By Will Luckett
Looming final deadlines weren’t enough to keep a coalition of Falmouth University art students from descending on the Moor to voice their outrage towards the management of the arts department and the cutting of key courses.
The protesters disagreed with the style of management that they believe the university has taken when handling resources across different courses. They also disagree with the cutting of courses such as foundation art and contemporary crafts, both of which will be discontinued after the current academic year.
“They’re trying to sell off our education, every step of the way”
Third year Falmouth fine art student Tom Austin, previously a foundation art student, organised the protest. He explained to Truthfal the reasons for the demonstration: “The closure of the foundation course was carried out with no communication or dialogue from the University prior to the decision being announced. We have a significantly reduced amount of teaching hours per week. On top of this a lot of courses have lost studio space this year, and it’s effecting how the students are able to produce their work.”
He went on to describe how poorly he felt the University had treated both students and staff: “They have utter contempt for us, they don’t care about us. They’re trying to sell off our education, every step of the way.”
Third year illustration student Emily Seffar believes that the financial convergence plan that the university has proposed “won’t benefit the school of art at all.”
“When you’re converging an art course with an English course, it means the art course is going to lose out on space, facilities, and tutor time. Financial convergence won’t benefit the school of art at all and this worries us.”
Emily added: “We don’t understand why this university, that’s claiming to be the number one arts university in the country, isn’t investing in creative courses, and instead is cutting them. That doesn’t add up.”
Robert Hillier, Head of Falmouth University Communications, said: “There are more students studying art and design courses at Falmouth University than any time in our 115 year history. This is supported by record-breaking levels of investment in teaching, facilities and specialist equipment. To suggest that Falmouth is not committed to art courses simply does not fit with the facts.”
“With students now paying £9,000 a year in tuition fees, we don¹t believe that some courses should be subsidised with money from other courses – this is what working towards convergence means.”
“There are more than 5,000 students studying at Falmouth University and they are our greatest asset. Every decision is designed to ensure the best possible experience for the whole student body. Many of the 30 or so students who protested today met with the Vice-Chancellor last week and they are welcome to continue this dialogue.”
As a 50+ something artist I feel I must support the students. It is always a concern when ‘bean counters’ & ‘pen pushers’ dictate terms over those with actual imagination, vision & creativity.
Axing an Arts foundation course is perplexing & puzzling to me to say the least.