Trenton Oldfield Letter

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Highlights and Excess by (Metod)

(The letter reads OK. You will see highlighted items I consider either irrelevant or excessive. I also think the letter repeats the same things in several occasions, which makes it twice the length it should be.)

9 July 2013

RE: Mr. Trenton Oldfield, Spousal Visa Application Appeal

To whom it may concern at the Home Office,

We are a 10-year old, research cluster known as Critical Practice, hosted by Chelsea College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London. Critical Practice includes artists, academics, researchers and others with various jobs who are together also members of the UK public.

Having critically considered the news of Mr. Oldfield's visa application being declined, as members of the public whom this concerns, we write to i) contribute a brief overview of our experience working with Mr. Oldfield on these two occasions, ii) explain what this work is about and its public contribution and iii) offer our perspective on both experiences and Mr. Oldfield's contributions.

Critical Practice has worked directly with hundreds of artists and cultural producers in recent years and from this experience and our interest in 'the public' for some of these years as a focus of our creative and research work we feel we are in a uniquely qualified position to offer the Home Office and any readers of this letter our own perspective on Mr. Trenton Oldfield's contribution to the public good on the basis of work we have shared.

We recently became aware that an application for a spousal visa for Mr. Trenton Oldfield was declined. We know Mr. Oldfield professionally as we have worked with him twice in recent years on large cultural public projects in the UK. We also know of some of his activities second-hand, which you may also be aware of, through the press, though as we do not have a first hand account of the material considerations of these, we will not comment or pass judgment on them here. Others have elsewhere. (The highlighted text is irrelevant as we are not even considering bringing his criminal act(s) up in this letter. Same goes for the "peaceful", "non-legalistic", "non-political" below. CP is not an activist group of active protesters, or if so those individuals are activists outside CP. Unless I am mistaken in which case we need to discuss this topic in one of our meetings.) What is good for the public is within our interest and, in our view, our self-restrained remit.

First, in 2010 year, Mr. Oldfield contributed professionally to Parade and the Market of Ideas, hosted by Chelsea College of Art and Design, in the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground. As you may be aware, this space is of historic significance (having been used within healthcare, the military, and higher education for many purposes) and is of considerable monetary property value. It is a place the public regularly passes through, positioned directly aside Tate Britain, overlooking the Thames. (Not necessary) In our view, this week long series of events and the book, video, and talks that it generated have been beneficial to members of the public in their educational value, cultural contribution and in making a research contribution of original, new academic work on the topic of 'The Public'. Parade was the culmination of several years work by dozens of individuals including research into what is meant by 'The Public' today in Great Britain, and much consideration of how much of the public would get to see the work exhibited and events coordinated there. It was extensively documented in the book titled Parade. which sold out quickly though we can arrange a copy if you think this might be of interest. (Irrelevant!) The Parade event and the book reached and affected many different people. We would note in the context of this letter, they were A) peaceful, non-political, (Irrelevant!) artistic contributions to London's cultural scene and to the public, who benefited from the free opportunities that they create, B) they were made for the public to participate in, see and benefit from, and C) Parade, and it follows the public which Parade benefited, was significantly contributed to by Mr. Oldfield in his role as an invited artist.

Second, in 2010, Critical Practice participated in a week-long exhibition and series of events known as TiNaG (This is Not a Gateway) that Mr Oldfield co-organises each year in London. TiNaG brings together many artists and cultural producers to exhibit their work to the public, produces a book from the event, and organises a programme of presentations and discussions about numerous topics of social relevance and contemporary interest. In our view, TiNaG makes a significant contribution to the cultural capital and creative socially-responsible entrepreneurship that are among London's leading attributes and attractions to those living and visiting this great, thriving city. From our experience, as admittedly only some of the thousands of visitors from the public and contributors to TiNaG and its book and other work, TiNaG made a peaceful (Irrelevant!), thought generating, contribution to cultural and educational events that make London an interesting and exciting city to live and work in.

In sum, from an admittedly public-oriented and non-legalistic (Irrelevant!) perspective, we feel the Home Office may wish to reconsider the overall net contribution Mr. Oldfield makes to the UK because in our two experiences working on projects as cultural producers that Mr. Oldfield participated in and co-organised, respectively, he made a substantial, positive contribution. Both events were highly acclaimed, by a range of individuals, other groups, and historically significant institutions. In these experiences, Parade and TiNaG, we have seen how Mr. Oldfield has contributed to the public's benefit and exhibited a genuine interest in areas that, in our view, are good for Great Britain's public.

We thank you for considering the views expressed in this letter, by our cluster as members of the public, and in particular, the well-documented events and information which support those views that we have cited so that you may investigate them further, should you wish. We hope you will raise these points in an appeal on Mr. Oldfield's spousal visa application decision and that you will kindly forward a copy of this letter to any persons involved in that decision making process, so they may consider these points raised, alongside other information that may be available then, (Repeating) in order to achieve a fair balanced decision through a broad and first-hand, professionally informed evaluation.