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Robin Clarke (University of the Arts: London College of Fashion)

25 January 2024

Election address

Our Union desperately needs new voices and a new vision. I would like your support to become a new voice on our NEC arguing for a Union that is strategic, determined and effective, that is fuelled by respect, solidarity, care and compassion.  

About me 

I have worked in HE for 10+ years in academic and ARPS roles at pre- and post-92 institutions: University of Leicester, DMU, and now as an Open Learning Designer at UAL. I have been actively involved in branches, serving as ARPS representative and departmental rep at Leicester for several years. Before 2012, I worked for a museum on a decade-long string of precarious contracts. I have, therefore, broad experience of the issues that face staff in different roles, at different institutions and those facing precarity. 

Central to everything I do is my passion for equality and human rights. We must keep this central to our work and make it easier for people from marginalised communities to engage with our Union.  

I proudly stand with all those experiencing inequality and discrimination. In particular, non-binary and trans siblings are facing an onslaught of hate - I stand in solidarity with them as they have always stood with us at the forefront of our LGBTQ+ liberation movement. 

About our Union  

Our union needs greater vision. Our NEC must work collaboratively and productively with the General Secretary and UCU staff to develop a long-term strategy that maximises our power to win disputes and effect change.  

UCU's decision making structures must become more transparent. Members should see more of how decisions are made and by whom. We must overhaul our processes to deliver accountability to members. 

We must listen to our members and understand what they want from their Union. Members are often overworked and stressed, often making engaging with union structures difficult and burdensome on top of existing commitments. We need to offer members different ways to engage and ensure we hear the voices of as many members as possible. This engagement should include, but must move beyond, traditional branch-level structures.  

Our NEC needs to be strategic, creative and proactive, but pragmatic and mindful of the impact of industrial action on our members and students. We should not shy away from challenging our employers, but must consider carefully when how to deploy our industrial muscle, and take steps to recruit more members, increase our workplace density and chance of effecting change. 

I am proud to stand as a member of UCU Commons - see 

I'm supporting Jo Grady for re-election as General Secretary and David Hunter as UCU Vice-President. If elected, I'll work with them for a stronger, more forward-looking union. To see who else is committed to this, visit 

Last updated: 25 January 2024