• Covid-19
  • As the initial shock of Covid-19 wears off, we're looking at a design field fundamentally changed for months, maybe years. The Studio, once the romantically charged centre of cultural production, has devolved into bedrooms, sheds, and living room corners around the world. The Crit, usually a carefully constructed group performance/social experiment is splintered into countless video calls, email chains, and shared drives. Exhibitions are cancelled. Exams will be livestreamed.

    How we are going to navigate this crisis, how anyone is going to make work in this time, and which changes will remain when the crisis passes, are open questions at this point.

    1. Environment Transformern by Haus Rucker Co

    2. only 80% of their salary, the portion provided by the government.

    3. "In the UK, the Treasury is  attempting to stop museums and art galleries from paying their portion of the salaries  of staff who have been furloughed under the government’s  Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.  The recently announced scheme allows employers to furlough workers and submit a claim for 80% of their wages from the government, thus remaining responsible for only 20%. According to the Guardian, the Treasury has told culture officials that heritage museum staff should not pay the 20% portion of staff salaries, meaning furloughed employees at institutions such as the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum could receive"

    4. https://hyperallergic.com/546913/coronavirus-daily-report/

    5. protest in Israel with 2m distance

      Screen Shot 2020-04-25 at 6.29.49 PM.png
    6. wasn't this glaringly obvious even before COVID-19? Pretty unbelievable article...

    7. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/23/world/europe/coronavirus-american-exceptionalism.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&fbclid=IwAR01-6A6oNaJfOl5i1KqM8gHm6fob5v-HISG56jdg9cxWlfK2MHLH_FY4qs&fbclid=IwAR0bBXAU_QCknkfgAxDyrBHvPJTLifzyJ6_773NWwXMcsUd2E4YWZN2dr-E

    8. indeed; sounds familiar over here

    9. This story in the Sunday Times today is pretty devastating: https://archive.is/20200418182037/https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/coronavirus-38-days-when-britain-sleepwalked-into-disaster-hq3b9tlgh

    10. Meanwhile these people are still pouring #millions of our #money into building projects

    11. Yeah I would imagine screenshotting might be an issue, but that exists in real life drawing too. Some of these video platforms may have terms against nudity? Like you couldn't do it on Youtube or Twitch

    12. I was thinking along the lines of privacy / protection etc

    13. Basically what to ensure you are going to protect that person when they are in your care applies to children at school mostly but also to this

    14. Safeguarding

    15. Hahahaha not health and safety

    16. I guess there are now more accidents at home... who covers an incident while you have an accident during "home office work hours" or during class?

    17. I guess they could fall over an easel? Or decide to become a painter

    18. Is that a thing that happens

    19. I think the life drawing classes here are paused

    20. aah dang; I was thinking if someone has an accident while attending a life drawing class

    21. People taking screenshots surely? I wonder if cam people have solutions for this

    22. good question; hopefully the person doesn't live alone...

    23. Here’s something: what possible safeguarding issues (if any) could emerge when hosting a life drawing class over zoom?

    24. only in late capitalism

    25. According to the local Yale graduate union, the university has purchased 32,137 shares of Zoom for $2,187,000 in Q4 2019...

    26. 5e92088d73d0c85100183356.jpeg
    27. Screenshot 2020-04-06 at 21.53.09.png
    28. In terms of finance; would it be reasonable to ask for some sort of partial refund / discount for next term to reflect the change in delivery? If not how can these online courses be designed in order to cater for everyone? Not just those that find it easy to respond in “real-time”?

    29. I’m not sure I agree with you fully here Max. Some of us are genuinely invested in trying to change the education system in this country and these conversations have been happening between staff and students over the duration of the course, not just in the wake of Covid 19. This change isn’t going to happen overnight and it will require a lot of action at grassroots level before anything is implemented in parliament. However; I think it will be interesting to see how the institutions respond to the sudden switch to socialism.

