From: Daniel Tucker (UCIRA)
In the spring of 2010 I traveled from north to south, visiting campuses across the University of California’s vast system of land, infrastructure, information and people. I interviewed over 50 people (mostly faculty, with some student and staff voices in the mix). My travel coincided with the upsurge in campus organizing which had taken place since the summer and fall of 2009 responding to budget cuts, fee hikes resulting in increased student debt, and general trends in the transformation and privatization of one of the largest public higher education systems in world.
Specifically, I was speaking to people working in the arts, who are employed to teach or facilitate study of visual arts, design, literature, creative writing, architecture, dance, music, theater, and new media. This sector of the university, along with the humanities, has been put in the most precarious of positions. The President of the UC system described the situation best:
“Many of our, if I can put it this way, businesses are in good shape. We’re doing very well there. Our hospitals are full, our medical business, our medical research, the patient care. So, we have this core problem: Who is going to pay the salary of the English department? We have to have it. Who’s going to pay it in sociology, in the humanities? And that’s where we’re running into trouble.” Mark G. Yudof, President, University of California
We decided that for the first six months this site and would be dedicated to the most urgent challenge at hand – the arts and their connection to the fiscal crisis across the system. We will start by highlighting some reflections on creative activism taken by students and faculty this last spring which attempted to instigate more dialogue about the direction the UC administration has taken public education. Over time we will introduce other themes such as pedagogy, the future of graduate programs in the arts, coordinating cross-campus tours and activities, and inter-generational dynamics within arts departments. For now, please consider writing up a report on your actions, teaching and ideas about events of the last year; or write up ideas you have for the future of the arts in the UC System and we will post them here. Send proposals to email@example.com