RCA Society

RCA SU Election 2017-2018

Around this time of the year most second year students will be anxiously thinking of producing work for their Final Shows whilst first year students will have just about settled into the workings of the College and feeling they have all the time in the world. For a small number of others their relationship with their fellow students and the College is different - they are concerned about the socio-political and economic issues which beset all and put themselves forward to be elected as Union representatives. More recently the singular position of “Student union President” has transformed - either as a President and Vice President ‘job share” - or as a “team” - which reflects the fragmentation of the College into three sites at Kensington, Battersea and now, White City. The School of Communication, Humanities, and Architecture are moving to White City and will, coincidentally, be neighbour to a new ‘research quarter’ which Imperial College secured in 2012.

This year, rather than a single president, a team of three were elected to represent the student body. Here are the statements put out by this year’s elected SU team.

We believe it is important for the SU Co-Presidents to be UK, EU and INTERNATIONAL students. A vote for us secures contact with someone whose concerns are close to your own. We intend to be ACCESSIBLE AND VISIBLE across all campuses during our tenure, working to sustain an accepting environment with ZERO TOLERANCE TO DISCRIMINATION. We will ensure the schools are a SAFE SPACE for people of any race, gender, class or culture. Through surveys, support groups and a dedication to fair representation within the union, we will form a warm and welcoming network of support.

We will work to make the move to WHITE CITY and other relocation procedures comprehensible to all students. As well as ensuring a significant physical presence for the SU at each campus, we intend to INCREASE SOCIAL SPACES for students in Battersea and lobby for significant space allocation in White City. 

We will release clear and concise information to students in ONLINE AND PRINTED MATTER made available on the website and notice boards across all campuses. As the RCA grows it is important access to essential information caters to everybody's needs. We will introduce a student newspaper combining art and design with useful updates about the SU’s work. The SCHOOL NEWSPAPER is part of our plan for a student body that is increasingly united, connected and informed.

We will PROMOTE STUDENTS’ WORK externally by streamlining the SU’s social media presence and capitalizing on the school's legacy. Events such as the Christmas fair and student exhibitions will be widely promoted. We will make links with other institutions, design fairs, publications etc. to open up possibilities for students to present themselves beyond college.

Numerous complaints across campuses have been made around misinformation during applications. We will work with the administration to improve the way information is passed to and from the student body, increasing the capacity for STUDENT FEEDBACK and PROTECTING THE LEGACY OF THE INSTITUTION, to ensure attending the RCA remains something to be proud of.

We recognise that the effects of political struggle, such as Brexit, will cause concern for many students. We will work to IMPROVE COUNSELLING SERVICES and make them more accessible to students, increasing support in these times of radical change within and beyond the RCA. 

Lastly, we will continue the POSITIVE INITIATIVES set out by previous administrations, improving the college environments and delivering cross disciplinary opportunities.

Expanded points

UK, EU and INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

The current political climate has raised a lot of concerns regarding how welcome people feel within the UK. We want to work as hard as possible to make sure people are clear on what these political changes mean and that everyone within the student body feels equal.

ACCESIBLE AND VISIBLE

We will make it a priority to be clear about our schedule and availability to ensure you know when and where to find us. We are all personable and approachable and look forward to hearing about your experiences in person. It is important for us to stress the fact that we are running as a slate that represents the three overarching categories of students at the RCA: UK, EU and International. This means that between the three of us we have personal experience that relates directly to matters that are likely to be relevant to you. Of course we cannot be knowledgable about the needs of every single student, but this brings us on to our next point: The introduction of student officer.

ZERO TOLERANCE TO DISCRIMINATION / SAFE SPACE

We would look to form committees that reach the standard of representation of other London Student Unions. These committees would include a BME (Black and Minority Ethnic), International, LGBTQ+, Sustainability and Women's committees. The idea would be to introduce voluntary officer roles to head up these committees with the hope that in the future they could become paid positions.

WHITE CITY

The move to White City is on everybody's lips at the moment. The SU currently has a co-president taking part in the negotiations around space and facilities. Along with continuing this dialogue we intend to proactively reach out to the students affected by the move, listening to their needs in order to communicate these to administration. As a first step we will start a White City Facebook group for students to share concerns arising in connection with the move. We also hope to appoint a White City student representative from each course to further the flow of information to and from White City students. We are concerned that students in White City will feel less connected than those in Kensington and Battersea. We are also mindful that other students are being relocated. As an example, the Sculpture department will be moving to Kensington. All concerns about relocation will be tended to on equal terms.

INCREASE SOCIAL SPACES

We know how important it is for people to be able to socialise within the university beyond the course structure and how enriching it can be to meet people working in ways other than your own. We also value a well made and affordable cooked lunch over a Co Op meal deal. We would work to increase the possibility of these options.

BATTERSEA: This campus has suffered from the loss of the Cafe Royale as well as the limited use of the Gorvy cafe. We would work with the college to find ways to expand Cafe Plaztik as well as making the Gorvy cafe a usable space for events. We will stay in touch with student representatives and lobby for significant space in the new building.

KENSINGTON: Kensington benefits from several social spaces which we would uphold. We would ensure these spaces are run thoroughly and utilised as much as possible, continuing to draw on the knowledge and experience of the student body for inspiration and ideas that can keep the Art Bar and the SU Café vibrant and stimulating spaces.

WHITE CITY: We will lobby for social spaces and an SU run cafe in White City following the successful example of the student run cafes in Battersea and Kensington. We believe that it matters to students to have a student run café that is not profit motivated so that lunch prices can be kept low and so that student lead initiatives can more easily be arranged. We also believe that the exchanges and connections that are made through the organisational work involved in running these little businesses are important to creating a less alienated and more collective body of students that stay in touch with one another.

