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Camberwell Occupation
(press release 20.03.98) From the occupation website 20/3/99 :

London Institute force students out

Here's the scoop: the London Institute took us to court, and we lost the battle. The occupation was not the war, though, and there are issues at stake that will not go away at the drop of a possession order.

There is a story to be told here, and it will be told here, but not today. The protagonists are taking a well deserved break, after maintaining the occupation for a full ten days. Suffice to say that management heard the points we had to make, they agreed with us, and said they would do very little to make good their failures. They have promised a productive consultation process, and this lull will provide everyone an opportunity to see how much gets done when the Institute does it their way.

There is some suspicion in these parts that, having achieved their tactical goal of ending the occupation, they will seek to avoid their strategic responsibility to our educations. In this matter, however, we are all eager to be proved wrong.

This website will rest for a few days, and then it will report the lessons we learned, and that might save others from learning the hard way. We expect there to be a change in focus, and we will spread our constituency somewhat. Perhaps the site could serve as a useful London-wide information and discussion forum.

Our deepest thanks go to everyone who offered their time, support and ideas, whether or not they were able to express it publicly. If you've sent us a message of support, thank you. This is really just a note to keep you informed until we've recuperated, so check back soon.

We lost the battle. As to the war, stay tuned...

archive
(press release 11.03.98)

Camberwell college of arts has been under peaceful student occupation since 1:30 pm on Wednesday the 10th of March. Students have formed an occupation committee, and all decisions relating to the occupation are taken democratically by the entire student group in regular meetings.

The main points of contention as they apply to Camberwell are as follows:
  • The studio spaces are grossly inadequate to accommodate the number of students enrolled at the college.
  • There are not sufficient tutors or tutored hours to offer guidance to the number of students enrolled.
  • Technicians are being increasingly overworked, with proposals to give them teaching responsibilities on less than pay than tutors receive.
The occupation arose spontaneously out of an action meeting held to discuss the lack of space in the college at 12:30 on the same day. The area under occupation encompasses the whole of the first and second floors of the main building. This includes the Head of College¹s office, several other offices, the staff and student canteens and bars, the board room and the Library, which was opened by library staff under occupation guidelines. However the computer rooms, which are in an entirely separate area, have been closed by College Management against student¹s wishes.

The aim of the occupation is to keep the college running to allow and improve student access to resources, especially third year students who are preparing for their degree shows. Students are producing work in the occupied area, and practising artists and art theoreticians are being invited to give lectures and run workshops within the occupation. We have the support of LISU (the London Institute Student¹s Union), the NUS, and UNISON.

We strongly encourage students at other Colleges and Universities, both inside and outside the London Institute, to seriously consider occupation, which would lead to the possibility of concessions being won not just from individual colleges but from Central Government, which would have dramatically greater benefits to offer students and the principle of a satisfactory education.

The fact that students at Camberwell continue to create excellent work is a triumph of determined talent over mismanagement, and should not be read as an indication that all is well. There exists at Camberwell a lack of resources and space which is unacceptable to the student body, being inadequate to support a satisfactory arts education.

Contact

web: www.scuba.ndirect.co.uk/occupation email: occupation@scuba.ndirect.co.uk

Telephone 0958 430 803 (Lala)
0795 359 160 (Vicky)
0181 693 2918 (Joćo)


notes:

The London Institute includes Camberwell College of Arts, Chelsea, Central Saint Martins, London College of Printing and Distributive Trades, and London College of Fashion.

Goldsmiths have just come out of a week-long occupation in which they won all their demands.

The Head of College at Camberwell is Roger Breakwell.
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