On Strike!

So I decided to take a Drawing course at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario and two weeks in the faculty go on strike. I’ve been a teacher on strike so I know how it feels. It ain’t a good feeling.
On my second class I took some pictures of the facilities for a drawing class. To say it is a shit hole is an understatement. I have never seen a clay sculpture room in such a horrible mess. I took an ice pick to scrape the plaster off the tables so we could actually use the surfaces to draw. The sinks were plugged with stagnant water and overflowing with un-cleaned stainless steel bowls covered in hard plaster Here is a pic of the broom they use to sweep around the silica dust.
I taught part time at Sheridan College for 15 years and I can tell you there would be hell to pay if students ever left a room looking like this. They were taught to vacuum and wet mop in the Bobby Orr fashion of stick handling.  The studio technologist Hugh Douglas Murray was very responsible for the health and safety of students and faculty.
This is what happens when 70% of the faculty are part time and when support staff are cut to a minimum. I’m sure the caretakers open the door have a look and say there is no frickin’ way I’m going to try to clean that pig stye.  This is what the strike is about! It is the paring down of full time jobs. The business model of running a school of higher education.  No pensions, no benefits, no talk back from part timers. You never know whether you have a job next semester or not. Talk back and for sure you don’t!
 The part time faculty are paid for hours of teaching. They are off and running to another paying gig or home to their studios to make enough money to pay the bills. They are only paid for hours of teaching..  Management likes part timers because they get no benefits, can be fired at will, and they always work longer than the teaching hours they get paid for.  Teaching craft is not like teaching math. OK class open your textbook at page 44 and do the questions at the end of the chapter.
No studio should look like this and cleaning up should be taught. As I have said before 15% of the time I spend being a potter is spent actually making things. The rest of the time is maintenance!

I totally support the faculty on strike. If the schools keep following the business model soon 70% of the courses will be online.  Learn all you need to be a fine craftsperson on U-tube. Amazon U.


smartcat said…
I cannot begin to imagine trying to work in this space! Plus, I HATE cleaning up other people's messes.
I probably would have asked for my money back.
john said…
Thanks Tony, My wife and I are college taught. Me with a BFA and she has her MFA. She tried the teaching gig in the late 90's and early 00's. It started here in your southern cousins house then. We are sorry that our bad manners have traveled north. We were hoping that this disease was not contagious. We are only getting more sick and dirty here in the GREAT U.S.A. but we are GREAT. And we are going to build a GREAT wall that will rival the GREAT wall of China. That will help keep the GREAT dirt from spreading out from our GREAT nation and making the rest or our neighbors GREAT or dirty, depends on which side of the GREAT wall you are standing.
I am at a loss as to how such a well educated mass could allow this to happen. Perhaps the golden calf is not the answer.
gz said…
good for you..that is in a disgusting state..not fit for anyone to work in
Anonymous said…
Dude...those photos...what a disgrace, and to think that taxpayers hard earned money were used to build the facilities.

I'm curious, Tony: I spend 80+% of my time making wares in my studio, how is it possible to only spend 15% of your time with clay and be a potter? I'm happily (and 100% by choice) an unknown potter, I don't do workshops, I don't write books, I don't do Facebook or twitter, I just try to make damned good pots for my wonderful clients. Please tell us how it is possible to make a living as a potter with so few hours in your studio? Reminds me of hearing Adam Field say at his presentation on social media at enseekuh a few years ago that he spends more time on social media than he does in his studio...Really? Why?

Thanks for your blog! Cheers from Oregon!
Anonymous said…
PS My one and only sales channel is my website. I do not have to take time out of my studio to go to craft fairs, Christmas sales, summer festivals etc. Anything that I do for my retail sales are built consciously to give me more time in my studio. Anything that takes away from that costs me $$$. Cheers, OregonO :)
Tony Clennell said…
Dear Oregon: Sorry for the late reply. I learned to throw fast. I think I spend 15% of my time throwing. The rest of the time is all the other jobs. You should spend $20 Cdn and buy my book. I list over 150 things we do in our studio that are not related to throwing pots. Good on you for making a living in this game. Tip of the hat to you. T

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