AUE signs letter of support for Whitworth Gallery Director

Updated: Mar 04, 2022

AUE denounce the University of Manchester asking Alistair Hudson to leave his post over a row regarding a statement in support of Palestine.


AUE National Executive Committee, Manchester AUE rep Ekua Bayunu and Northern Regional Organiser Theresa Easton have written directly to the President and Vice Chancellor Nancy Rothwell.

Dear Nancy Rothwell,

Artists Union England represents visual artists living and working in England. We are horrified by the behaviour of the University of Manchester’s effort to pressure Alistair Hudson to resign from his role as Director at The Whitworth Art Gallery.  Coercion from UK Lawyers For Israel (UKLFI) on the University in response to the statement of solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle exhibited by Forensic Architecture during their exhibition ‘Cloud Studies’ at the gallery in 2021 is a direct attack on academic and artistic freedom.

We strongly oppose the punitive action by the University in stifling debate and reducing the space for artists to work and explore challenging questions.

The University has a responsibility for maintaining the integrity of a public gallery and there is an expectation the University will respect the voice of the artist.

The behaviour by the University undermines this integrity and demonstrates lack of respect for the staff working at the Whitworth and the artists exhibiting at the gallery.

There has been complete lack of failure to operate standards expected to safeguard the role and function of arts in society.

The University has lost its integrity as an independent body.

We therefore call on the University to reinstate and apologise to Alistair Hudson.

We call for an apology to the city of Manchester residents and the arts community.

We call for an apology to the global arts community.

Finally, we call for training for university decision makers around their role in running an art gallery.

Download the letter HERE

Sign the petition HERE


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