As my brain is somewhat sporadic this following post will not be about the Riot Grrrl movement. Instead, I’ve found myself re-exploring an artist who I had the privilege to study in my last semester of University: Kiki Smith. This woman is, what some may call, a true student. What really stuck out [for me] was that whenever she switched mediums or course within her work it was in light of her taking on a new class. She wanted to learn more about the autonomy of the human body: she took a paramedic class. Of course this brings up an issue that I’ve been battling my entire University career. This issue revolves around the vortex of class.
Looking at her background we know that she came from a very privileged background (her father was in fact Tony Smith). A background that most of my schoolmates could identify with since in fact we were all privileged. Privilege in the sense that we had taken a serious initiative when it came to our education, essentially our futures and where in fact acting out our rights to education. Our education was indeed our ticket to becoming part of the privileged. Students have always and will always be part of a group of people that shake things up, no matter how big or small. But what about class? Well, education, unfortunately, is not free which causes for only a select few to enter the walls of an institution of education. This few will decrease, as in my province of Alberta, the government has proposed fee and tuition hikes. The hikes have gone through to only four University of Alberta programs and two University of Calgary programs. Don’t belong to a wealthy background already? Well then, I guess you’re student loan just increased by 15%. The issue resides in small numbers, seeing the number of the privilege dwindle instead of grow.
Doug Horner, the Advanced Education Ministry, does not want this issue to come up again. He wants to put it at bay as he has been quoted in the Edmonton Journal but I’m tooting my horn. I believe in education. I believe in post-secondary education as not only being a necessity for entering the workforce but as a way to unravel yourself. Universities can challenge pre-existing conceptions that you had of the world. They can create new ideas. They are the driving force of society! And to see it close its doors to those hungry for an education but without the means, well that’s just backwards. Of course this is just six programs that have been increased in fees and tuition but I haven’t even mentioned the cut-offs to students loans that were announced in our provincial budget. Our ticket has been decreased to a Willy Wonka Contest where only five lucky contestants can enter. And to be honest, I don’t see why we can’t all feast our eyes on that chocolate waterfall in person. I want us all to be like Kiki Smith or at least have the opportunity.