It is with deep grief and a heavy heart that the ÖH – Students’ Union – of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna would like to express solidarity and support to all the Palestinian, Jewish, Israeli, Armenian, Ukrainian, Kurdish, Russian and Indigenous peoples for their losses during the continued and escalating violence reinforced against them, in and out of the borders of their communities. In this context, we assert that it is of our utmost concern to be vigilant and work for the implementation of a safe institution for our fellow Palestinian, Jewish, Israeli, Arab, Armenian, Ukrainian, Kurdish, Russian, and Indigenous students, and students of all origins, where dialogue, exchange, knowledge production and transfer, debate, and dissensus, as well as theoretical research and artistic practices, can be developed in a constructive, respectful manner.
Universities must support a diversity of voices in which all forms of oppression, silencing, and abuse are confronted and eradicated. Thus, we see the recurrent cancellations of lectures, scheduled in partnership with other institutions, as problematic decisions resulting from external pressures. This limits the students’ open, transparent academic discussion and engagement in different political, theoretical, and cultural perspectives.
The Academy of Fine Arts, which claims to be a decolonial institution, has a particular responsibility to be critical of colonial relations, and should therefore stand in solidarity with global decolonial struggles and peoples subjected to them, and remain an open field for dissenting, marginalised voices.
The Students’ Union stands for the liberation of all peoples, for the joint struggle of the global working class, against the atrocities, genocides, exploitation, and oppression continuously committed by the colonialist and capitalist nation-states, and against antisemitism, apartheid, racism, classism, sexism, LGBTQIAP+ phobia, xenophobia, ableism, and all forms of supremacism and discrimination.
Similarly, we would like to encourage all students and members of the academy to be sensitive to the issues and wars that affect each of us today. We should learn together to build relationships of solidarity among us, creating a safe place in which we are all able to discuss and relate in a profound, supportive manner.
Solidarity is our means against all forms of oppression! We understand that these atrocities we are facing deeply affect our mental health. We want to remind you that we, the ÖH, the Akademie and the Federal Students’ Union (BV) offer a psychological social service and social funding for those who need treatment or financial aid.