Parsons Cancels Galliano Workshop
Poor, poor John Galliano. The designer’s teaching career is over before it even began. According to an email sent to the New School students, Parsons has cancelled Galliano’s master class workshop.
“It was a condition of our agreeing to host Mr. Galliano that we also hold a larger forum, which would include a frank discussion of his career,” the email states. “Ultimately, an agreement could not be reached with Mr. Galliano regarding the details of that forum, and so the program will not move forward.”
The three-day master class, which was set to be taught to Parsons seniors, was announced at the end of April. The class was described as “a dynamic and intimate opportunity for students to learn from an immensely talented designer” and “engage in a frank conversation with Mr. Galliano about the challenges and complications of leading a design house in the 21st century.”
Following the announcement of the course, an online petition started by a Parsons student began circulating around the internet demanding Parsons drop Galliano as a teacher. The petition has so far garnered over 2,000 signatures.
Joel Towers, Executive Dean of Parsons, sent out a letter to students on April 26 stating that, while he agreed there was “no place for anti-Semitism or any other form of hate,” he felt as if Galliano’s master class would allow students to “learn from positive and negative examples.”
Unfortunately, Towers’ stance had no bearing on the anti-Galliano activists. Parsons has confirmed that the master class has been cancelled.
Here’s a copy of the full letter sent to Parsons students:
To the Parsons community: We are writing to follow-up on messages we shared with you on April 26 about the planned workshop with John Galliano. It was a condition of our agreeing to host Mr. Galliano that we also hold a larger forum, which would include a frank discussion of his career. Ultimately, an agreement could not be reached with Mr. Galliano regarding the details of that forum, and so the program will not move forward. As we have expressed over the past weeks, a critical element of a New School education is the connection between creative and intellectual invention and an individual’s actions in the world at large. While we understand the pressures Mr. Galliano faces, we expected to invite students, faculty and staff to ask Mr. Galliano how his trajectory as a designer was changed by his offensive remarks and to learn from that example. We continue to believe there is room at Parsons to explore Mr. Galliano’s efforts to make amends for his actions and that members of our community will decide for themselves how to view his contributions. It is certain this would not have been an easy or comfortable conversation but our mission is to provide uncommon learning opportunities that transcend the boundaries of the disciplines. We apologize to those students who anticipated participating in the workshop and to all those who looked forward to engaging Mr. Galliano in discussion. Over the last several weeks, many members of the university community wrote to express their views about this visit. Regardless of your opinion, you remind us all that it is our commitment to debate, and our willingness to support the possibility of change, that makes Parsons and The New School such an extraordinary place to learn. Sincerely, David E. Van Zandt, President
I personally feel bad for Galliano. Everyone deserves a second chance, don’t you think?
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