One of the city’s most important galleries has been permanently shut with no forewarning given.
The University of Brighton’s Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), in Grand Parade, has cancelled all its upcoming exhibitions including the 30-piece show by Turner Prize-winner Helen Cammock due this summer.
An email sent to stakeholders by the dean of the School of Art and Media for the university, Professor Tamar Jeffers McDonald, said competing demands on university resources means “we now need to focus on our core business of providing the best educational experience we can for all our students, whilst continuing to meet our regional priorities and ambition through research and innovation.”
Prof Jeffers McDonalds did, however, recognise how the CCA made “positive links with local communities and practitioners, and brought the work of international artists to the city”.
But Ben Roberts, the director of the CCA, told The Art newspaper he is shocked by the decision which came “out of the blue”.
“It is hugely disappointing that the University of Brighton has taken the decision to close Brighton CCA,” he said in a statement via social media.
“Since the programme was launched in 2019, the response from our peers, students and colleagues has been overwhelmingly positive and we are immensely proud of what we have achieved in this time - both using our resources to both support learning and nurturing the cultural ecology of the city.
“I’d like to thank my amazing team, our partners, participants, collaborators and especially the artists who have all contributed so much to the programme.
“We also recognise we are not alone in this and send support and solidarity to colleagues and students continuing to fight the university’s wider proposed redundancy plans.”
The gallery will instead be used as a teaching space.
It comes as University of Brighton students barricaded themselves in their vice chancellor’s office to protest against the redundancies.
Staff at the university were told earlier this month some 110 jobs will be lost due to workforce restructuring.
A spokesman from the group of students said: “We are horrified not only at the irreparable damage that is being done to our education but particularly also for the staff who will be losing their source of income during this ongoing cost of living crisis.”