Okay okay, is it just me or have you ever had the thought that a building on a University campus should be there for students, and should engage with students if changes going to be made? Well, let’s talk about The Edge. This summer there has been a restructure within The Edge which will not only affect the staff in there, but also the students here on campus, especially those who are engaged in arts, performing, music and individual practice.
The purpose of this blog is to ensure you’re aware of the confirmed changes, suggested changes and other changes which are being considered. Throughout the blog, you will be informed as to what stage the changes are. If you have any questions about any of the following changes please contact Jamie Eastman, Arts Director, at J.R.Eastman@bath.ac.uk
It is important to note, I have expressed on a number of occasions that this has been done during the summer, when students are away. This has resulted in no student input into these changes; and how it is disappointing that they have continued to make these changes during this time. So please, do raise your concerns and ask questions!
From February 2019, The Edge will no longer have Box Office stationed in the Box Office hatch, instead having a Visitor Services unit who will oversee invigilation/front of house, which will be situated in The Edge foyer. This means the access service provided by the current Box Office Assistant roles, will be replaced by renewed methods for access from February. Which in all honesty, hasn't been thought through entirely, even after heavy questioning. More information about this will be sent out when received.
As well as the above, the current proposed change is to establish a ‘bottle bar/sushi bar’ in place of the Box Office. Students have not been asked whether this is a change they would like and there has been no feedback from students across campus expressing this is something that is wanted or needed.
Due to the Box Office no longer existing, this will mean access to rooms will change as the access cards will no longer exist. The Edge are still discussing whether they introduce a 'fresh' approach to room access from Freshers’ Week/first week of this term, which would be piloting what they might do for real from February. The Edge proposed an idea was to potentially leave all the rooms, except the Amp and Choral, open after 5pm. This is a huge concern because of equipment, double bookings, and the potential for rooms to be left in a bad state. I have brought up the idea of having student card access for students who have booked the spaces, which would make access for students much easier. However The Edge haven't yet decided what they will do with this issue, especially after 5pm when the Visitor Services won’t be present.
Backstage Technical Services (BTS)
This all raised concerns with the support and access that BTS currently get in The Edge. This is something I will be working with BTS on, and will ensure the right support is given to this amazing student group.
Staff Support & Student Bookings 2019/20
Even with all of these concerns, Jamie the Arts Director has reassured me that whatever changes are put in place, this will not diminish the level of space available presently experienced by students in any way. We will get the same amount of time during 2019-2020 in rooms and spaces at The Edge as experienced for 18-19 all existing bookings will remain. (2019-2020 bookings will start in Feb 2019).
The new structure aims to have one role, Student & Young People’s Arts Development Manager, as the central planning/ideas role for student arts. This role will be providing a singular and central point of day to day communication. Alex Homewood who is currently in this role, os on maternity leave, with maternity cover provided by Eloise Tong.
Another concern with these changes are those groups that have equipment stored in The Edge and how they will access this ‘out of hours’. Again, The Edge need to decide what they’re going to do and consult students about this change to understand the ins and outs of access.
Alongside the above changes, The Edge will look to shift to a self-service/online ticketing model from February. This will be scoped during October/November.
What does this mean? The Edge are going to a paperless ticket system which is fantastic for the environment; however, they are going to add a booking fee to tickets online as well as an admin fee on events. This is not something which should be happening on our University campus. We are looking at the possibility of moving all ticket sales for events in The Edge ran by student groups onto the SU website, making not only getting a ticket easier but finances easier for our student groups.
Ushers are needed at every show and event due to health and safety reasons. As well as tickets having an admin fee on them, The Edge are looking to charge student groups for Ushers. This is not a confirmed change but is currently being considered and again, this is something I will tackle to try and ensure it doesn’t happen.
Internal (External) Bookings
Out of all of the proposed or confirmed changes, one positive is that Jamie believes students should have access to all rooms in The Edge during Term Time. The Edge are looking to re-focus their third party bookings between May and September, which is a great success for student priority.
There are a few minor changes (in regards to pianos in The Edge) which have happened over the summer. There is a brand new piano in the Choral Room (Kawai 500) and the Music Studio piano will be changing as well.
However, in the future The Edge want to evaluate why there are pianos in most rooms, and see whether they are all necessary. I have to be honest, I am unsure what the student thought on this so if you have any ideas or concerns then please reach out to me and let me know as I would like to go with what the student body would like.
A quote from Jamie, ‘From 18-19 The Edge will be looking to evolve into a public facing Professional Arts Centre, presenting a public offer of Arts Programmes informed by the research here at Bath, explicitly linked to the University teaching and research, recent Summer offer, The Fantastical Multi-Media Pop-Up Project and upcoming Visions of Science give a taster here. Why? Because Bath doesn’t teach the arts but believes in its power to transform how people see the world and themselves in it, and believes in the benefits of creativity and the creative process to all students and staff. At the same time The Edge will be about supporting our students who do wish to take up arts directly and to support their personal development to this end. We have some exceptionally talented students and aim to celebrate this, highlighting all those who want to take up arts directly, ensuring The Edge functions as a hub for them to do so.’
As you can see there are many changes being made without student involvement, and this worries me. I want to make sure The SU are doing all we can to ensure these changes are being implemented with student feedback and therefore a session in November will be led by The SU which will have Jamie Eastman there to answer questions, hear your thoughts and provide feedback. Please come along and make your voice heard on changes which will hugely impact student art provision on campus.
Where: 3WN 3.7
When: 7 November
If you have any questions about any of the following changes please contact Jamie Eastman (Arts Director) on J.R.Eastman@bath.ac.uk and cc in email@example.com