Monday, 23 February 2009


The problem is not that university managers disagree with their students' demands (which they are perfectly entitled to do), but that they view the very act of students engaging with the wider reality of their world as a subversive phenomenon to be nipped in the bud before it infects the rest of the student population.

Students must be encouraged, not quelled and intimidated, in their efforts to engage with the complex realities of the world.

whether they're right or wrong in their political positions, students need to be heard and respected, not patronised and infantilised for their dissent.

From: Student apathy is good for business
Crackdowns on a resurgence in activism highlight universities' transformation into businesses selling employable students
Hicham Yezza, Thursday 19 February 2009 19.30 GMT Article history

Press Release

Occupation of the Byam Shaw School of Art

The Byam Shaw school of Art has provided a fine art education within a stimulating community for 99 years. Throughout a wealth of shifts in cultural ideology, Byam Shaw has managed to hold on to some of the founding principles of educational philosophy; there is a freedom to learn independently through each other and the environment around us.

The students of Byam Shaw have become increasingly dissatisfied with the way that higher education is being delivered. It was felt that joining the University of Arts London and in particular our amalgamation with Central St Martins would provide a way to preserve the identity of the school within a higher education system where independent colleges are fast disappearing. What has instead resulted is a 16% drop in teaching hours, fewer resources, less access to facilities, increased bureaucracy and a lack of transparency within the decision-making process.

Throughout this academic year we have been sending letters, attending meetings and attempting to get our concerns heard. Responses have been dismissive and diversionary. We felt that the only way that we could bring about change and obtain answers to our questions was to go into occupation. This commenced on Wednesday 18th February.

After five days of occupation, we are finally engaging in discussion with the university management but a resolution to the matter is still not in sight. Pertinently, the occupation has served not only to bring out the best in individual students but also to highlight the strengths of our community, producing both widespread debate and a wealth of artwork. The experience has enriched our education immensely.

What has become increasingly clear is that the problems we are experiencing are being mirrored throughout the higher education system. There is a need for a wider debate about whether current educational policy, in both fiscal and philosophical terms, will serve to benefit the students of today and in turn the country as a whole. The disparity between political vision and the emerging outcomes of policy direction needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Letter of support from Goldsmiths SU

Dear Byam Shaw Students,

Goldsmiths Students’ Union sends its solidarity. We too have come under sustained attempts at cut-backs including attempts to close our nursery, the outsourcing of staff and the privatisation of our International Department. Your occupation is an inspiration to us and we are watching very closely. We wish you every success and will help you in any way that we can.

In solidarity

Goldsmiths Students’ Union

watch out for our fliers

Drumming at 3PM to welcome the Deputy Rector of UAL, the Dean of students and Head of Estates

23rd February 11am Meeting: Minutes

  • The press release was read out by Kenny. Jess went over the suggestions made my Anna Hart and Oscar suggested there should be a greater emphasis on putting it into a wider context.
  • A consensus decision was made that press should be contacted today (Monday)
  • Suggested press contacts included the Times Educational Supplement, Art Monthly, other art magazines and our local MP.
  • Jenny suggested that we could send in pictures of our occupation to “picture of the day” in the London Paper. It was suggested that we could either pick one picture through a tallying system or send lots of different ones in from different addresses.
  • Jenny also extended a welcome to people who hadn’t attended our previous meetings, emphasising that the issues we are campaigning on affect everyone and that we do not see this as an insular matter. Tarek added that numbers need to stay high if we want to see progress.
  • In terms of guest speakers, Anish Kapoor, and Anthony Gormley should hopefully be attending. Kate said she would talk to her Dad who talk part in an occupation at Guildford. Ollie also mentioned Slavoj Žižek.
  • Early studio closures in the BA studios were brought up as an issue. Tarek says that this is in the process of being sorted, including with regard to our demands about studio opening times at 2 Elthorne Road. It was suggested we could build a temporary studio in the courtyard.
  • An action plan needs to be put together for press and contact details for the press team need to be complied so that if journalists come they can be directed towards the press team.
  • Ollie mentioned outreach to other London universities in occupation as it is felt that even if our intentions are different we should show solidarity. It was also felt that we should go to other UAL sites and generally set about stimulating a debate about education.
  • The new outreach team is as follows:
  1. Jenny
  2. Hattie
  3. Jenea
  4. Ollie
  5. James
  6. Oscar
  7. Sarah
  8. Grace
  9. Teresa
  10. Richard
  11. Faye
  12. Amalia
  • In terms of matters such as fliers, it was decided that the outreach team should discuss these matters amongst themselves.


Present: Alister Warman (Principal), Tim Sokolow (Academic Coordinator), Representatives of Student Body.
1) Studio hours – during occupation and generally.
2) Workshop hours.
3) Exhibition Space in Courtyard / Studio Space in Sculpture Yard
4) Deployment of Extra Money
5) Dave’s Wages
6) Communications

- Where workshop time has been missed out on, there is the possibility of some Saturday opening times for students to catch up.
- Maybe put money into print = Monday opening when Adrian Barron is involved in FdA.
- Friday opening for digital (= Mon-Fri, 10-5) confirmed. Possibility of earlier opening hours? Deemed unnecessary... Print opening on Monday preferred?
- In the event of closures advance warning is required.
- Studios over the road are currently closing early?
- Shortage of staff due to Occupation..? Health and Safety concerns necessitate early closures.
- FdA Studio opening hours to be same as BA studios? To be investigated… Issue of Work Based Learning and different student patterns according till term. Proposed investigation prior to Winter Term 2009.
- Foundation studios to stay as they are due to Health and Safety constraints
- Late opening on Thursday evenings – to be reinstated? Issue of J. Wag(g?), to be fine-tuned with him
-“We will try to make what we have go as far as it can” – AW
- Extra money – deployed how? Barren workshops, materials run out – metal, wood plaster.
- Little to no money to play with…
- Possibility of subsidised materials? Students willing to pay as best they can?
- Used to be a shop here – to be reconsidered, reopened if there is certainty of sufficient trade.
- AW looked at course handbooks r.e. tutorial time and Douglas Alsop has agreed to more tutorials with final year students? This was envisioned to happen about now anyway.
- With regards to other year groups and courses, AW does not wish to promise too much, but recognises the need for a shift.
- To arrange meeting with Steven, Lynn, Douglas, Margot and Elle (possibility of two parts to meeting – FdA and BA)
- Mention of informal lunchtime crits, as set up by Elle and Hannah Sharpe for FdA – student led but tutorial presence.
- AW spoke of rethinking aspects of teaching to create in terms of powerful influence. Powerful used not in context of authoritarianism, but of dynamism and creativity.
- In this context student input is highly valuable.
- How to communicate?
- Value of integrated communications network – ref. to UCS at Cambridge.
- UAL should acknowledge the need to work towards more efficient and streamlined communication
- Dave McKeran (caretaker) has worked 8 hours extra time… Not yet paid, nor any talk of rates of agency staff = time and a half.
- AW aware, troubled and on the case.
- New Digital Openings = Mon-Fri, 10-5.
- Print – Look into Monday opening.
- Workshop into temporary studio space – NO.
- Courtyard into Exhib. Space – speak to the WAG.
- Meeting with Course Directors - Lynn, Douglas, Margot and Elle – time TBC. Value of CDs having some time to think about options.


Minor resolutions following meeting with Alister 23/02/09Minor

Support From Tony Benn

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tony Benn <>
Date: 2009/2/19
Subject: Re: Byam Shaw Occupation


Thanks and I wish I could but this week is jammed solid.
I do hope it goes well
Please pass on my support