We believe that the current proposed cuts to university funding threaten the existence of arts and humanities education in England and Wales. It is for this reason that we have made the decision to occupy the Slade School of Art building. We demand that the government provide the same protection for arts and humanities in universities as is provided for the sciences. We vehemently oppose the transformation of the university system into market based model; education should be a public debate, not a private economy.
Therefore we the students of the Slade are offering a space for the assembly of all art colleges in England in order to organise non-violent direct action against what we view as an attack by the government on the arts. This is not a virtual exchange, this is a physical assembly. We are demonstrating the value of physical space for art education through the continuation of our day-to-day activity, as well as by inviting other colleges to participate in open events, lectures and workshops. Our occupation is not designed to be disruptive, nor will it engender any damage to the building. Rather, we want to highlight the value of intellectual and cultural exchange within art courses. This is not a boycott, it is an act of support.
What is happening is an awakening of the so-called apathetic generation. We have been provoked by the failures of the politicians and financial systems that claim to govern us.
What is happening is alternative. We are talking and thinking differently. We are learning quickly. It is an experiment into how we create our education and our politics.
What is happening is not isolated to individuals or occupations.
It is happening in how we connect, how we communicate, and how we build outwards.
It is happening when thousands of school students march on Whitehall, walk out and sit in.
It is happening when trade unionists join students in occupation.
It is happening when students join underground workers on the picket line.
It is happening when thousands of people march on the British embassy in Athens, in international solidarity.
Students are the first; we are able to respond fastest. We are the first wave. We are not the last.
Now we must discuss our ambitions.
– Slade Occupation 4/12/10