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Wednesday 21 April 2021

A pair of Kingston University arts students have sent handmade protest letters to the Universities minister, over the closure of facilities during lockdown

Ruby Betts and Ellis Tree were able to unite students across the country to contribute to the project.

The pair say their degree is impossible without frequent access to workspaces, and that they should get fee refunds now their teaching will move online.

Kingston University says they recognise the challenges, but praised the “innovation and diverse approaches” students have displayed through the pandemic.

Facilities opened in March for booking and one-to-one use with a technician.

We’ve contacted the Department for Education for comment.

Ruby describes their response from the office of Michelle Donelan.

A Kingston University spokesperson said:

“As changing government restrictions have been introduced throughout the course of the pandemic, we have remained committed to engaging with our students, ensuring they continue to receive a high quality education while keeping our campus community as safe as possible.

“We have been particularly mindful that the pandemic, coupled with the public health constraints the University has had to work within to minimise the spread of Covid-19, have made this period a more challenging one for students completing practical courses, including those at Kingston School of Art who place considerable importance on access to workshops, studios and rehearsal space.

“Throughout the pandemic, lecturers and the senior leadership team at Kingston School of Art have been working closely with individual students, course representatives and organisers of the What’s Happening KSA campaign group to address their questions and reassure them about measures being taken to ensure they are fully supported to progress through their studies. We take all our students’ feedback and suggestions extremely seriously and are committed to enabling our students’ voices to be heard.

“While the lockdown imposed at the start of 2021 resulted in another temporary return to online learning for our students, we are grateful the government recognised the importance of art, design and performance students having access to vital campus facilities. This meant we were able to welcome our Kingston School of Art students back to campus again at the start of March – far earlier than many other students in England.

“We are incredibly proud of the innovation and diverse approaches our talented cohort of students have displayed as they have dealt with the unprecedented challenges the pandemic has posed. Successes, such as fashion student Lucy Saunders, who completed her studies last summer, scooping the global MTV Music Meets Fashion Challenge earlier this year, show the tremendous resilience and creativity for which our Kingston School of Art students are known the world over. Arrangements are now being finalised for more of our students to exhibit their work at virtual end of year shows in the summer.

“The University is also continuing to work hard to ensure sure the government recognises the importance and value of art and design education. Our Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Spier is one of the leading figures in a national campaign launched recently to highlight the importance of the creative industries and the vital role they will play in the recovery of the national economy.”
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 8:32 am  

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