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Sixteen jobs under threat in proposed art cuts

The cuts are centered around Eldon Building

Vicki Parker The cuts are centered around Eldon Building

A proposal for financial cuts in the School of Art, Design, and Media could leave 16 staff members, as well as the BA (Hons) Fine Art and BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design courses, under threat.

There are also plans to close of the Small Metals and Ceramics workshops at Eldon Building.

University spokeswoman Anne Stanford explained that the course closures are “due to resource constraints and falling recruitment.”

The restructuring is part of the School’s proposal to save £526,000 a year in staff costs, to avoid the department, which is £200,000 short, being £750,000 in deficit next year.

It coincides with the University’s decision in February of this year to cut access and foundation courses from 2012 due to the withdrawal of government funding.

Ten academic staff and six technicians are facing possible redundancy; however, these members of staff will be attending individual meetings in the coming weeks to discuss their situation and to possibly apply for other jobs across the department.

Although this move is proposed with regards to saving money in the department, the fashion department have recently spent around £30,000 on a new digital printer for fabric along with other equipment.

The proposal also includes moving the School of Architecture from its current location at Portland Building to Eldon Building in 2013.

The University is currently in consultation with staff and students regarding this change and the possible closure of the Small Metals and Ceramics workshops.

Stanford explained that “the consolidation of the two workshops into one workshop will facilitate a substantial upgrading of equipment and allow the needs of a broader range of courses in the Faculty to be met.”

UPSU’s VP Education and Democracy Godfrey Atuahené Junior says: “I met with a number of Fine Art students who had concerns over the closure of workshops in the Eldon Building. The students made it clear that the closure of the Small Metals and Ceramics workshops makes them feel that they have been mis-sold their degree.”

As part of the proposal, an undergraduate course in Contemporary Fine Art will be offered in place of the courses being closed in 2012.

Godfrey says “I personally believe the University should not be reshaping or removing any workshop that students use, no matter the number of students that use the workshops.”

“With next year’s students paying £8,500 to come to the University, it is important that facilities are upgraded but should not mean that current students lose out.”

The consultation period for these proposals ends on the 31st of October, when the final decision will be made.

With regards to this proposal, Stanford says: “the needs of our students are very important to the University and it is emphasised that every student will complete the programme of study for which they are currently registered.”

A number of events discussing the proposal will take place in the coming weeks, and students are invited to attend.

Godfrey explains: “In the future I foresee that the Union will be keeping a close eye on the development of facilities across the University, including at Eldon building. The Students’ Union is in full support of the Fine Art and Contemporary Fine Art students.”

“If any students have concerns or issues, they should feel free to come see me in the Union or send me an email.”

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