Manchester University ask Whitworth Art Gallery director 'to leave' after Palestine solidarity exhibition

Manchester University ask Whitworth Art Gallery director 'to leave' after Palestine solidarity exhibition
2 min read
23 February, 2022
Manchester University has asked Alistair Hudson to step down from his role as Whitworth Art Gallery's director, after the inclusion of a statement of 'solidarity' in one of the gallery's exhibitions.
Manchester University reportedly asked the Whitworth Art Gallery director to step down [Getty]

The University of Manchester has reportedly asked the director of the affiliated Whitworth Art Gallery to leave his post after a statement of solidarity with Palestine, which was removed, from an exhibition, The Guardian reported.

The university reportedly made the proposition to Alistair Hudson following alleged pressure from UK Lawyers For Israel (UKLFI) after Forensic Architecture -  a research agency  - showed support for the Palestinian "liberation struggle" in their Cloud Studies exhibition at the gallery, according to the British paper.

The statement - deemed "inflammatory" by pro-Israel critics - was removed from the exhibition last August, when Forensic Architecture demanded the closure of their entire exhibition, before the university reversed their decision to showcase "different perspectives".

"Alistair turned the Whitworth into an art space where the important questions of our time could be asked. His sacking is the last in series of bullying actions by the University... which initially aimed at silencing our solidarity with Palestinians," British-Israeli Forensic Architecture founder Eyal Weizman told The Guardian.

Forensic Architecture's pro-Palestinian statement in Cloud Studies - their first exhibition in Manchester - read: "We honour the courage of Palestinians who continue to document and narrate events on the ground and to struggle against this violence, apartheid and colonization".

UKLFI reportedly suggested the university should take disciplinary action, inferring that Hudson did not establish "accuracy and legalities of the work presented" in the exhibition.

Earlier this month, Amnesty International released a report concluding that Israel engages in "the crime of apartheid", which a former Israeli Supreme Court judge agreed with, declaring his country "an apartheid regime".

NGO Human Rights Watch also said Israel's bombing of Gaza last May "apparently amount to war crimes".

The New Arab contacted the University of Manchester, the Whitworth Art Gallery and UK Lawyers For Israel for comment but had not received a response at the time of writing.