Arts Against Cuts (AAC)

Minutes from open meeting 17/12/2010 6-8:15pm

Held at the Courtauld SU Cafe

The meeting begins with two volunteers are nominated to facilitate the meeting, everyone introduces themselves and the consensus decision making process is then explained.

A quick round up of the actions that took place at the National Gallery and the Nomadic Hive Manifesto. There is a proposal to maintain the momentum with this and organise another public event in a shopping centre or museum.

We then have delegates from various occupations to describe what has been happening on their own sites.

Royal College of Art – The Long Night happened with great success but has since seemed to teeter out.

Slade – The occupation ended last Friday jointly with UCL. They were forced out due to the looming threat of legal fees. They are now looking at developing a project about it.

London Met – The financial block had been occupied but has since been met with a court injunction and has had to leave.

Camberwell – Still in occupation.

Goldsmiths – Were in occupation of the library but a large number of them went to the demo on the 9th Dec. This presented the senior management with the opportunity to reclaim the space, which they took. A second wave of occupiers then reoccupied in response to the SMT ‘s threats to close the library to all students for a period of 60 hrs for a “clean up” (occupiers disputed that this period was necessary ), effectively attempting to punish and divide the student body for the first occupation. The second occupation demanded the library be reopened for use and were successful in their demands.

Points for the agenda were then discussed.

Agenda item 1 – Important Dates

A list of key dates that are available within the public sphere have been printed and circulated. It was decided that this information would be very useful if it was available to all, accordingly it will be posted up onto the collective blog.

Two key dates stick out in the calendar as being of particular importance – 29th January and the 26th of March.

Tomorrow (Friday 19th) there is a talk at Senate House on Marxism and Culture at around 5:30. AAC have been invited to speak.

The book block is a great illustration of how we can act directly, tactically and visually; there is a strong desire for any upcoming events to lean towards this nature.

The Long Weekend was also considered a big success and if it were to be repeated there is a strong will for it to be leaning towards workshops and direct thought.

Agenda item 2 – Public Meeting

This item was to discuss whether we should have a public meeting. It was pointed out that all of our meetings are very open and anyone interested in the arts is more than welcome. There are specific concerns about calling a public meeting per say as there are many organisations that exist such as the Coalition of Resistance that provide these spaces. Whilst there is a strong sense that public outreach is desirable it is also strongly felt that we wish to remain undiluted.

A point is made about speaking to particular trade unions that relate to the cultural sector. [Note: for many public gallery staff the union is PCS and BECTU is one union for theatre related professions. Please add more if ones spring to mind]

Save the Arts is a conservative campaign that represents hierarchies and not the sense of desire amongst many practising artists, students, lecturers and cultural workers.

On the subject of outreach, one person highlighted that some practising artists were interested but yet put off coming to this meeting as they thought it was restricted to students. Would we want them to come? YES

Action – Change the blog to reflect the inclusivity of the collective.

Action – Everyone should create a flyer to be distributed to those working in the cultural sector.

Agenda item 3 – Next AAC Meeting

It is decided that the next meeting will take place on the 4th January at 272 High Holborn. From this we will have weekly meetings at rotating venues.

Agenda item 4 – Another Long Weekend

Two dates are pulled out as being potentially for holding a similar event 8-9th and 15-16th January.

Concerns are raised as to whether students will be back on the 8-9th. However concerns are also raised as to a clash with the Network X day. A suggestion is raised that we have a link up with those involved in the Network X day in Manchester.

The next event should have a space to both think and act, but we must be aware that we face a different situation and a focus on action should be upheld. There is a proposal to call the weekend ‘Direct Weekend’ as the ‘Long Weekend’ doesn’t reflect the atmosphere. Direct thinking and direct acting.

A vote is then called for whether it should take place on the 8-9th or the 15-16th.

Approximately 3 people vote in favour of the 8-9th

A significant majority vote in favour of the 15-16th

[There are some abstentions]

It is also worthy to note that the South London Gallery is having a radical conference on the 16th. There is a strong desire to link these events and Camberwell College of Arts is considered as a possible venue, although it is not possible to confirm this venue currently.

The meeting is closed.

Have a great Winter break.