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Cecilia Wee (Royal College of Art)

25 January 2024


Election address

Our union has an urgent and significant role to play in holding education institutions to account and changing them, so that our members, colleagues and students can not only survive, but thrive.  

I advocate for free, lifelong post-16 education and am passionate about making UCU a more inclusive, accessible and stronger union that fights for all members, and wins. I am at the heart of the team reviving Royal College of Art UCU - in our local industrial action 2021-22, we won a historic agreement banning use of zero hours contracts for core teaching and secured permanent contracts for 90+ colleagues, including myself.   

If elected to NEC, a focus of my work would be tackling how the multiple crises and instabilities of climate emergency, covid, Brexit, cost of living, culture wars and populism are impacting education workers in real and tangible ways. I have seen that every part of our working lives from mental health through to pay and progression have been affected, especially so for casualised, part-time, early career, migrant, LGBTQ+, disabled, women and Black/Global Majority members.  

I would use my mandate to fight for a sustainable, equitable funding model for higher education, challenge the marketisation logic of redundancies, course closures, and surveillance and uphold academic freedom of expression.  

As a queer, mental health disabled South East Asian woman, I aim to move towards anti-oppression, racial and disability justice, organising in tandem and in solidarity with national and international student movements, campaigning groups and other trade unions.  

I would work towards increasing transparency within the union; streamlining bureaucratic processes; timely implementation of values-aligned policies; ensuring the fighting fund is healthy, and well placed to support members in disputes without delay, especially casualised members and those from marginalised backgrounds. 

My experience:  

·    Associate Lecturer in the School of Communication at the Royal College of Art. 

·    Co-Chair/co-Equalities Officer of RCA UCU (2021-ongoing).  

·    Various zero hours, fixed-term and permanent academic roles in higher education over the last 15 years.  

·    Experienced caseworker, equalities activist, campaigns coordinator and strategist 

·    Member of UCU's Black Members Standing Committee and Disabled Members Standing Committees, since 2022. 

·    Moved motions on defending arts and humanities (HE30) and improving equalities data for casework, local and national disputes (HE35) at UCU Congress 2023.  

·    Co-organiser of Defend the Arts and Humanities campaign. 

·    Outside HE, I'm an independent curator and organiser working with culture, community, health. 

·    Past governance roles include Chair, Live Art Development Agency; Council Member, Arts Council England London Area Council.  

I'm delighted to be standing for NEC alongside many skilled and dedicated candidates, including Rhian Keyse, Marian Mayer and Sam Morecroft. I support Vicky Blake's campaign for GS, and I am not part of any UCU faction.

Last updated: 25 January 2024