Newcastle Uni library made students take down art that portrayed nude women
It’s 2019, guys
Earlier today, Newcastle University staff censored a charity art sale that was taking place in Robinson Library because they believed the artwork to be capable of causing offence.
Louise Brown, a third year combined honours student at Newcastle University, displayed her art at the FemSoc stall in the library today, only to promptly be asked to take the art down by library staff.
The staff deemed the cartoon images of the naked female form to be too inappropriate to display in the library, adding that they "didn't want people to be shocked" when entering the building.
Louise told The Newcastle Tab: "My art is made to counter sexist attitudes towards women and their bodies. In attempting to minimise offence, the censorship of my art only works to perpetuate the patriarchy. Women's bodies are not offensive."
Upon being asked to remove the images, FemSoc responded by placing "CENSORED BY NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY" notices over the "offensive" areas.
Library staff didn't respond well to this, calling the act "aggressive" and stating that FemSoc were "not helping themselves".
Becky Tuck, the society's President gave the following statement: "It's a shame because the images were cartoons and, more importantly, not all images of women are sexual, which is the very point of Louise's artwork.
"This all, if anything, just proves the necessity of the art, and reminds us of why we need to exist as a society."
Sophie McDermott, Activities Officer at the Students' Union posted on her Instagram account: "Their justification some people may be offended is not strong enough. This is why these conversations are so important and remain relevant still."
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'Making Peace With Beginnings And Ends'. Life's full of starts and finishes, hellos and goodbyes, and it can be important to acknowledge this reality and look forward to the new with lessons and memories from the past in mind❤️ [image description: a human with hair over their body holds their hand up as if waving next to the text 'making peace with beginnings and ends' on a pale yellow background] #mindpeace #bodypositive #bodypositiveart #makingpeace #startandend #beginnings #ends #griefart #newstarts #positivethinking #acceptance #feministartist #goodstrangevibes
The Newcastle Tab approached a university spokesperson for comment, who responded: "We encourage a range of artwork on campus and are committed to creating spaces for art and performance that celebrates diversity.
“Unfortunately, on this occasion we were approached by FemSoc at the last minute asking for help in providing a space in the Robinson Library for their stall as the strong winds meant they could not display in the open air outside the Students’ Union. It was only after they set up we decided it was not appropriate as a group of 8 and 9 year old school children were visiting the library. With more time and discussion in advance we could have happily accommodated them."
The art sale was to help FemSoc raise money for West End Refugee Service, because period poverty is terrible and no woman should ever have to experience it.
Louise's (incredible) art can be found and bought at her website.