    30. yeah what's going on here really... any thoughts : https://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/12388/art-director-zak-kyes-why-we-must-not-cancel-culture

    31. We organized a zoom rave this Friday; anyone is welcome to join! I know it will be like 3am for you but maybe you are still up

    32. ok great; hope that works out for you

    33. They said that delaying the show (whatever form that show takes) is being put forward as an option

    34. the last point seems like a productive thought.. did they say anything about postponing the show for later in the summer or fall as a possibility?

    35. Me, and just came out of a meeting about our degree show, I'll put some notes here for posterity. There wasn't really anyone senior enough in the meeting to give any clear answers on what the college is thinking of doing, but the way I read it they may have backed away slightly from the idea of a Virtual Show – surely a result of the petition, devastating media coverage and threats to boycott from a significant number of students. There was talk of having student consultations until the end of the month to find out what this online thing should be, and also an acknowledgement that any online platform you could build in a couple of months would have to be quite simple (quite a contrast to their original messaging). This would be in line with what we're hearing from CSM, where they're talking about using Adobe Portfolio. There was also the idea to not frame it as a "show" at all, perhaps to reduce pressure to produce high-finish work for it and to assure people that participating wouldn't hurt their push for a physical show down the line. We stressed to them that there's solidarity between programs, and if we hear that they're cooperating with our colleagues on painting and sculpture, Viscom would be more willing to do so, too. One idea that was brought up to this end was to devolve the budget that is normally spent on a physical show (which we think runs to hundreds of thousands of pounds) to individual programs to spend as they see fit: Maybe have a book printed now, or maybe sit on it to do a group show down the line, maybe pay it out to students. This would be separate from the ongoing pushes for financial support to complete the course, and tuition refunds.

    36. I just feel like I'm being handed a degree for less work now, if that makes sense? And no one knows how we need to proceed to get that higher class award, staff and students.

    37. the point they make here is: we still give your credits (ECTS) and you can still graduate – seems like that's what we are paying for?

    38. True; I am personally a bit annoyed about the attitude of "Hey Yale, give us money", because this situation is not their fault... its a tricky one. I mean somehow institutions need to acknowledge that the education they can provide through zoom is not as nearly as satisfying as in real life

    39. I've also noticed a difference in how students and tutors are reacting to this – tutors are talking much more about how this is an opportunity to question teaching models, slow down, make different work etc. I'm sure some of that is trying to keep up morale, but maybe it's also because they came up when tuition was free and so didn't experience that pressure.

    40. It's quite a good response to the White Pube piece, I think. Particularly this paragraph:

      For the students, who take on massive financial and emotional burdens to complete postgraduate degrees, who internalize the strains of the institution and hold themselves accountable for making their sacrifices “worth it”, their attitude is not an isolated thing. It’s the social and economic conditions that put them in that headspace which ought to be questioned.

      I think if it wasn't for all the financial investment (hate to even use that phrasing) people have made, the conversation around this wouldn't be nearly as bitter. There's such a pressure to get "your money's worth" (even in normal times) that it makes any kind of radical thinking really difficult.

    41. I hadn't seen that, thanks for sharing!

    42. you probably read this already: https://elephant.art/how-coronavirus-ate-the-art-school-royal-college-art-rca-degree-show-education-01042020/

    43. All day everyday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0ikW7pVa_I

    44. All day every day:

    45. all day every day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0ikW7pVa_I

    46. students in the school of art around 200 Dean, head of departments and administration (faculty) of School of Art: maybe around 12 people?

    47. Thanks for sharing this Julia, your demands sound very reasonable. We are currently awaiting the results of our survey which one of us will share when they come through. out of interest how many students are in the faculty?

    48. Updated-statement-033120.pdf
    49. Emergency Stipend Survey Summary.pdf
    50. This is what we have sent out to our faculty today...

    51. Thanks for the kind words Julia! That essay has been a part of my life for a long time – probably part of the reason I went into postgrad.

