8 July 2024
Stop the Redundancies in Visual Cultures

Dear Francis Corner, Imran Chughtai, David Oswell, Ernest Caldwell, Adam Dinham, Stephen Graham, Matthew Cragoe, Dinah Caine

We are writing as the first generation of Masters and doctoral graduates of the Department of Visual Cultures to express our shock and dismay that Goldsmiths is proposing to make eight members of staff in this department redundant. These are members of staff who are our treasured colleagues, former PhD supervisors and our peers who have all made major contributions to the constitution a department that has global significance in opening up the most vibrant, innovative and relevant field of visual studies in the last twenty years. As scholars who trained in Visual Cultures and who now hold positions in leading universities and world-renowned contemporary art institutions, we recognise that the intellectual and artistic contexts that we work in have been shaped to a huge extent by the discourses in art theory and practice developed in this department, including geographies, critical ecologies, postcolonial, feminist, decolonial and queer methods. We were witnesses to, and beneficiaries of, the foundation of Visual Cultures as a distinct department under the visionary leadership of Professor Irit Rogoff. This radical agenda, expanded and enhanced by subsequent heads of department, diverged from the traditional protocols and canonical preoccupations of art history in its commitment to criticality, rights-based research, environmental justice and advanced practices.

These redundancies are an act of intellectual and cultural vandalism and a hugely retrograde step. They represent a threat to Goldsmiths’ reputation for scholarly excellence and innovation and will have lasting damage on students, staff, related departments at Goldsmiths and the wider world community of artists, curators and thinkers at a time when we have never been more in need of creative and rigorous interventions in visual cultures. We are particularly concerned for current and future Masters and doctoral students, as the targeting of senior lecturers and professors for redundancies will leave the department bereft of the necessary experience and accumulated knowledge that our colleagues, former PhD supervisors and peers have built up over decades of scholarship, teaching and academic administration.

It is our hope that you will respond by taking all our colleagues and former supervisors out of scope of redundancy so that Visual Cultures can continue its vital work as a truly ground-breaking department that produces exceptional research and new generations of graduates who will go on to produce agenda-setting work.

Yours sincerely

Name, Position/institutional affiliation, year of graduation from Visual CulturesMA/PhD

180 verified
  1. Ros Gray, Reader and Programme Director, MA Art & Ecology, Goldsmiths, University of London, London
  2. Suzana Milevska, PhD in Visual Cultures, 2006, Independent curator, Independent, Skopje
  3. Nicole Archer, Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Design, Montclair State University, New Jersey/New York
  4. Gerard Ortin, PhD student Art Research, Goldsmiths, University of London, London
  5. Dimitra Gkitsa, Lecturer in Curating & Cultural Leadership, University of Southampton
  6. Helena Reckitt, Reader in Curating, Goldsmiths, university of London, London
  7. Elly Clarke, PhD Art Researcher and Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London, London
  8. Celine Condorelli, Artist and Professor, HfG Karlsruhe, London
  9. Jessie McLaughlin, PhD Student, Goldsmiths, London
  10. Adela Železnik, Curator, Moderna galerija, Ljubljana
  11. Rowena Harris, PhD student Art Research, Goldsmiths, University of London, London
  12. Gabo Camnitzer, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts, Providence
  13. Susan Kelly, Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths, Art Department, London
  14. Gareth Longstaff, Senior Lecturer, Newcastle University
  15. Petra Bauer, Professor, Stockholm University of the Artd, Stockholm
  16. marion coutts, Reader, co-programme leader, BA Fine Art and History of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London, London
  17. gretchen geraets, Lecturer, Norwich University of the Arts, Norwich
  18. Alice Andrews, PhD Visual Cultures 2012, Lecturer in Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London
  19. Dr LYNETTE FANTHOME, Lecturer in Critical and Contextual Studies, Staffordshire University, MANCHESTER
  20. Suzanne Sacorafos, Conservator, Freelance, London
140 more
verified signatures
  1. Joe Burrows, Student, MARA, London
  2. Boris Ondreička, curator, freelance, Bratislava
  3. Ifor Duncan, Lecturer in Research Architecture & Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, London
  4. Will Aghoghogbe, MA Student in Contemporary Art Theory, Goldsmiths Dept of Visual Cultures, Warwick
  5. Daphne Vitali, Curator, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST), Athens / Rome
  6. Asli Uludag, PhD student and artist, Goldsmiths, University of London
  7. Gabriella Alberti, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, University of Leeds, Leeds
  8. Valeria Graziano, Lecturer, Justus-Liebig University, Giessen
  9. yathukulan Yogarajah, Lecturer in Anthropology, University College London, London
  10. Aiwen yin, Incoming PhD student, Rotterdam
  11. Weitian Liu, PHD student in Advanced Practices, Goldsmiths, University of London, London
  12. Hang Li, researcher, royal college of art, London
  13. Kika Thorne, Artist, OCAD University, Toronto
  14. Dev Varma, PhD student, Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, London
  15. Sara Haq, Artist, monkey tree projects, London
  16. Edgar Schmitz, Director Art Research MPhil/ PhD programme, Goldsmiths, PhD in Visual Cultures 2009, London
  17. Grant Watson, Curator, Royal College of Art, London
  18. Stephanie Cubbin, Head of Arts, St Marylebone, london
  19. Carmina Masoliver, Student, Goldsmiths, London
  20. Christopher Atkins, Curator, Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City
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