Mem­o­ries re­vived of art school sit-in

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page -

A FOR­MER stu­dent has had a book pub­lished on the 1968 sit-in at Guild­ford School of Art.

John Walm­s­ley, of Sly­field was study­ing at the school, then based at what is now Guild­ford Col­lege off Stoke Road, dur­ing the sit-in and took pho­tos of it.

The sit-in, which lasted from June 5 to July 29, was or­gan­ised as a stu­dent protest at the poor qual­ity of teach­ing and re­sources at the school.

It was the long­est ever at a UK education es­tab­lish­ment and led di­rectly to stu­dents be­ing on the boards of all es­tab­lish­ments to­day.

Sit-in. Guild­ford School of Art 1968 has been pub­lished by Café Royal Books as part of a se­ries of books fea­tur­ing doc­u­men­tary pho­tog­ra­phy, mostly from the 1960s and 1970s.

John Walm­s­ley was a stu­dent at the school from 1965 to 1968.

“To­wards the end of my fi­nal year, the stu­dent body wanted to talk to the pow­ers that be about our ideas for im­prov­ing the qual­ity of the education of­fered,” he ex­plained.

“The gov­er­nors would not lis­ten to us so we be­gan a sitin dur­ing which we dis­cussed and re­fined our ideas. “It turned into the long­est ever sit-in at an ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion in the UK. “The gov­er­nors never did lis­ten but, since then, school, col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties have had stu­dents on their boards. As a stu­dent photographer ac­tively in­volved in the sit-in, I pho­tographed it from the in­side, start to fin­ish.” Guild­ford Mu­seum is also plan­ning an ex­hi­bi­tion to tie in with the 50th an­niver­sary next year and is ap­peal­ing for any­one with mem­o­ries of it to come for­ward.

Me­lanie Hol­liker, ac­cess of­fi­cer at Guild­ford Mu­seum said: “Here at Guild­ford Mu­seum we would like to in­vite for­mer stu­dents and staff at Guild­ford School of Art in 1968 to share their mem­o­ries of the sit in with us as part of a planned tem­po­rary ex­hi­bi­tion. This is be­ing de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with Royal Hol­loway, Uni­ver­sity of London.”

Any­one with mem­o­ries can call 01483 444803 or email Me­lanie.Hol­[email protected] guild­ford.gov.uk. Buy the £6 book at the Café Royal Books web­site or Guild­ford Mu­seum.

Pic­ture: © John Walm­s­ley 1968

Ban­ners played a big part dur­ing the sit-in at Guild­ford School of Art. This pic­ture was taken on July 5 1968

Pic­ture: © John Walm­s­ley 1968

A pic­ture taken on June 23 1968 shows stu­dents sleep­ing wher­ever they could dur­ing the sit-in

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