    52. Great essay Max!! Reminded me a bit of Trevor Paglens essay: https://thenewinquiry.com/invisible-images-your-pictures-are-looking-at-you/

    53. Enjoyed this from xkcd

    54. thanks!

    55. Oh thank you emma! Yes please do

    56. That’s incredible - are we allowed to share ?

    57. Bloody hell

    58. My essay on Zoom is out today: http://content-free.net/articles/zoom-zoom-zoom

    59. https://creative-capital.org/

    60. https://8ballcommunity.club/

    61. https://xenographika.edublogs.org/2020/03/26/report-on-the-state-of-grey-affairs-23-03-2020/

    62. a classic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M57XBRFbWfk

    63. I know. I feel like the empty place is gonna be a whole new art genre

    64. looks so peaceful without people

    65. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/travel/coronavirus-empty-planes.html

    66. Thanks Julia

    67. sounds really good thanks!!

    68. Just got this Zoom invite; if that would be of interest to some of you: Dear friends,   In this moment of extreme uncertainty and increasing isolation, I’ve been prototyping some tools for spending time together. Please join me for this Sunday, March 29 for Present! v.1.0.0 —a combination of a virtual lecture, talk show, and Sunday sermon, with a dose of group karaoke thrown in ! Using my forthcoming P!DF , v.6.0.0 as a score, it will focus on the idea of ‘bumpiness’ as a form of productive friction and feature a number of special guests.    Feel free to drop by and pass along to other friends who might be interested. Details below:   Present! v.1.0.0 by Prem Krishnamurthy Special guests: Baseera Khan, Karel Martens, Konrad Renner, Jason Dodge, Marlene McCarty, The Rodina, Wong Kit Yi, WORKac, and others Co-Hosts: @Wkshps + @____homecooking____ + @_o_r_g   Sunday, 29 March 2020, 10:00–12:00 EDT (NYC) Zoom meeting*: https://zoom.us/j/907884594 Add to Google calendar

    69. thank you! I will def. get back to you about that!

    70. I can try to give advice etc

    71. if you need any help feel free to DM me! I had to get my own insurance after my BA

    72. After graduating I have to get some other insurance; no idea whats out there

    73. yes... Yale has its own hospital and healthcare system here

    74. who is your provider?

    75. keep pushing for healthcare though !! they owe it to their students to provide them w resources during this

    76. thanks for sharing!

    77. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/how-will-coronavirus-end/608719/?fbclid=IwAR3v5FUa-bt-3vmuYcjM-LzrsE5LTWmMkRdzukhPOhkbBZkGGOB6cLuy7N4

    78. take care of yourself!!!

    79. makes me sad about US

    80. i just read the atlantic article this morning

    81. things don't look good over here... better stay in "Europe"

    82. Same! yeah I think some are behind that... which would be awesome IF they would do that

    83. i do not miss the american healthcare system

    84. That’s something I didn’t even think about!

    85. thats pure insanity if they take it away!!!!!!!!!

    86. You get health inscurance through your university?

    87. they better keep you insured

    88. whoa

    89. We are asking that our health insurance over Yale gets extended after May.. will see what they say

    90. Here some pearls: "....perhaps there will be some surprise silver linings...." "Thank you for providing such a clearly composed letter that expresses your concerns to what we may only refer to as, in the words of Alain Badiou, an “event” subjecting our studio-based education to unprecedented change. I acknowledge the impact the decision to move to a remote education at this part in the semester poses to your intended hopes and aspirations in terms of projects and practice." "Inevitability, we all need to be prepared to stretch our imaginations, stay resilient, make sacrifices and continue to create and generate positivity. I will do the same."

