Sunday, March 23, 2008

Board of Governors Meeting, April 14th

The Board of Governors will be meeting on April 14th.
This, I understand, is usually more of a rubber-stamping affair than a forum for discussion and decision-making, since it is not the Governors' job to run the school. But they do want to see that the Executive are running the school properly & smoothly.
The closure of the ceramics degree has upset a lot of people -not only students or staff from the department- and raised grave concerns about decision-making processes within the school.
This is the Governors' business.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Today at noon Irene McAra McWilliam came to the studio to announce the decision made at yesterday's Academic Council meeting, joined by Archie McAll and Colin McKean (SRC president).

The recommendation has been accepted, with immediate implementation. This was the first point.

The second point (according to my hastily scribbled notes) was that Irene would be responsible for ensuring that adequate support would be in place for all of the current cohort of students. This would include keeping the workshop the same as it is today, (with the same access both for ceramics students and students from other departments), adequate staff, the same assessment procedure, and also to keep the SSR -staff/student ratio- the same (does this mean that the current first year will have 1/4 full-time tutor, 1/4 part-time tutor, and 1/4 technician???)

The third point, incredibly, underlined that "the decision had gone through correct procedure".

The fourth and final point was about the Future - it is now up to the Ceramics department's staff and students, in dialog with Irene and Archie, to come up with a viable future for Ceramics within the School. (This future cannot, apparently, ever include a specialist undergraduate course).

I do not believe that this decision was taken lightly. The amount of people that have been upset and raised objections, on all levels, cannot have been ignored. I must therefore conclude that there is something bigger here that we have not been told about.

It's a sad day for Ceramics, for Ceramists. We are being told we are obsolete.

It is up to us to show that this is not the case.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Academic Council Meeting - students' response

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!! to everyone who joined us today to show support against the closure of the ceramics degree courses! It was really encouraging that so many turned up, and i think we made our point loud and clear.

Seona Reid told the group of students waiting outside the Boardroom after the meeting, that a decision has been made (surprise, surprise!), but that they want to inform the staff tomorrow morning before they talk to the students.
So, i'll put more information up as soon as i know it.

Also; the issue has been raised in the Scottish Parliament! To see their questions, look here.
The external examiners have written a strong letter asking for answers. There are serious concerns among some of the Governors about the process in which this decision has been made. In short, there are other voices of opposition.

It will not be over yet...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Other things we've been up to...

We did some flyer-ing at the Fashion show tonight, wearing very fashionable and fetching t-shirts ourselves, as you can see! Big THANK YOU to the textiles-students who have been so supportive.

Bill and Jim (from the part-time course) show what is going on...

A little group of us ran the 5km Fun Run, as part of the Meadows Marathon event in Edinburgh on Sunday. We ran around and gave out flyers -

Last Wednesday, there was an event held at the Hilton Glasgow for all of the staff members of GSA, about the future of the school (
We thought this was a good opportunity to raise awareness about the closure of the course - two students went in the morning, but were
refused permission to give out flyers by the director Seona Reid.
She did however invite us to come back after the event, which a larger group did, finding many responsive and supportive members of staff there. It makes the decision even more controversial, when one considers all of the voices of opposition and concern that are being ignored. These are coming from all around.

We continue to be very grateful for the support from other staff, students, and members of the public. THANK YOU!
We'll keep you posted...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Academic Council Meeting - 5th March, 2.45pm

On Wednesday 5th, at 2.45pm, the Academic Council meeting is held in the GSA. This is when the "proposal" (as it is still called, though I have certainly seen no sign what-so-ever that they are willing to look at any other alternatives!) will become an official and public decision.
This requires action!

If anyone feels that the discontinuation of the undergraduate Ceramic degree courses is a bad idea, and that the school should continue to accept students to both the full-time and part-time courses, please do express your concerns in writing as soon as possible to the following people. If you have already done so, A BIG THANK YOU!!! for your support!

The Directorate:
~Director of the Art School, Prof. Seona Reid:
~Deputy Director & Director of Academic Developement, Prof. David Porter:
~Director of Finance & Resources, Eliot Leviten:

The Executive:
The Directorate plus the following:
~Head of Mackintosh School of Architecture, Prof. David Porter:
~Head of School of Design, Prof. Irene McAra-McWilliam:
~Head of School of Fine Art, Prof. Klaus Jung:
~Director of Digital Design Studio, Prof. Paul Anderson:
~Head of Research & Postgraduate, Prof. Naren Barfield:

The Governors:
~Chair of Governors, Nick Kuenssberg: (will find email address asap)
~Deputy Chair, Fred Shedden: (will find email address asap)
A list of who is a member of the Board of Governors can be seen here.

The power and influence of students and the public is greater than we think. It is vital that we make our views known before Wednesday. Like a famous Afghan saying goes:
Qattra, Qattra, daryaa meshawad.
Drop by drop makes a river.

The impact the decision will have on Ceramics in Scotland is hugely detrimental.
It is quite clear that the pressure for this decision is coming from high places; it will have gone through the whole process within 28 days! This great rush can't be without reason. The lack of consultation has been discussed already, but continues to make me feel incredulous and extremely dissappointed. The issues at stake here are bigger than those concerning the Ceramics degree courses. This has revealed the way in which the School is run, and its priorities - students and education, and indeed the fate of a whole discipline, do not seem to be of very high importance!
What is the purpose of an Art School?