Motion detail

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Motion title
Defend Social Sciences, humanities and arts-based courses
Meeting date
28 May 2023
Motion text

Conference notes:
1. Two years after the DoE decision to cut 50% of OfS funding to higher education arts subjects in England, HE has faced waves of course closures and redundancies in social sciences, arts and humanities departments, including at the universities of Birkbeck, Goldsmiths, Hertfordshire, Huddersfield, Roehampton, UEA, Wolverhampton, De Montfort, and Dundee.
2. Conference agrees that provision of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts-Based courses in HE including in post-92 institutions is of national importance for UCU. These closures predominantly affect students from marginalised and wider participation backgrounds, removing the opportunity to develop the understanding and skills to engage with societal and political change critically.
3. Three motions were passed to fight these cuts in 2021 (2 at UCU Congress, 1 at HEC) but resolutions have yet to be actioned.
4. The oversubscribed Protect the Arts and Humanities session due to take place at the cancelled Cradle to Grave conference September 2022 has not been rescheduled for another occasion.
Conference believes:
a. Attacks on the arts and humanities directly impact jobs of UCU HE members and are part of the government’s broader defunding and politicised attacks on the arts and humanities.
Conference resolves to:
i. defend the provision of Social Sciences, Humanities, Arts-Based and LGBT+ studies courses in all institutions, including post-92 institutions;
ii. urgently set up an Arts and Culture Campaign Group, including representatives of HE institutions affected and threatened by the cuts, to launch and coordinate a campaign to Defend the Arts and courses including LGBT+ studies that ensure marginalised citizens have the skills and knowledge to critically engage with social and political change that adversely and disproportionately impacts them.
iii. instruct HEC to lobby government and opposition parties to adopt such measures.
iv. support the continued organising of UCU Equality and LGBT+ research conferences with the aim of promoting such studies and enabling those researching in these areas to share and promote their work.

Proposing body
Composite (Royal College of Art, University of Westminster)

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