Art schools join UK lecturers' strike

Joining the country-wide movement of striking lecturers, faculty members of some of the UK’s most famous art schools - including the Courtauld Institute of Art, Goldsmiths College, Glasgow School of Art, the University of the Arts London and Slade School of Fine Art - are taking place in walk-outs overseen by the University and College Union (UCU), due to continue until December 4.


The strikes follow increasing unrest surrounding changes to pensions, decreasing pay, casualisation and unreasonable workloads. The Slade School of Fine Art expressed particular concern regarding insecure contract arrangements for staff, often being offered through agencies, making various faculty members essentially self-employed with all the isolation and uncertainty that accompanies it. Staff at the Courtauld Institute, meanwhile, have voiced distress over “Courtauld Connects”, the school’s current £50 million renovation project, in light of which “the current inequalities in pay, especially for teachers on precarious contracts, are particularly difficult to endure“, striking staff members told The Art Newspaper


Sean Wallis, representative for the Slade School of Fine Art, commenting on the determination of the strikers, concluded, “the strike can be resolved because many of these issues are fixable: even without a significant injection of cash one can offer proper contracts of employment”.


In addition to the walk-outs, union members will work strictly to contract, refusing to reschedule lectures missed for the strikes or to cover for absent colleagues in what the UCU has called “action short of a strike”.