Trenton Oldfield Letter
See the discussion on the letters evolution, or press history
9th July 2013
RE: Mr. Trenton Oldfield, Spousal Visa Application Appeal
To Whom It May Concern at the Home Office,
We are a ten-year-old research cluster known as Critical Practice hosted by Chelsea College of Art and Design, a constituent college of the University of the Arts, London. Critical Practice includes artists, academics, researchers, students, technical staff and members of the UK public. We have a long-standing interest in public goods, spaces, services and knowledge as well as a track record of producing original participatory events, like Open Congress at Tate Britain in 2004.
Having received news of Mr. Oldfield's visa renewal being declined, we are writing as members of the public whom this concerns to contribute a brief overview of our experience working with Mr. Oldfield, his contribution to our research and, more generally, the public good.
Critical Practice has worked directly with hundreds of artists and cultural producers in recent years. Our collaborative practice is anchored in researching the constitution of 'the public' and the resources necessary for public assembly (please see PARADE here: http://www.criticalpracticechelsea.org/wiki/index.php?title=Public_Space). This makes us uniquely qualified to offer the Home Office and other readers of this letter a professional perspective on Mr. Oldfield's contribution to the public good in the UK.
We have worked with Mr. Oldfield twice in recent years on various London-based cultural projects.
Firstly, on 21st-22nd May 2010. Mr. Oldfield contributed professionally to the Market of Ideas (please see http://www.criticalpracticechelsea.org/wiki/index.php?title=Parade_BarCamps_May_22,_2010#BarCamp_3:_Future_Publics), part of PARADE hosted on the beautiful Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground at Chelsea College of Art and Design, opposite Tate Britain in central London – four minutes from the Houses of Parliament. PARADE explored different conceptions of Being in Public - historical, cultural, political, social, architectural and digital. Mr Oldfield made a very well-received public presentation about the nature of boundary markers, walls, hedges and fences in the division of common, public and private land. PARADE was freely accessible to all.
Secondly, in 2010, Critical Practice participated in a week-long festival known as TiNaG (This is Not a Gateway) that Mr Oldfield has co-organised annually since 2008 (please see http://www.criticalpracticechelsea.org/wiki/index.php?title=This_is_Not_a_Gateway_2010). TiNaG brings together many artists, architects, urbanists and cultural producers to share their research with each other and members of the public. It is our view that TiNaG makes a significant contribution to debates around urbanism, public discourse on cities, socially-responsible entrepreneurship and critical culture that are among London's leading attributes and attractions.
We feel the Home Office may wish to consider the ways in which Mr. Oldfield has benefited the UK, especially in relation to the public and its good. Based on our experience of working with Mr. Oldfield on PARADE and TiNaG, he has made a substantial, critical and overwhelmingly positive contribution to the UK's public good and exhibited a genuine interest in understanding and strengthening this shared value.
We thank you for considering the views expressed in this letter, written by expert researchers in the field and as members of the UK's public. We hope you will raise these points at Mr. Oldfield's appeal. We also kindly request that you forward a copy of this letter to any persons involved in this decision-making process, in order to achieve a fair and balanced outcome.
STATUS: The letter has been sent. Find the final version of it here. As agreed, it's on CP letterhead and signed collectively.