Roehampton arts cuts will damage reputation and cultural diversity

An open letter from cultural figures and academics to the University of Roehampton’s vice-chancellor and council members

November 30, 2020
Source: iStock

Dear Jean-Noël Ezingeard (vice-chancellor), and members of the University of Roehampton Council,

We write to you as actors, dancers, directors, choreographers, artists, writers, curators, leaders of cultural organisations and public intellectuals.

Our professional and personal lives have all been significantly enriched by the inspiring teaching and research of scholars in the Schools of Arts and Humanities at your university.

We stand with the pro chancellor of the university, choreographer Akram Khan, in calling on you to immediately halt your planned cuts that will lead to 40 redundancies, particularly targeted at drama, dance, history and classics, English literature, creative writing, children’s literature, media, philosophy, theology and languages.

We urge you not to succumb to short-term commercial pressures and preserve the research excellence and broad ethos of your new university, which was instituted through its major reputation in these areas.

Arts and humanities teaching and research at Roehampton is a vital training infrastructure for arts professions and for cultural organisations in London and beyond. The threatened subjects have a remarkable track record in employment, widening participation and furthering cultural diversity. To cut them now will irreparably damage the culture industries that have done so much to help us survive the pandemic; it will narrow opportunities and deprive so many people of their futures in fraught times.

We call on you to listen to the outcry from students, staff and cultural leaders. End the cuts. Start a genuine consultation that will find innovative ways forward to restore the reputation of the university as a beacon of the arts and humanities.


John Akomfrah CBE (artist)
Sir Richard Alston (choreographer)
Charles Bernstein (poet)
Jonathan Burrows (choreographer)
Paul Cartledge (historian)
Romeo Castellucci (theatre director)
Boris Charmatz (choreographer)
Julie Christie (actor)
Dame Siobhan Davies (choreographer)
Stephen Dillane (actor)
Julia Eccleshare MBE (writer)
Brian Eno (musician)
Tim Etchells (artist)
Gareth Evans (curator)
Jem Finer (musician)
Forced Entertainment (theatre company)
Peter Frankopan (historian)
Jack Gamble (theatre director)
Vallejo Gantner (artistic executive director, Onassis Foundation USA)
Emma Gladstone (director, Dance Umbrella)
Victoria Glendinning (writer)
Natalie Haynes (writer)
Tom Holland (historian)
Wendy Houstoun (choreographer)
Adrian Jackson MBE (theatre director)
Toby Jones (actor)
Lois Keidan (director, Live Art Development Agency)
Rosemary Lee (choreographer)
Deborah Levy (writer)
James Lingwood (co-director, Artangel)
Hilary Mantel (writer)
Tom McCarthy (novelist)
John E. McGrath (festival director)
Jack McNamara (theatre director)
Michael Morris (co-director, Artangel)
Fred Moten (poet)
Kris Nelson (artistic director, LIFT)
Rebecca O’Brien (film producer)
Olivette Otele (Historian)
Cornelia Parker OBE (artist)
Mark Padmore CBE (tenor)
People Show (theatre company)
Jocelyn Pook (Composer)
Sally Potter OBE (film director)
Stephen Rea (actor)
Vanessa Redgrave (actor)
Jacqueline Rose (Culture & Creative Industries, Greater London Authority)
Hallie Rubenhold (historian)
Sukhdev Sandhu (writer)
Simon Schama CBE (historian)
Hofesh Shechter OBE (choreographer)
Richard Sennett (writer)
John Smith (artist)
Dan Snow MBE (historian)
Simon Stephens (playwright)
Juliet Stevenson CBE (actor)
Meg Stuart (choreographer)
Catherine Ugwu MBE (executive producer)
Jatinder Verma MBE (theatre director)
David Walliams (writer)
Dame Harriet Walter (actor)
Kate Williams (historian)
Andrea Luka Zimmerman (artist)

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