TOKYO’s Statement regarding Stop Cutting Arts
This is foremost a thank you to the organizers of the Stop Cutting Arts Väre takeover on 31.3. They spent a lot of time creating a space which fostered meaningful conversations between students, faculty and administration.
Thank you for breathing some life into Väre 🙂
TOKYO supports the demonstration organized by the Stop Cutting Arts Collective on 31.3. It should be a given that campus spaces function as the perfect venues for spontaneous and radically creative acts of organization, demonstration, and community building.
Regarding specific points raised by Stop Cutting Arts
Not all the issues outlined in the Stop Cutting Arts agenda apply to every student in ARTS, but it is especially important to listen to those most discontent with the status quo. Not all the demands made by SCA can be solved on a school or even university wide level, but hopefully their action will feed into a broader conversation regarding this trend of cuts to arts education and research.
The return to campus has not been without its issues. Access to spaces: home bases, computer labs, and student elevator access have still not been fully restored. The 12.00–13.15 ventilation break is inconvenient and feels arbitrary. Guidelines for using spaces should be clear and uncontradictory: at the moment information posted on doors, online, and direct communication from staff is contradictory and leads to extra work on all sides.
TOKYO has contacted staff in ARTS INFRA and ACRE about the issues mentioned above several times, receiving promises to fix them.
We can have a technical conversation of how the national funding model incentivizes the development of Finnish university education, but it is equally important to make space for a conversation about values. What does it mean when Aalto leadership says that ARTS is appreciated as much as the other schools? What does it mean when we are told that the university values “art”? These statements need to be backed by action. UWAS in particular was a framework for gathering students across Aalto University and exposing them to a variety of artistic practices. It provided a platform for true cross disciplinary exchange.
The cuts to ARTS are not happening in a vacuum. They are part of a broader trend of cuts to art education nationwide. The national funding model for higher education incentivizes universities to focus on quantity of graduates over quality. In ARTS this drives the school towards providing courses for larger groups of students.
Cuts to ARTS focus on hourly paid teachers and elective art courses. Cutting this diversity of voices and educational content will no doubt have a detrimental effect on the quality of education provided by ARTS.
TOKYO feels this direction will no doubt lead to less competent graduates with a less diverse set of skills.
In communicating the coming portfolio renewal, the school stresses that student representatives and student associations have participated in the renewal process. We feel this is misleading. Student representatives do not feel that they have the resources to adequately participate in the school bureaucracy. Communication between student representatives and the broader student body was restricted during the renewal process. Whether or not this was due to misunderstanding confidentiality policies of different committees is secondary to the issue.
We had some good conversations last Thursday. It was nice to see ARTS leadership present throughout the day. We know how busy everybody is.
Thank you again to the Stop Cutting Arts collective and everybody else who took the time to make space for art, nap in the ball pit, argue about educational policy, get inspired by late sixties architecture students, have lunch in the lobby, eat cake on the stairs, and generally manifest a more art filled future for all.
TOKYO board 2022