Why are we doing this work?

We know that the experiences of our students, and therefore the issues they care most about, are both diverse and multifaceted. Arts students are often at the forefront of the Student Movement on social issues, accessibility and improvements to Learning & Teaching.

During the past 18 months, we have seen as unprecedented number of students realise the power of their voice, both individually and collectively, on issues from Black Lives Matter to Trans Visibility to Covid-19. We want to empower our students to stand up for what they believe in, giving them the tools and support to further their causes, be that within UAL structures, through social media or through activism and peaceful protest.

We also want to make sure that you take your skills and passion outside and beyond UAL, looking to link you with organisations and campaigning events that share your interests.

 

What are our primary goals and objectives for this Academic Year?

  • Implement a new system for Democracy and Representation at Arts SU, based on how you told us you wanted to be represented during our Democracy Review.

  • Give our student body the tools and platform to further the issues that you care most about, through campaigning workshops and signposting to events and campaigns both within UAL and on a wider scale.

  • Focus on building Liberation Networks and offering full events/initiatives/support programmes for our students in underrepresented groups.?

  • Build relationships with partner organisations which offer community organising, training and opportunities to our students.

 

What are we working on?

What is the project: What have we achieved: What is in the pipeline:

Giving students the training, tools and platform to further the issues they care most about, with focusses in both Liberation & Activism.

In Term 1, Our Sabbatical Officer team ran a safe-space crits alongside our Black History Month Exhibition, which one student described as the 'first place she has been able to openly discuss race' at UAL.? In Term 2, we built a full events programme around our LGBTQ+ History Month Exhibition, alongside signposting to both UAL and external events/initiatives as part of Campaigns & Activism Week.

Our Term 3 focus will be on Student Sex Worker Support. Our Advice & Policy Team are producing a toolkit for students, which signposts to support services both internal and external to UAL. We are organising a kick-off event in collaboration with ICA, with a tour of their Decriminalising Futures exhibition.

UCU-UAL Strike Action & Arts SU Response

At our Annual Members Meeting, we held a referendum on whether Arts SU formally supported UCU-UAL Strike Action.??

In Term 1, Syahadah (Campaigns) organised two Q&A events to educate students on the strikes. Arts SU also put together a website hub and social media project to educate students on the strike, and inform them on how they could get involved, if they so wished.

We have continued this work during the Term 2 strikes, with our focus on both supporting students with any difficulties caused by the strikes, and also letting them know how they can get involved if they wish [specifically focussing on Postgraduate Students who teach].

Implementing a new system for Democracy & Representation at Arts SU, ensuring that our systems, priorities and direction are led by our members.

During the 2020/21 Academic Year, we undertook a Democracy Review, where our student members told us how they wanted to be represented. We have just had our election, where we elected 6x Sabbatical Officers and 22x School Reps, into the newly created roles.

We will be implementing the new system from July 2022 when the new Officers assume their roles. The next step will be to recruit 12 x paid community organiser roles, alongside introducing termly student forums and feedback mechanism.
NUS National Student Strike: Teach In / Walk Out

We co-badged NUS’ National Student Walkout, which was a full day of events, campaigning and workshops, attended by Unions & Students from Nationwide.? Syahadah Shahril (Campaigns Officer) ran a session on fostering supportive communities in HE, which over 60 students attended.

Arts SU have built strong connections with NUS, UCU-UAL and other London-based Students Unions, which we will continue to work with over the academic year.?

We will be publishing a follow-up article on the Arts SU website, including producing an online zine.

Working to build relationships and/or signpost to partner organisations, to ensure students feel supported and foster local networks both during and beyond their time at UAL.

During Campaigns & Activism Week, we signposted to events and initiatives by Decolonising Projects, the Africa Centre and Shades of Noir. We have also worked with BHM-UK.Org to and the ICA.  We will be working with the ICA to organise a curator tour of their Decriminalising Futures exhibition, which ties in with our Student Sex Worker Support Advice & Policy project.

Focus on Mental Health & Wellbeing, tying in with national campaigns: Time ?to Talk and University Mental Health ?Day.

We held two Wellbeing Pop-ups, offering free treatments (hand massages, manicures, nail painting) and free hot chocolates to students, to encourage them to take 5 minutes out for themselves – to rave reviews!? We also organised two Materials & Resource Giveaways at CSM, to offset the high cost of living and studying in London.

We received very positive feedback from students and staff alike on our Pop-ups/Giveaways, and UAL have reached out to say they would like to sponsor further events.

 

Want to chat to one of our Officers about how you can get involved in this campaign?

A photo of Syahadah, who is wearing a red top.                        A photo of Armani, who is wearing a white top.

Syahadah Shahril, Campaigns Officer             Armani Sutherland, Activities Officer