Your support keeps us publishing. Follow this link to subscribe to our print magazine.

Open Letter: Arts Educators Say No to Tate Redundancies

More than 100 artists and educators from across the world sign a letter condemning the proposed redundancies at the Tate – and demanding that management takes immediate action to defend workers' jobs.

We the undersigned would like to make public our opposition to the redundancies threatened against Tate Commerce staff, and our support for their forthcoming strikes. 

With those strikes, PCS Tate Commerce members are at once defending their own working lives, and some notion of arts institutions as at least potentially open to working-class people. 

As educators, we recognise many of those working for Tate Commerce as former or current students. As trade unionists, we recognise an employer’s attack against the least well-paid, most ‘casualised’ section of the workforce. 

And, we are keenly aware of these workers’ myriad contributions to cultural expression and cultural criticism, and therefore echo PCS Tate United’s July 24 statement, “(c)ulture sector workers are an intrinsic part of these institutions and contribute enormously to the fabric of culture and heritage in the UK.”

As the stability of work in the arts is eroded (or, indeed, smashed), it will become still more the preserve of the already-wealthy, of the already-connected; for arts industry workers, material hardship (during both a pandemic and, likely, economic depression), and for the wider public, a creative and critical impoverishment. 

The role of government in the situation is obvious. DCMS funding rose with inflation last year, after nearly a decade in austerity: ten years of art’s diminishment (not least due to cuts to local government) and its general coarsening, as branding grew in prominence, and donors’ goodwill in importance. 

Nevertheless, it is Tate and Tate Commerce’s Boards of Trustees (and Director) that we hold responsible for the threatened cuts. 

‘Tough choices must be made,’ we read – though we wonder how tough a choice the current strategy indeed was. The inescapable impression is that the least well-paid (and, relatedly, the most ‘diverse’) workforce in the wider institution are to pay for the crisis. As both trade unionists and art professionals, we will strain ourselves against this callous, discriminatory approach.  

Hence we insist with PCS Tate Commerce’s on the following demands: that there be no redundancies whilst any Tate employee receives over £100,000 per annum; that 10% of the recent £7,000,000 government investment in the Tate be used for jobs retention; and that if that 10% is not sufficient, the Tate makes further, forceful demands on the current government. 

Words must be given substance. The Tate galleries greatly rely on the support of the wider art world, not least from the undersigned (as both arts educators and artists, curators, critics, and so on). Against the current strategy, we pledge the following: 

  • Full solidarity with PCS’ campaigning, including picket attendance, material assistance (including strike funds), individually and at a branch-level, pending discussion), and further public criticism of the current Boards. 
  • That everytime we as educators refer to the Tate (to the institution’s history, current exhibitions, and so on), whether in classes or in our writing, we will be forced to refer to the cuts and to those we view as primarily responsible for them.
  • Those of us responsible for educational excursions to the Tates will no longer view the suite as a responsibly-managed destination. Despite those cuts, London’s artistic life remains, often in institutions receiving of far less state funding, and public and professional support. Our students’ appreciation of the work – the workers – that meaningful art requires is of greater importance than their attendance of any given blockbuster.

The creative and critical potential of the working-class is infinite; our support for the Tate galleries under the present management is not. 


