see a hole, fill it.
- Banner and blackboard to appear in reception area
- Bedding etc to be neatly stored out of the way
- Presence to be non-disruptive and in no way hinder the operations of BS.

…and finally…

12) Meeting

- To be held at 13:30 tomorrow, the 19th February 2009.


There are certain gestures that are involved in consensus meetings that may not be familiar to you. There are designed to achieve the highest level of democracy and decorum.

The most important gestures are for agreement and disagreement:

Agreement is a silent shaking on the hands in a enthusiastic manner, it looks as follows:

The expression for disagree is similar but make an effort to frown enthusiastically (Caution this action can be abused and unproductive so use it wisely). It goes as follows:

If you want to make a point about the issue under discussion, the form a P using your hands as follows:

If you have a direct response to the point just made (and feel it really can't wait) the sign to make is:

Finally, when a vote is in process and you are indifferent for any reason this sign can be made:

If this sign is made by any member of a group during the vote, there will be a chance for you objection or indifference to be put to the group. Please be aware that this process is complicated and communication can break down, it is up to you as a participant to highlight a breakdown in proceedings.

Finally if you have any questions or anything to add please post below :)

Today's Programme of Events