    91. yes true! "Most importantly we have to remember that we are designers"

    92. the pen and paper quote!! We could collect all these "be creative" quotes (could be a fun channel for the website^^)

    93. ha! here in all its glory

    94. oh the famous pen and paper email

    95. Might be of slight interest!

    96. I’m sure they are too

    97. I'm sure all these institutions are talking to each other rn

    98. https://www.kqed.org/arts/13877073/art-students-demand-tuition-refunds-as-classes-go-online

    99. set the channel topic: Everything posted here is public at
    100. I'm currently trying to trawl through our academic contract to see where the college has been failing us (fingers crossed) and eventually intend to write an email to our vice chancellor

    101. Hi! I'm from Camberwell College

    102. has joined the channel
    103. Or similar

    104. It seems like we’re all dogged by the same ideology

    105. I think creating something in solidarity with students from other schools would send such a powerful message.

    106. Ha! Kat, I think so yes!

    107. which will obviously change after graduation

    108. I think all of us are still here in New Haven; some are with their partners or families in NY but we are pretty much condensed still

    109. ah funny

    110. so seemingly similar to yales idea

    111. and the map was the website

    112. didn’t your CF group propose making a map of the work being shown in different places ?

    113. Accommodating

    114. But this combination of online and expanded physical space sounds good

    115. In one space

    116. If not everyone from the course is present

    117. The idea of having a physical show seems impossible

    118. A lot of international students here have left

    119. Would the works be spread out around the world?

    120. Treasure map

    121. Yeah that sounds great

    122. That's a cool idea

    123. oo I remember when geocaching was big

    124. but we are trying... the idea is to have some sort of geocaching exhibition where work is shown "in the wild" and documented over a website (the documentation as well as the location on a map).

    125. so know we are thinking about doing a slightly different version for online ... not sure yet; its hard to find consensus over zoom meetings with all the 15 of us

    126. Yale supports us in having the exhibition postponed for sometime later

    127. How have you decided to respond?

    128. What are you thinking of doing over there Julia?

    129. yeah def. makes sense to have a website outside of the institution

    130. A memorial

    131. Less is more in this case I think

    132. In a way it would be much less than what the institutions are proposing to build. No images of work or anything – maybe just a list of names and a statement?

    133. Mind is racing

    134. What would this even look like ?

    135. This is it. Now we need to recruit

    136. Okay so here's an idea: It's become pretty clear I think that people at the London art schools aren't very excited to participate in their institutions "online shows". The nature of many people's work makes it impossible to show online in any kind of satisfactory way (sculpture, painting, but also animation). It's also unclear how we would curate such a show, who would be hired to develop it, or how people would create work for it given the absence of recources. So the idea is this: We boycott our institution's online shows (even if we could theoretically adapt our work), and instead build an alternative online thing that doesn't try to replace a traditional show, doesn't have any goddamn institutional branding on it, but still commemorates the moment of us graduating into this historic crisis.

    137. Outrageous

    138. Meanwhile

    139. Hi Emma

    140. Welcome Emma! From which school are you? just so I get some context

    141. Hey everyone, I invited from ual to join us — Apparently their admin dept is squeezing them in similar ways.

    142. Exactly

    143. When it's just individual course reps the college admin can divide and conquer

    144. Yeah true, they're really the ones to organise this effort

    145. UCU came out with a letter pretty quickly: https://mailchi.mp/92ac6202192c/rca-ucu-march-2020-form-letter-4357459?e=75966a891a

    146. Yes

    147. The students union?

    148. Unless I’m missing something

    149. The union has been quiet

    150. Agreed

    151. yes agreed

    152. They keep on with the rhetoric that they have to follow government guidelines

    153. It doesn't seem like smart strategy on part of the college either – all they're doing is provoking legal action and making sure none of us will ever donate or otherwise support them

    154. that’s why they’re pretending to be “sorry”

