Hornsey letter…1968

 Hornsey College of Art

Crouch End Hill

Hornsey N8 

Dear Sirs,

The students of Hornsey College of Art have taken over the control of the College, its buildings and facilities for the purpose of implementing a ‘new’ educational structure. The Hornsey art students are not only demonstrating their dissatisfaction with the existing system, although this is a major implication of our action, nor are we for the benevolence of the educational authorities, but we are actively and democratically participating in the construction of an educational ideal—the right of rational young men and women to have a say in the education they receive and through which their individual and collective needs and aspirations must be met. 

We are demonstrating that it is entirely possible for a body of students to take over and organize, in co-operation with our tutors, a curriculum in which individual needs are no longer subordinated to a predetermined system of training requiring a degree of specialization which precludes the broad development of the student’s artistic and intellectual capacities. We believe that the students has the right to be fully consulted on the form his education will take, that he in turn has an obligation to himself, to his fellow students, and to society, also to participate in a continuing dialogue with those who are paid to assist in his artistic development and expression. We believe in reason and the triumph of logical argument over dictatorship in the field of college education. We reject that ‘authority’ has a priori right to dictate the terms, substance and content of the courses of training we are required to submit to. We aim to prove that the reputation of the college and the quality of the work students produce can only advance further in an atmosphere of democratic co-operation and mutual respect between students themselves, tutors, and the authorities whose duty it is to provide the means for further education. 

The student action committee calls on all colleges of higher education, universities and student bodies to support us in the effort to establish a real and genuine system of education in this country—to enter into dialogue with our educators, to petition the authorities for the active participation of students throughout the country in the sphere of educational advance. Students are not children and the strength of our appeal stems from a wish to be free of the doctrines which up to now have placed those wishing to advance intellectually in an inferior social and economic stratum within society. 

Yours Faithfully 

Association of Members of H.C.A 

(The Association of Members took the place of the former staff and student bodies, uniting both in one new democratic body). 

(D.P.)

As found at: The Hornsey Affair (1969), Penguin, Middlesex, England. Written by students and staff of Hornsey College of Art

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