Dissident Author Opens Gallery In Oxford

By Jon Pratty, Editor, 24 Hour Museum | 15 May 2002

Left: gallery owner Andrew Malcolm says the venue has been very busy, with many visitors expressing sympathy with his views.

In a challenge to university authorities in Oxford, dissident philosopher Andrew Malcolm has opened a city centre art gallery, Akme Expression, with a rather provocative new 'university' attached.

Visitors to the gallery at 12 Broad Street can attempt to purchase honours from the new establishment. Presidency of Trickery College will cost £12,500 - which just happens to be the amount in legal costs now owed by Malcolm to Oxford University following a long running legal dispute over publication of his critically acclaimed book 'Making Names.'

Right: The Empty Chair, 2002, Andy Malcolm et al.

Also on offer is the Mastership of Broke College for £500 and a first class degree in any subject for £200.

In March 2002 two members of staff from Pembroke College, Oxford 'stepped down' after a Sunday newspaper accused them of offering student places in return for substantial cash donations.

Malcolm has been locked in his bitter dispute with Oxford University Press for twelve years. Judgement in the court case, thought to be one of the most important test cases in British publishing law, was recently made in favour of OUP.

According to the author, during court negotiations over OUP's £12,500 costs, Malcolm offered to raise the money 'in full and up front' provided the university use it to endow a lectureship in publishing law. The university, according to the author, was "not interested in the proposal."

The author intends to fight on, broadening his attack on the academic establishment with swipes at aspects of the charitable status of Oxford University Press in this country and abroad.

The Gallery is leased on a short-term tenancy from Oxford City Council and is sited in the heart of academic Oxford, opposite Balliol and Trinity, near the Martyrs' memorial, close to the Bodleian Library and 'The Oxford Story' tourist attraction.

According to Malcolm, the shop presents 'a gallery of Oxford shame' in the lower ground floor and basement (actually under the historic and ancient Broad Street.)

With the help of a small band of artists and helpers sympathetic to his ideals, Malcolm constructed an installation called AKME UNIVERSITY, or 'Another Oxford Story' of tableaux of Oxford through the ages, from Frideswide to the modern don.

In an effort to raise funds towards his costs, the author turned gallery owner is also selling copies of (now self-published) Making Names and its follow up, The Remedy, from the gallery.

Akme Expression Gallery, 12 Broad Street, Oxford.

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