ACAD professor, with ties to controversial chicken slaughter project, reinstated
Published Wednesday, May 15, 2013 2:57PM MDT Last Updated Wednesday, May 15, 2013 6:28PM MDT
The professor at the heart of a controversial art school project has his job back.
Gord Ferguson was fired earlier this month after one of his students killed a chicken in the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) cafeteria.
The performance piece was part of a public protest project in which the artist demonstrated the process involved in the slaughtering of a chicken.
Ferguson's reinstatement was announced In a joint statement released by ACAD and the ACAD Faculty Association. The following is the statement in its entirety.
The Alberta College of Art + Design and ACAD Faculty Association have reached an agreement leading to the immediate reinstatement of Mr. Gord Ferguson.
While the College’s decision to terminate Mr. Ferguson was never intended to be about academic or artistic freedom,the College acknowledges the perception this action may have created. Mr. Ferguson acknowledges that he wishes he could have had a greater opportunity to advise and support his student before he undertook his performance on April 18, 2013. Both Mr. Ferguson and the College regret that the incident happened.
All parties acknowledge that this incident has raised important issues about the relationship between a teacher and student, and a student’s work.
All parties believe that there will be lessons learned from this incident and that the recent public discussion has helped to illustrate the important principles of academic freedom. The College believes that there is an opportunity to develop clear principles around the issues of academic responsibility and artistic freedom.
The discussion has also reinforced that through open debate we gain insight, understanding, and engage the community: all goals of an art and design college. The College and the Faculty Association plan to hold a symposium to openly explore the many dimensions of the performance and the issues it has raised, in the next academic year.
For 87 years, ACAD has been committed to maintaining an environment that allows artistic and academic freedom to flourish in a positive learning environment while, at the same time, protecting the well being of all members of our community. The dialogue initiated by this incident will help us continue to meet this commitment.
“We will learn some valuable lessons from the recent incident at ACAD,” says Dr. Daniel Doz, ACAD president. “Ultimately we are here for our students and our 2013 convocation ceremony is what we are focusing on currently, and we are proud of the contributions that our students will make in the art’s community for years to come.”
“After a difficult few weeks we are happy to put this all behind us and am eager to start building towards the next semester,” says Alex Link, ACADFA president. “Our faculty are looking forward to sharing in the celebrations of ACAD’s graduating class of 2013 at tomorrow’s convocation ceremony – we have a lot to be proud of at the College.”
Students have rallied behind Ferguson and a showing of support was planned for Wednesday afternoon. The event was cancelled following ACAD’s announcement of Ferguson’s reinstatement.
With files from Bill Macfarlane