1. Marina Vishmidt, Goldsmiths, Media, Communication and Cultural Studies, UCU
2. Yaiza Hernández Velázquez, Goldsmiths, Visual Cultures, UCU
3. Dave Beech, Fine Art, CCW, UAL
4. Helen Kaplinsky, Exhibition Research Lab, Liverpool John Moores, UCU
5. Jennifer Warren, Central Saint Martins & London College of Fashion, UCU
6. Frank Wasser, Ruskin School of Art, UCU, PCS
7. Larne Abse Gogarty, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL UCU
8. Alison Green, Central Saint Martins, UAL, UCU
9. Sophie Carapetian, Central Saint Martins, UAL, BDZ
10. Mijke van der Drift, RCA, UCU
11. Benedict Seymour, Goldsmiths Fine Art, UCU
12. Sam Dolbear, School of Advanced Study/ICI-Berlin, IWGB
13. Eva Weinmayr, Central Saint Martins, UCU
14 Tassia Kobylinska, Goldsmiths, UCU
15. Erica Scourti, Goldsmiths & Central St Martins UAL, UCU
16. Anna Grant, Goldsmiths, UCU
17. Annie Goh, Central Saint Martins UAL, UCU
18. Laura Gordon, RCA, UCU
19. Kyran Joughin,CCW & UAL UCU
20. Adriana Eysler, London College of Communication UAL, UCU
21. Joanne Tatham, Royal College of Art, UCU
Susan Kelly, Goldsmiths UCU
22. Sam Keogh, Fine Art UEL, UCU
23. Nic Williams, London College of Fashion, UAL, UCU
24. Charlotte Grace, RCA, CSM, UCU
25. Carolyn Clewer, LCF, UAL, UCU
26. Kelly Large, Royal College of Art, UCU
27. Sasha Litvintseva, Queen Mary, UCU
28. David Morris, Central Saint Martins / UAL, UCU
29. Pil Kollectiv, Royal College of Art, UCU
30. Galia Kollectiv, University of Reading, UCU
31. Elisa Adami, Royal College of Art, UCU
32. Juliet Jacques, Royal College of Art, UCU
33. Beth Bramich, Central Saint Martins, UCU
34. Pamela Golden, Royal College of Art, UCU
35. Helena Bonett, Dorich House Museum, Kingston University and Royal College of Art, UCU
36. John Slyce, Royal College of Art, UCU
37. June Melody, Goldsmiths, Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, UCU
38. Daniel Neofetou, freelance lecturer and author
39. Janna Graham, BA Curating, Goldsmiths, University of London
40. Esther Wakelin-Stotten, Haggerston School, NEU
41. Gregory Metcalfe, Riverside Primary, NEU
42. Louis Hartnoll, CSM UAL and Kingston University London, UCU
43. Jack Park, Dovedale Primary School, NEU
44. Melissa Jane, Castle School and University of Cambridge Faculty of Education, NEU
45. William Crosby, Anglia Ruskin University, UCU
46. Katherine Pogson, LCF UCU
47. Mez Kerr Jones, Kingston School of Art, UCU
48. Emma Davis, Monteagle Primary School, NEU
49. Anthony Iles, University of Northampton
50. Marián Carty Goldsmiths Educational Studies & UCU
51.Cavan Pledge Hillview School
52. Sarah Pledge, Hillview School
53. Víctoria Goddard, Goldsmiths University of London
54. Lizzie Homersham, freelance writer and editor, and Editor, Book Works, LRU
55. Bridget Crone, Goldsmiths, UCU
56. Elena Gorfinkel, King’s College London
57. Onyeka Igwe, Kingston University, UCU
58. Imran Perretta, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. UCU.
59: Taylor Le Melle, not/nowhere
60. Isabel Waidner, writer, UCU
61. Irene Revell, UAL, UCU
62. Ayesha Hameed Visual Cultures Goldsmiths, UCU
63. Klara Kemp-Welch, The Courtauld Institute of Art
64. Lucy Steeds, UAL, UCU
65. Ed Webb-Ingall, UAL, UCU
66. Richard Birkett, freelance curator and writer, ICA, BECTU
67. Ben Messih, BECTU
68. Theo Gordon, The Courtauld Institute of Art, UCU
69. Jelena Stojković, Arts University Bournemouth, UCU
70. Adriana Kytkova, SLG, BECTU
71. Catherine Grant, Goldsmiths, UCU
72. Alexandrina Hemsley, freelance artist and writer, member of What Next? Steering Group
73. Joanna Woodall, The Courtauld Institute of Art, UCU
74. Chooc Ly Tan, artist, cultural producer and lecturer at The Ruskin School of Art, Oxford
75. Inigo Wilkins, Goldsmiths, New Centre, Glass Bead
76. Jennifer Martin, Royal College of Art and London College of Communication, UCU
77. Mohammad Namazi, Decolonising Arts Institute (UAL), Fine Art CCW, UAL
78. Hana Janeckova, UAL, FAMU Prague, Display Prague, curator and researcher
79. Amy Charlesworth, The Open University, UCU
80. Flore Nové-Josserand, Copenhagen International School
81. Bella Radenovic, The Courtauld Institute of Art
82. Maria Harvey, Decolonise Art History (University of Cambridge, British School at Rome
83. Louise Shelley, Central Saint Martins UAL, UCU
84. Giles Bailey, Fine Art Department, Newcastle University, UCU
85. Alexandra Burton, The Courtauld Institute of Art, UCU
86. Rehana Zaman, Goldsmiths, University of London, UCU
87. John Russell, Department of Art, University of Reading
88. Ellie Wyatt, Kingston School of Art
89. Hayley Newman, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.
90. Lucy Clout, Goldsmiths, University of London, UCU
91. Amy Tobin (University of Cambridge, UCU; Kettle’s Yard)
92. Ashwani Sharma, London College of Communication, UAL, UCU
93. Louis Moreno, Goldsmiths, Visual Cultures, UCU
94. Erika Tan, Central Saint Martins UAL
95. Maria Fusco, University of Dundee
96. Kevin Biderman, RCA UCU
97. Cecilia Wee, Royal College of Art, UCU
98. Jonathan P. Watts, Royal College of Art, UCU
99. Matthew Noel-Tod, University of Brighton, UCU
100. Emily Candela, Royal College of Art, UCU
101. Iris Garrelfs, Goldsmiths, UCU
102. Timothy Smith, UAL, UCU
103. Oliver Wright, The Courtauld Institute of Art, UCU
104. Rebecca Lennon, Arts University Bournemouth, Royal College of Art
105. Karen Di Franco, UAL, UCU.
106. Miranda Pennell, London Contemporary Dance School
107. Magz Hall, Canterbury Christ Church University
108. Marko Ilic, UCL SSEES, UCU
109. Mira Mattar, writer, RCA, UCU
110. Ima-Abasi Okon, previously UAL, UCU
111. Barry Charles, Head of Art Oasis Academy Enfield
112. Kimberly Money, Arts Coordinator Oasis Academy Clarksfield (primary)
113. Alberta Whittle, freelance artist
114. Tom Hastings, London Contemporary Dance School, UCU
115. Adam Kaasa, Royal College of Art, UCU
116. Henrike Neuhaus, Goldsmiths University of London, UCU
117. Shela Sheikh, Goldsmiths, University of London, UCU
118. Marian Carty Goldsmiths, University of London, UCU
119. Roshini Kempadoo, Westminster, UCU
120. Martin McGrath, RCA, UAL, UCU
121. Gavin Everall, Book Works, Unite
122. Laura Guy, Newcastle University, UCU
123. Jake Williams. ICMP, London & University of Birmingham.
124. Claudia Sarnthein, The Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford
125. Morag Keil, HEAD, Geneva