Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Support Simon Burgess

I don't endorse or condemn this. I just want to alert people to the case as after I got this email I googled it and found nowhere else had the story.

Shirley O'Loughlin of the University of Westminster has been circulating an email in support of Simon Burgess, a lecturer at East Surrey College, who is facing serious disciplinary action (and possible redundancy) for introducing students to the work of photographic artist Del LaGrace Volcano.

Management are claiming it is pornography, salacious, grotesque, worthless and not relevant to, or appropriate for 2nd year level 3 photography students preparing for higher study.

Apart from being censorious, backward, and homophobic, management's stance displays a remarkable ignorance of contemporary debates and image-making strategies. This is a serious matter that has implications for all academics, teachers, and students, and we would be very grateful for an email expressing your support for Simon, and offering your expert opinion on the relevance of Del's work to contemporary debates and practices, his status as an international transgender artist, etc.

All emails should be sent to Eugenie Shinkle (, and she will forward them on to the appropriate person (we're not sure just yet whether they should be sent to Simon, to his UCU rep, or directly to management). We're under a bit of time pressure as his hearing has been scheduled for August 17th - which I've only just found out, so apologies if this reaches you at an awkward time.

Dr. Eugenie Shinkle
Senior Lecturer in Photographic Theory and Criticism
School of Media, Arts and Design
University of Westminster
Watford Road, Northwick Park
Harrow, Middlesex


The BJP has the story which references the Sauce Blog and that it was "leaked online". I guess that was here.

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