ONCA’s open letter to UoB senior management

What can you do? Learn about the closures and planned redundancies at University of Brighton. Join the march against the redundancies this Saturday June 10th. Sign the petition. Add your name to this open letter and write your own letter as ONCA has:

Dear Vice Chancellor, Board of Governors and Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science,

We are writing to express our distress at the decisions being made by senior management at the University of Brighton, and to urge you to reconsider your plans for staff redundancies.

ONCA is an art and environment gallery and educational charity set up in 2012. Due to our focus on creative thinking around climate and environmental and social change, and the gallery’s proximity to the Grand Parade campus, we quickly developed warm and mutually nourishing relationships with arts and humanities staff and learners who enlivened the space and used it to explore these issues in innumerable ways. Examples of these include: 

  • Through CSECP we collaborated on two important UoB-led academic research projects on youth climate efficacy (FutureCoast Youth and cli-MATES), and with many feminist scholars of political ecology on exhibitions and projects exploring extractivism and solidarity with frontline communities
  • Arts teachers from Grand Parade have brought countless artists to the gallery from across the UK and overseas, using it as a hub for creative problem solving with interdisciplinary communities of interest
  • We have hosted innovative postdoctoral researchers’ projects in fertile collaborations such as Visionary Fictions and Generations, and many undergraduates and Masters students have had positive experiences of professional life through placements and volunteering with ONCA, which has provided structure and meaning for dozens of learners emerging from higher education
  • UoB lecturers have taught at ONCA workshops in person and online, recognising the importance of its inclusive ethos and generalist reach for sharing their research with wider audiences
  • Student collectives (including groups from the MA in Inclusive Arts Practice, the BA in Performance & Visual Arts and many other disciplines) have frequently used the gallery for their first exhibitions, supported by our ethos of caring curation
  • We have deeply appreciated meeting and learning together with the intelligent, generous curatorial presence, vital ecological commitment and progressive interdisciplinary ethos of the CCA team.
  • Several of our core staff members and trustees graduated from courses at UoB (all now axed).

The relationship between ONCA and the University’s researchers and learners has been nothing less than foundational; ONCA would not exist today without the care and webs of friendship it’s received and taken part in over the past decade. The school of arts and humanities at the University of Brighton has been instrumental over many years in the education and development of many people in a wide variety of ways, and has made a major contribution to our community. It is absolutely horrific to imagine the destitution and devastation that these cuts will wreak. The closure of Brighton CCA and the possible loss of CSECP represent unquantifiable harms and damage to the wider community of interest working on the issues that are so vital, not only locally but nationally and globally.

We urge you to consider this short-sighted and mistaken plan.

Yours sincerely,


  • Persephone Pearl
  • Amardeep Rai
  • Sally Bourner 
  • Maddy Kelly
  • Tina O’Clarey
  • Ooffii Hardwick
  • Ishtar Parrish-Wain

Board of Trustees

  • Laura Coleman
  • Jennifer Uchendu
  • Paccha Turner Chuji 
  • Clare Whistler
  • Vinita Damodaran
  • Michelle Westbury
  • Eva Coleman
  • Syra Tariq
  • Aidan Evans-Jesra

[Image description: a photo of a protest banner painted for the march against the UoB redundancies. A painting of the heads and torsos of four figures. Their heads are daisies intertwined like a daisy chain. Their bodies are painted red, blue, yellow and green. The red figure holds a book, the green figure holds a journal, the yellow one a painter’s palette and the green one a camera. Their arms are linked. Beneath them the words ‘Arts Community Solidarity’ are written in capital letters, with a red loveheart.]