Trouble at Bilgi VCD Istanbul
Three of our colleagues, Professor Ihsan Derman, Ali Peksen and Ahmet Atif Akin at the Istanbul Bilgi University were sacked recently in relation to a student’s final thesis titled “The Porn Project”, which has caused stir in Turkish media, and appears a harsh violation of academic freedom.
Bilgi VCD was one of our main collaborators during 2009 for the inaugural PixelIST event, one of the nodes in the global Pixelache network. We were fascinated by the enthusiasm and co-operation of the staff and students of the faculty and enjoyed the fruitful academic and critical discourses and activities at the campus.
We valued the freedom and respect among the students and faculty members and still consider it crucial in order to achieve the ambitious academic missions, including the freedom to teach and communicate facts, ideas and theories without fear of institutional censorship or discipline. Hence we are appalled to hear how the three staff members got their notice without any reaction time and without any real violation of their scholarly duties.
A study of pornography-related material is a part of various academic disciplines, including sociology, gender studies and visual culture. Therefore it is striking to ban such thematics in the faculty of Visual Communication Design and Photography and Video at Bilgi University. Banning of any academic discipline seems to fall in with other, frequently appearing cases of neo-conservative tendencies in Turkey.
We hope this unjust situation is investigated and resolved by an unbiased organ.
To learn more..
Communication shared by Ahmet Atif Akin to Spectre mailing list on 12.1.2011.
For further background information on the case: Pornographic Movie - A Slightly Different Graduate Thesis
Campaign Statement with Regard to the Developments at the Departments of Visual Communication Design and Photography and Video at İstanbul Bilgi University: http://www.tepkivecagri.com/