A: Gilda Haas (Urban Planning Dept. UCLA and editor of Dr. Pop) – I started this program called Community Scholars in 1991, which has since been led by others. This year and last, what I’m teaching at UCLA has had at its core the idea of sharing resources. A primary goal is to turn university resources out towards the community, by making a space for community and labor leaders, and as of lately also artists, to work with our graduate students on an applied research project for six months, and then, reciprocally, for us all to benefit from their knowledge and experience. For almost 20 years, the program has been a collaborative effort between the urban planning department and the UCLA Labor Center. It has rarely had line funding. It has succeeded thus far due to a strong commitment to the idea and a sense of accountability to a constituency. In the world of the work that I do, which is community development, popular education, and organizing for social change, there are always budget cuts. There are always anti-union efforts to defund the labor center. Our collaboration is necessary for survival, but more importantly, it is necessary for inspiration, creativity, breaking through silos, and expanding our networks.
Fred Lonidier studied at Yuba College and San Francisco State (graduate work in sociology and photography) before becoming a member of the UCSD graduate program. He joined the faculty in 1972. Lonidier’s work deals with the sociological possibilities of photography applied to social change and has been exhibited at the Houston Center for Photography, the Oakland Museum, the Long Beach Museum, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Focus Gallery, the Kitchen, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City, the Los Angeles Institute for Contemporary Art, the Whitney in New York, and the Friends of Photography in Carmel. He has also had exhibits in a number of union halls such as the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, ACTWU, SEIU, CWA, and Gallery 1199 of the NYC Hospital Workers Union. In 1983 he placed a large photo/text installation in the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council. He has been the guiding energy behind Labor Link TV which cablecasts on three channels in San Diego County.
How do you think that conflicts around labor and economics in the university uniquely effect the arts?
Well, every art department, gallery, performance space, etc. face cuts. I am not in the loop for everything one would consider the arts in the U.C. System, but at UCSD we will not really have an art gallery any more and spaces we have been in line for in Mandeville Center when music moved out and into a new building are being held up because renovation funds are limited. There are two HUGE recital spaces empty and unused starting last year due to funding shorts.
UCSD is a science campus with medical and engineering schools and there are privately funded institutes all over the place, so it is just obvious to the eye when driving in and walking around where the power and wealth are. One measure will show up later as, after a hiring freeze for two years, a few replacement and new FTA (Full Time Employee) are coming. The arts and humanities will, of course, apply but we will not know until later the allocations across the campus nor the system.