Published on February 26, 2014 | by Kate Jackson


Poster withdrawn for ‘glorifying imperialism’

Courtauld Insitute of Arts Lads Society poster that caused the controversy

This digital ‘Curry Club’ poster was accused of glorifying imperialism and creating a more alienated environment for non-white students. [London Student BETA]

University of London’s Courtauld Institute of Art has been criticised for circulating digital poster that some students felt “glorified imperialism”.

The poster, advertising a curry club as part of the Courtauld Lads’ Society, invited “members from all corners of the British Empire” to attend the night in Brick Lane. It contained various colonial symbols, with Union Jack bunting, and the words “God Save the King” printed across the bottom.

According to the college’s website, “the infamous Lads’ Society is known for its boisterous pub crawls and curry club nights”.

South Asian student Umber Ghauri, founder of the Courtauld equalities society, spotted the poster and complained to the student union, saying that the poster was “racist,” and “glorified British Imperial rule, creating a more alienated environment for non-white students.”


Following Ghauri’s complaints, the poster was quickly removed, and the SU president apologised:

“The distribution of the poster on the Courtauld email network was an oversight on my part, but we are also looking to ensure that societies who use offensive material externally are unable to affiliate themselves to the student union.

“The tone and symbolism is abhorrent – the insensitivity to and parody of historic events presents racially insensitive opinions. I am extremely sorry to any student who has been caused offence, and will make sure to review future society material closely.”

Jenni Bond, a spokesperson for the college, told Arts London News: “The Courtauld Institute does not tolerate any form of discrimination and has very clear procedures in place to deal with such a matter. It is regrettable that the student concerned was distressed.”

Arts London News recently reported that a large proportion of international students felt unwelcome in the UK, according to a NUS survey.



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