Sienna Mustafa 0

A polite call for an extension of the Summative deadline by the students of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths

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Dear Visual Cultures Staff

After an extensive group discussion, many of the Visual Cultures students feel there are significant grounds for us to propose an extension on the Summative Assessment Deadline by at the very least a week.

This year has been undoubtedly difficult for the entire department, and many of us feel that these circumstances warrant certain exceptions outside of the norm of the academic strategic plan of the year. Many students have been greatly affected by the loss of a very influential teacher, and I feel that Mark's death has not only affected those within Popular Modernism, but also those in other modules. There are numerous instances across the department whereby lectures have been pushed back or merged together because of a week we missed and because of staff absences. The extended Formative Deadline also pushed back many students' abilities to begin working on their Summative work. Many of us feel that the administration of the VLE has also caused a lot of confusion, perhaps by cause of many students requiring extensions due to extenuating circumstances. Additionally, tutorials were also delayed as the whole department - teachers and students- were pushed for time and also suffering the inevitable effects that a loss of this kind has on a community.

Mark's work affected everyone, his absence does not go unnoticed; for many of us it is evident all over the institution. Understandably and very nobly, many tutors have incorporated his work into the other modules's readings and whilst many of us take comfort in the celebration of Mark's work, it is very hard to detach the emotional from the academic mind in these circumstances. For those on the Popular Modernism module, many of us have to read through Mark's orginal lecture notes on the VLE which makes processing them extremely difficult, to say the least.

Finally, I want to make it known that this petition is in no way a criticism of the department’s handling of the situation. We, as a rhizomatic community are all affected by the loss of a key figure in our department. We, the students of this department, are also affected by the clear affects this has had on our lecturers and tutors, who have been brave enough to carry on working so hard amidst the bleak absence of a dear friend and colleague. Many of us feel that not only have the students not received enough support from the institution’s wellbeing facilities, but the tutors should also be given some leeway. Many tutors struggled to get the last Summative Assessments marked in time and this pressure within the working environment is exactly the atmosphere we should learn to avoid, especially in light of everything Mark believed.

I hope that we, as an thoughtful, radical and sensitive body of people, can aim to change the rigid and demanding structure of the institution to accommodate for a new way of learning that allows students and teachers to work in a more relaxed and thus academically lucrative way. Let this extension, then, be a small step in a big and promising direction.

Kindest regards and solidarity,

The Visual Cultures Students

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