Portsmouth students keep up protests over arts cuts

26/10/2011 (AN)''A protest took place outside the Eldon Building in Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth on Wednesday 26th October 2011 against cuts being made to school of art. ''Pictured is: Students and lecturers protesting outside the Eldon Building.''Picture: Sarah Standing (113819-4412)
26/10/2011 (AN)''A protest took place outside the Eldon Building in Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth on Wednesday 26th October 2011 against cuts being made to school of art. ''Pictured is: Students and lecturers protesting outside the Eldon Building.''Picture: Sarah Standing (113819-4412)
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STUDENTS have threatened to occupy part of the University of Portsmouth as a row over cuts to the art department continue.

About 30 students gathered outside the university’s Eldon Building – where the small metals, glass and ceramics workshops face closure – and handed out leaflets yesterday.

The university has proposed closing the traditional art workshops and making 16 academic and technical staff redundant at the school of art, media and design.

This follows the axing of fine art and three-dimensional art courses and the launch of a new contemporary fine arts course which focuses on the use of digital media.

A decision on the cuts was due to be made on Monday but that has now been postponed.

Former student Claire Heath, 22, said: ‘Every Wednesday we will protest until a decision is made.

‘We will have a mass demo and we could occupy somewhere until our serious demands are met. This is something we care passionately about.’

Students from other departments are also backing the protest.

Dominic Smith, 20, a photography student, said: ‘In a meeting in the last academic year they agreed to up fees to £8,500 a year and decided to up salaries for top management but now lecturers are losing their jobs.

‘I don’t see how the cuts are necessary.’

Becky Gardner, 20, who studies childhood and youth studies, added: ‘The university doesn’t have any debt, they have lots of equity but are still cutting the arts.

‘We will be here every week because there is a huge attack on education and art is being pushed out of education.’

Dipak Canabar, 21, a psychology student, said: ‘It’s just a matter of time until other departments are targeted.’

The protesters will hold an event at The Registry pub, St Michael’s Road, Portsmouth, on November 19 at 7.30pm where there will be speeches about the cuts and live music.

And on November 30 there will be a student march from the Students’ Union to Guildhall Square at 11am.