    155. rca knows everyone is unsatisfied

    156. i don’t think there’s much else we can do besides legal action

    157. I think the reps need to pile on more pressure

    158. When actually the decision has already been made

    159. there’s never been any change implemented or any real leadership

    160. We make the decision but make you think we are listening

    161. that’s their mode of operation

    162. well yeah

    163. I think it’s been happening for a while

    164. This is what I’ve been saying all day

    165. it’s all to save face

    166. yes

    167. It seems like these meetings with reps are more them relaying decisions they've already made behind closed doors than actually negotiating

    168. as if we’re a bunch of idiots

    169. and just wrote the same thing into a poorly worded email

    170. Right

    171. they quite literally ignored everything we said to them

    172. because they are not new options, they have been published on the intranet for nearly a week... they’ve just been formatted into an email. this is especially annoying considered we’ve had 3+ calls to discuss the considerations of the letter which was written to challenge the options offered anyways. they said they would take into account the considerations but they didn’t... at all. the options provide no further details, guidance, or information about ANY of the points raised in the letter or in the 3 calls

    173. Wanna elaborate?

    174. it’s a load of absolute shit

    175. What's everyone's take on the RCA options that came out yesterday?

    176. "Online design education is obviously not the design education the discipline needs—it’s a temporary state, but one that should promote open source, sharing of documents and collaboration as much as possible. There is little doubt that universities will capitalise on this situation and see the financial benefits of this mode of education in the future—an excuse to roll it out in bigger scale. [...] It’s possible to think about a design education that has much less flying, less shows, less competitions, less mandatory output, more commoning, more caring. A design education that isn’t designed by the market that obliges to return things to its suggested unavoidable form."

    177. Agreeing with this tweet thread: https://twitter.com/modescriticism/status/1242782490449903616

    178. The Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Leckey, who has signed the petition, described the move on Instagram as a “shitty knee-jerk idea”, while the artist and RCA alumnus Tim Stone says it is “an utter disgrace”

    179. https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/royal-college-of-art-students-criticise-transfer-of-courses-online-as-universities-shut-down-due-to-coronavirus

    180. Print are also coming out with some good ones

    181. lmao

    182. Screenshot_20200325-101451.png
    183. you will like this one:

    184. hahahaha

    185. have to give it to sculpture, their memes are quality

    186. thanks for the recs !!!!!!!!

    187. That sounds reasonable ...

    188. I think CSM

    189. Correct

    190. This is an email to UAL students, correct?

    191. But it’s a start

    192. People are still going to loose out here

    193. Image from iOS
    194. image.png
    195. http://www.c-cyte.com/OccuLibrary/Texts-Online/Art_Power_Boris_Groys.pdf

    196. Image from iOS
    197. Oh yeah Groys!

    198. just read this the other day...

      Boris Groys_Art on the Internet.pdf
    199. The dark object by Katrina Palmer

    200. Together by Richard Sennet

    201. does anyone have any reading recs? dunno about you all but i’m finding it super hard to try and produce work right i feel useless

    202. Other than having the RCAs name attached to it

    203. I think they should allow people to use whatever platform they're comfortable with, including written submissions

    204. My question would be: what would set an online exhibition in the format they are likely to use apart from instagram?

    205. ah okay I see; similar here but we will have final presentations over zoom haha

    206. They've been moved online, but we're starting to say (and some of our tutors agree) that they should just give everyone a pass

    207. You mean exams?

    208. what about final presentations?

    209. Can't wait

    210. curious how RCA will respond to that after all this

    211. wow thats crazy you even have to even fight for having a proper exhibition....

    212. ho didn't know Leckey had signed the petition

    213. oh great; already a reaction!

