Posts Tagged ‘drums’

SOAS Shut Down 2015

Friday, October 29th, 2021

Students at SOAS, University of London, occupied the Brunei Suite on the Bloomsbury campus on October 6th 2015, after a leaked management document detailed £6.5m of cuts including the loss of 186 courses, roughly a third of the curriculum.

This leak came as the latest in a whole series of decisions by management which dismissed or ignored the views of both students and staff, and led to a unanimous vote of no confidence in the management two days later by the General Assembly of the SOAS Student Union.

As well as the course cuts and problems with switching courses and choosing tutorials, they complained that management had ignored an overwhelming vote in support of the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign, ignored the opposition to the outsourcing of cleaners, security staff and other workers and failed to respond to the strike by Fractional workers (who are responsible for much of the teaching) for fair pay. The students said that management were failing to deal with the gender pay gap and that institutional racism is thriving in SOAS.

They called for a restructuring of the Executive Board and Board of Trustees to give students, academic staff and support staff authority over the running of our university, and suggested that a large proportion of the savings needed could be made by the Executive Board cutting their own inflated salaries rather than making staff redundant.

The entrance to the occupation after management locked the doors

The management responded with lies and by harassing the students, including by cutting off the power on 23rd October, and when many teaching and administrative staff refused to cross a picket line they locked the doors of the university. The entrance to the occupation became through the high ground floor windows.

Sandy Nicoll, Unison Branch Secretary

After a rally held on 27th October which I had missed they tried to intimidate the trade unions by suspending Unison Branch Secretary Sandy Nicoll, falsely claiming he had let students into the main building to protest outside the offices of recently appointed SOAS Director Baroness Amos.

The protest on Thursday 29th was held to call for the reinstatement of Nicoll, and there were messages of support for Sandy from colleges and trade unions around the country as well as a long series of speakers who came to give their support in person.

It was a well-attended and noisy protest with much banging on catering pots and pans with Nicoll getting a lengthy welcome before he could speak.

At the end of the rally there was music and dancing, with people taking part in the 'Strikey-Strikey', an adaption of the Hokey-Cokey:
You put your left arm in
Your left arm out
In, out, in, out
You shake it all about
You do the strikey-strikey
And you turn around
That's what it's all about
Woah, the strikey-strikey
Woah, the strikey-strikey
Woah, the strikey-strikey
Knees bent
Arms stretched
Ra-ra-ra...

Things appeared to be drawing to a conclusion and I got ready to leave when things livened up a little with people setting off smoke flares as they paraded with banners in front of the occupied building to the music of a violin and drums.

The management finally backed down and reinstated Sandy Nicoll and eventually the occupation came to an end too, with management changing some of its plans but not meeting the main student demands. Dissent continued on campus and there was a further occupation in 2017. There have been some victories, and after a 12 year fight the cleaners became directly employed by SOAS at the end of August 2018.

More at SOAS Shut Down after Sandy suspended.


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Notting Hill in colour – 1997

Thursday, October 29th, 2020
Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-003_2400

I find it hard to believe I took no colour pictures at Notting Hill Carnival in 1996, but if I did I cannot find the negatives, though it is possible that they are somewhere in my loft, still in the envelope with the prints as they came back from the processing lab. I did go to carnival, and made some black and white images, but probably I had come to a decision not to work in colour.

Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-005_2400

The following year, 1997, I’ve found no very few black and white negatives, perhaps just when I was finishing off a couple of films still in the cameras, and nothing of any real interest, but a note on the contact sheet tells me that I worked in colour that year. So here are some of the results.

Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-008_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-015_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-019_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-024_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-028_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-030_2400

I’ll post another set from 1997 shortly, but you can see them all in my album Notting Hill Carnival – the 1990s which has around 80 more pictures from that year. As usual, clicking on the images in this post will take you to the image in the album – much larger for the landscape format images.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.