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Our Journal

Supporting Black Lives Matter

Read Plymouth College of Art's statement on our commitment to representation and find resources to take action, educate and more.
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Plymouth College of Art stands in solidarity with the Black community. When faced with brutality, fear and ignorance, we need to search for what we can still hold on to, what we can still believe in.

Our collective community can be proud of the college’s mission — to educate, challenge perspectives and harness creativity as a catalyst for cultural transformation. We recognise that we still have so much more to do as we continue to learn, listen and reflect.

We are in a position of overwhelming privilege and we should look to do good, listen, educate ourselves, hold ourselves accountable, challenge those around us, lead and listen to difficult conversations, argue and sometimes be angry, and most importantly to take our energy offline and into the real world. Ignorance is not an option.

We are serious about making change, and conversations are being had at the most senior level to ensure our response is long-term, meaningful and measurable. This will be a public conversation, not something we wish to resolve quietly behind the scenes. Our college community is a microcosm of the small, majority-white South West peninsula we occupy, and we recognise our duty to amplify black voices and embed representation within our curriculum, staff body, and visiting lecture series, whilst encouraging students to interrogate media sources.

It’s why we have just validated a new BA Film Studies course featuring at least 50% of its content from non-white filmmakers - but this isn’t enough. We are reexamining our curriculum and organisational areas, where issues of representation will be central to the design of this new curriculum. We will commit to conducting a college-wide conversation about representation, from race and culture to gender and sexuality, throughout the next academic year - more details to follow. Our Library will continue with its project on inclusivity and how the library collection represents our student body, including the addition of more books covering Black history and the civil rights movement.

We are all living through a complex moment of change, perhaps heightened by the impact of COVID-19. During this period of reflection, we hope you will join us in taking the opportunity for a cultural reset to reevaluate the way we live and how we interact with one another. George Floyd’s murder in the US; a harrowing example of racism and police brutality — another reset and more reason to confront racial inequality here in the UK.

Academia is not separate to society, society will always intervene. There is a relationship between learning and living and education providers must regularly re-negotiate their terms with the world to be a catalyst and vehicle for change. One of Plymouth College of Art’s propositions has always been ‘how the purpose of learning is inseparable from that of living your life’ — this holds true in moments like these. We all have so much to learn.

A single statement will not dismantle systemic racism, this is just the start. We know we are already late to action.