ONLINE AND PRINTED MATTER

We would ensure that the information you need is readily available and that email content is optional rather than omnipresent. We wish to expand the options for students to stay informed about the work of the SU. One of the ways that we want to work towards this is by increasing the availability of printed material available to students on campus. We will introduce information boards across all sites as well as lobbying to introduce information stands. We aim to have the most important and current information available in print and mirrored online with expanded points and more regular updates. An important contribution to the printed material we wish to introduce is a school newspaper.

SCHOOL NEWSPAPER

In order to create this paper we would appoint an in house editing team to work on the design and content of a newspaper which would serve to give opportunities to students as well as disseminate information to the student body. We would fund this paper through advertisement from companies that could be interested in exposure to talented students working and studying at the RCA. The student newspaper should be available to all students across all campuses.

PROMOTE STUDENTS' WORK

Through initiatives such as student social media-takeovers, online residencies, the student newspapers etc. we would promote the work of the student body beyond the institution. As well as continuing the tradition of the Christmas Fair we would look into the possibility of hosting an Easter Fair.

STUDENT FEEDBACK

In order to be clear on the successes and pitfalls of the student experience we want to make sure it is clear and easy for people to present feedback in a confidential manner. Both in order that people feel that they are being heard as well as providing us with examples to strengthen our reasoning in any disputes.

PROTECTING THE LEGACY OF THE INSTITUTION

We believe the SU should be working with the students and administration to ensure everyone graduates feeling proud to be part of the RCA family. By helping students voice their concerns and enabling them to react effectively to administrative choices as well as helping the administration communicate quickly and considerately, we will uphold the legacy of the institution for all students, past, present and future.

IMPROVE COUNSELLING SERVICES

There is a significant waiting list for in person counselling services. We want to promote initiatives to increase counselling services. The mental well being of students is of the utmost importance to us. The mind is an important tool to us as creatives, we need to protect the great minds within the student body.

POSITIVE INITIATIVES

We are dedicated to continuing the SU's commitment to sustainability as well as the creation of green spaces within the school buildings. We would ensure White City has enough recycling facilities. We would look to expand the green spaces that already exist as well as including new ones, specifically at White City.

Benji Jeffrey

Originally from West Yorkshire, I have worked and studied in London for the last ten years. I moved here in 2007 to undertake my study at the Chelsea College of Art and Design where I graduated with a first class BA in Fine Art.

Since graduating I co-founded a not for profit artist space, Inland Studios, which for 3 years hosted exhibitions by recently graduated artists. As well as exhibiting and taking part in residencies in London, New York and Europe I have hosted events under the guise of Dunn Gudd, performed in my own work and the work of others at galleries and art festivals such as Performa as well as experimental sound nights such as The Surround. 

At the moment I am managing a pub in Camberwell to support my studies. In the last year I became a Visiting Lecturer at the Chelsea College of Art and Design as well as running workshops for sixth form students with ReachOut RCA. I am also a violinist and member of both the Peckham Chamber Orchestra and Peckham String Quartet, and I have a drag persona, Portia N'Frize, who comes out every now and then to host events. 

My grandma would always say 'if you want something done, ask a busy person.' I am the busy person to go to if you want something done.

Jazbo Gross

I am from Copenhagen, Denmark and came to study at the RCA for my MA.

I am the Contemporary Art Practice representative for the new building project in Battersea and have been outspoken about and involved in the repercussions of the site development, including the move to White City. This puts me in a unique position to be able to negotiate the move to White City with valuable insight.

​Before moving to the UK I studied linguistics and have a longstanding interest in language and communication. I have been involved in organising film and theatre events and curated artist film screenings in Copenhagen while also working as a 35mm and 16mm projectionist as part of my commitments on the board of Husets Cinema (Husets Biograf) in Copenhagen, from 2010 to 2015.

I have six years of hands on experience as an active member of Gulereer; the longest standing permaculture project in Denmark (the origin of which dates back to 1987). I have taken courses in sustainable agricultural and city planning throughout my active time. My experience in this field has provided useful theoretical and practical skills in grassroots organisation, structuring and planning of resources, where limited funds are available.

In 2006 and 2007 I took part in peacekeeping seminars in Israel and Palestine with 'Crossing Borders'; an NGO that promotes dialogue between youth across cultural, religious and geographical borders. 

I have worked as a freelance video editor since 2007 and from 2012-2014 I worked as a editor and graphic designer at Divo Post Production in Copenhagen. I hope that some of my technical computer skills could also come in handy during our tenure as your co-presidents of the SU.

Whiskey Chow

I am a Chinese student studying at the RCA. My Chinese name is Xiaoxuan Zhou, but I named myself Whiskey since I was 19.

​Prior moving to the UK, I have been involved in feminist and LGBTQ activism in China since I was 20. I have worked closely with local queer communities in Guangzhou and contributed as actor, co-playwright and sound designer in the production of ‘For Vaginas’ Sake’ (Original Chinese version of The Vagina Monologues). I have also taught gender education in community theatres in south China and has participated in a number of queer cultural events, including curating China’s first LGBTQ music festival (爱人同志音乐会) Lover Comrades Concert) in Guangzhou in 2013.

Apart from activism, I also worked as a project manager in Lost Music(荒岛音乐会)and Live Wild(在野音乐) (companies promoting indie music, both based in Guangzhou).

I have gained excellent skills in the planning and organizing of events. Being able to communicate with people at all organization levels with intelligence and professionalism. Through working on various events in collaboration with others, I have been active in supporting cultural issues and setting up a space in order to allow for people of different backgrounds to work alongside one another ensuring that everyone is given an equal voice.