    214. Yes!

    215. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/education/2020/mar/24/students-criticise-royal-college-of-arts-plan-to-hold-degree-show-online

    216. I think there should be options

    217. y’all guardian just did write up

    218. that seems reasonable tbh

    219. yeah.. we came to the consensus that either we do something unrelated to the show as a reaction of the current state of the world or we leave it with the exhibition and postpone the real show

    220. Yeah I think there's agreement that an online show wouldn't be a 1:1 replacement

    221. Kinda hard to gauge I think, there's defnitely a large number of people who'd rather postpone their degree and the show — but maybe we should look at those things separately

    222. i think the general mood is that online show isn’t a reasonable option

    223. yes and the overall mood

    224. Me personally?

    225. So you were thinking about an online show or you all would rather postpone?

    226. sounds cool

    227. probably yes; we are trying to figure that out now

    228. Ah so this invitation will come out when the show would normally happen?

    229. but we were so happy about our actual concept for a physical show so to put everything just online seemed half baked

    230. Yeah they're not the best at communication, that's been a problem for a while

    231. not ideal for sure

    232. we are thinking of having some sort of speculative invitation for a future show. Yale said they try for us to have a show in summer instead or in a gallery in NY.. but not all of us will be able to help so it's also not that fair for everyone...

    233. wow ok

    234. What are you thinking of doing instead? Physical show at a later date?

    235. Yeah they didn't really consult with anyone here before announcing it, hence the anger

    236. we are having the same discussion here but we refused to do an online show

    237. https://www.dezeen.com/2020/03/24/virtual-degree-show-rca-students-coronavirus/

    238. Yeah I agree

    239. good chat this morning though

    240. feel like we were finally listened to for once

    241. lol you bet they will

    242. I imagine!

    243. well the official line seems to be business as usual and everyone graduates on time, but I think if they stick to that people will burn the place down

    244. ... at least our effort made it to Artforum already : https://www.artforum.com/news/as-curricula-moves-online-yale-art-students-demand-tuition-refund-82531

    245. that's such a bummer... So how is RCA now trying to bridge the gap between unhappy students and finishing classes?

    246. https://anygoodthing.com/2020/03/12/please-do-a-bad-job-of-putting-your-courses-online/

    247. yeah i doubt they'll give out refunds voluntarily here – they're bad at paying people in general, even if you work for them

    248. That was the Yale School of Art response. (Ad Hoc.... is that the education we signed up for?)

      Ad Hoc Educational Policy for Yale School of Art.pdf
    249. we also thought that its a tactic from the university to deny us a refund but since we learned that there will be no reimbursement some of us will def. boycott.

    250. same here. We have a deaf student and he has problems singing in ASL over zoom..

    251. Apparently student support here has had no time to prepare any help for those cases

    252. made a good point yesterday that this transition to zoom fucks over people with different learning styles and people who rely on assistive technology

    253. Yes, people are talking about a zoom boycott here also - the fear is that by attending you're gicing the college grounds to deny you a refund

    254. Same; we have a whole zoom boycott movement going on but I think for some things we have to just adapt

    255. From what I understand that's the idea at the moment (possibly with adjusted assessment criteria), but a good number of people are calling for deferrals

    256. yeah it's gonna be rough for a while

    257. How has your faculty handled the situation so far? Will you still be graduating in June?

    258. yes some of us are also in touch with alumni and the school of law to see what we can do since yale was very clear that there will be no reimbursement

    259. we had here three weeks of just covid19 conversations and a million zoom meetings so my brain is roasted. My only fear and I bet you are all feeling this too, is the job situation after (online) graduation... no one will hire until probably late summer

    260. They also lost a lot of goodwill during the strike which is coming to haunt them now -- people are already thinking about taking legal action

    261. Yeah they were a shitty organisation before this all hit, so it's no real surprise to me that they're bungling this

    262. I'm sorry to hear but not surprised since living in the UK I experienced similar things from the side of the university (and it was not a hell pandemic going on!)

    263. Bit late on everything, and the rca hasn't been nearly as responsive

    264. from over here it seems like the UK was a bit late with the closure of universities?

    265. We are almost in an everyday conversation with faculty. It seems everything will still go after schedule but we can hand in a pdf as our final thesis and postpone the actual printed book. One other thing we negotiated was that they send each one of us a small printer home so we can print out drafts and stuff