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Government response to Textile Centre closure Petition

July 14, 2008

Details of Petition:

“The Textile Conservation Centre (TCC) was established as an independant charitable trust in 1975. Based in Hampton Court Place from 1975-1999. Merged with the University of Southampton in 1998 and moved to a custom-designed building on Winchester School of Art campus in 1999. The TCC is the leading international organisation in the field of textile conservation research, education and practice. Students of conservation, conservation science and museums and galleries study alongside each other, so building a mutual understanding of the wider sector in which they will work. MA Textile Conservation is considered the leading course internationally, with the majority of trained textile conservators around the world having studied at TCC. The University of Southampton proposes to close TCC commencing summer 2008 with full closure by September 2009, with the loss of all jobs and courses. This petition is to hopefully prevent the closure of such an important academic institution which has a distinguished history and international reputation and to secure the jobs of leading academics within this field.”

Government’s response

Public funding for higher education will have increased by 30% in real terms between 1997 and 2010. Southampton University is receiving its fair share of the total level of government funding and now operates on a total annual budget of some £325 million. Within that total, it is solely responsible for deciding on its mission and strategy including which departments and centres it opens, closes, expands or contracts, taking account of competing priorities and student demand. The Government notes that the University has paid tribute to the significant achievements of the Textile Conservation Centre before and since becoming part of the University and it supports the work of the University and the Centre to look at solutions to the problems which have been identified but it is not the Government’s role to override the decisions of the University on this issue.

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