The Nursery Project started because of the decision by the University of the Arts London to close its Day Nursery at the London College of Communication. I have a 2 year old son who had started on the nursery in October of 2009 which made me personally involved with the issue from the beginning.
On March 26 we received a letter announcing the start of a Consultation process for the closure of the nursery. Although we had a meeting with Rob Imeson (Dean of Students) and Julia Yates (Assistant Director of Students Services) it was made very clear that we were not part of the consultation process and that the chances of the nursery remaining open were slim. We joined the strike action at UAL on the 27 of May by having a picnic along with the UAL University and Colleges Union at LCC. After further discussions and the protest, it became clear nothing could be done to change UAL’s position on the matter and on July 30, the nursery was closed. This resulted in 8 members of staff to be made redundant and 22 parents to have to look for childcare alternatives with a very small timeframe.
In my case I put Oscar in 7 waiting lists for nurseries near my residency, and he was only accepted in one of them. Other student and staff parents faced the same challenges, and some of them were not as lucky as me.
This project is an attempt to make the issues we faced visible in a different environment, and also to register them in the history of UAL. It involves creating a setting during the final MA Show at the Chelsea college of Arts and Design that will re-unite the parents and children of the LCC nursery. This room will be comprised of a “Utopic Nursery”, an area for the children with furniture, toys, books and events developed specially for this occasion. This will hopefully not only entertain the children but enable viewers to understand the complex relations that bonded these children together. The “Parents Area” will have a sitting area with an archival book about the experiences of this past year, to which they can add comments and content as well. It is a final attempt to give the parents a voice since our feeling during this whole process was constantly one of impotence. The final version of the book will be donated to the Chelsea College library.
The nursery was started in the 90’s by a group of mothers and it allowed a number of staff and students to progress in a type of environment that would have been impenetrable for them without it. It was symbolic as a successful attempt to bring gender equality to UAL. On the other hand we are living through a period of closures and redundancies that has been accepted as the only way forward. It is important to keep bringing up the effect this decisions have on individuals and communities, and to reflect on the impacts they will have on society as a whole.
I'll be uploading the content as the show progresses.