Protest over Theresa May’s portrait at Oxford University
Students raised concerns about the PM’s approach to immigration.
A portrait of Theresa May has been removed from the walls of Oxford University’s geography department after students daubed critical messages around it.
The photograph of the Prime Minister, who read the subject at St Hugh’s College, featured in a display about high-achieving alumnae.
But a Twitter campaign under the banner “Not All Geographers” called for the image to be taken down.
Students raised concerns about the Windrush fiasco and the “hostile environment for immigrants”.
#NotAllGeographers have creatively intervened for geographers everywhere to challenge the installation of a Theresa May portrait in Oxford Geography without consultation of the student body (at least). This is unacceptable and does little to inspire confidence in critical thought pic.twitter.com/HqwMqaO56O— NotAllGeographers (@NGeographers) May 5, 2018
Messages were pinned up around the picture saying: “Let in every refugee. Throw the Tories in the sea,” and suggesting the department was a “hostile environment”.
Oxford University said the portrait would go back up in a way that would prevent messages being plastered around it, and it was not removed in solidarity with the protests.
The Not All Geographers account said its demand was “not about making others think in the ‘right’ way” but raised concerns about having a sitting Prime Minister “celebrated in such a way”.
“How can you challenge Windrush as an academic but institutionally celebrate @theresa_may?!” it tweeted.
(Not so) Great to see @theresa_may placed alongside Doreen Massey in @oxfordgeography @UniofOxford, apparently one of the best alumnae we have. I don't really wish to celebrate a hostile environment for immigrants, if I'm honest. pic.twitter.com/dJa3v31ZYA— Andrew Dwyer (@andrewcdwyer) May 1, 2018
Mrs May’s portrait featured in a photo mosaic of more than 150 geography alumnae at the School of Geography and the Environment at the university last week.
It was placed next to the late Marxist geographer Doreen Massey.
The display lines the window and walls of one of the school’s stairwells and the images were nominated by current and former members of the department.
Claire Hann, the school’s equality and diversity officer, said the aim had been to “celebrate the successes of our women students” and “inspire our current students”.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said it was a matter for the university.
An Oxford University spokesman said: “The portrait was being increasingly obscured by posters bearing mainly humorous satirical messages.
“It has now been taken down and will be re-displayed so it can be seen as intended.
“Mrs May was included in a series of portraits to celebrate outstanding female graduates of the School of Geography and the Environment.
“We remain proud of her success and that of all the graduates celebrated in the display.”