Sussex SU cause outrage after replacing activist art with university-branded banners

Removing part of Sussex’s unique history has been met with criticism


Sussex Students' Union is facing backlash after removing artwork representing Sussex's radical political scene and replacing it with banners showcasing various aspects of the university's life.

People commented on a Facebook post about the decision to voice their criticism of the decision to remove artwork. One person wrote: "This is horrific. Aesthetically disgusting and a slap in the face to any sense of radical history and character Sussex was still clinging on to. Why was the decision made to remove the art?"

The official SU President's latest Instagram posts show the removal of the art in favour of university branded banners. The caption for the latest post reads: "So excited to see our common room turn nicer bit by bit."

One of the undeniably unique aspects of the University of Sussex is the long-standing history of student activism. Many of the Facebook comments showed concerns of the new banners eradicating this history.

Former Badger editor Freya Belle said: "What happened to the wonderful banner celebrating Sussex's radicalism? Has it been moved elsewhere? It's historic and made by students themselves, not printed and anonymous. Also curious how much these things cost?!!"

Another student added: "This is worse… it looks corporate and soulless, I’m sorry. I was an undergrad and then much later a post-grad and the art in the common room felt like an authentic part of Sussex culture and history."

A petition, started by Miles Markham, has started circulating on Facebook, campaigning to put the artwork back up and move the banners to elsewhere. The petition currently has 51 signatures.

save the art in falmer house and please share this aswell

Posted by Miles Markham on Friday, October 26, 2018

Frida Gustafsson, SU president, has responded to people's comments via a Facebook post which reads: "I want you all to know that the art pieces are very much safe.

"We are in fact planning to put up the pieces of art around our building, alongside new artworks created by current students. This will also help celebrate not just the past but present and future of our fantastic university and students."

*ART UPDATE* Yesterday I posted a photo of the new banners put up in our Common Room, put up as part of some major…

Posted by Frida Gustafsson on Friday, October 26, 2018

Criticism also arose concerning the cost of the banners: "This is a shame, I really liked the art. Also feel the money spent on these would have been better used somewhere else."

This is the second time in past few years that the Students' Union has received backlash for their spending on banners – the last instance occurring when £700 was spent on year-specific varsity banners.

Sussex Students' Union have been approached for comment.