Sunday, 17 July 2016

Leading Artists and Academics Oppose Lewisham Council's plans for Libraries

Leading artists, including a Turner Prize winner, and academics who have taught in Lewisham have lent their voices to the growing campaign that opposes Lewisham Council's plans for our libraries. They outline their concerns in a letter to Councillors and Mayor:

To Lewisham Councillors and Mayor Sir Steve Bullock,

As academics, artists and philosophers who have taught in the borough of Lewisham we write to urge you to reverse the £1m cut from the Library Services budget.

From twelve libraries in 2010, Lewisham council will soon reduce staffed library numbers to three.

We wish to add our voices to the residents, parents and teachers campaigning to secure the literacy, education and freedom of opportunity of future generations in the provision of library services.

Public libraries are needed to provide access to a shared, living culture. Without the grounding provided there, free of private interests, the prospects of Lewisham's coming thinkers and creators will be shortened.

If free access to local culture is withdrawn from aspiring individuals and young families and passed into the hands of the few or those who are themselves precariously positioned, it will surely face stagnation as a result.

From the emancipating student movements and music of the 1960s to the art movements of the 90s and beyond, creativity and positive change in Lewisham has had a national and international impact beginning in its community.

Professionally staffed libraries and the support to local education and culture that they provide are a part of maintaining that effect.

We call on the council to reconsider their plans and use the reserves it has to keep Manor House, Catford, Torridon Road and Forest Hill libraries open for all.

We call on private interests bidding for these public spaces to consider the consequences such action will have on the local community.

Signed by,

Simon Bedwell
Reader in Fine Art
Department of Art

Bonnie Camplin
Lecturer In Fine Art/ Art
Department of Art

Dr. Catherine Grant
Lecturer, Critical Studies,
Department of Art

Associate Lecturer,
Department of Visual Cultures

Phillip Lai
Senior Lecturer in Art
Department of Art

Professor Michael Newman
Professor of Art Writing
Department of Art
University of London in Europe

Gail Pickering
Reader in Fine Art
Department of Art

Dr. Elizabeth Price
Associate Professor in Art
Oxford University
Turner Prize-winning artist

Helena Reckitt
Senior Lecturer in Curating
Department of Art
Goldsmiths, University of London

Professor Stella Sanford
Head of Department and Professor of Modern European Philosophy
Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy
Kingston University

Dr. Gilda Williams
MFA Curating,
Goldsmiths College

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