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Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Central Saint Martins design education

Seventy-five years of industrial and product design education that has produced game-changing ideas from laptop computers to the Routemaster bus has been awarded a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

The Prize recognises the far-reaching contributions to the UK’s economy and social wellbeing made by BA Product Design and MA Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins, part of University of the Arts London.

Priestman-Goode design

Priestman-Goode design

First taught in 1938 as Design for Light Industry, the subject has evolved to focus as much on tackling social, environmental and quality of life issues as on developing new products.

Welcoming the recognition, Programme Director of Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design at CSM, Nick Rhodes, says: “We have taught product and industrial design here since the 1930s, and our alumni and lecturers continue to lead the profession, shaping the designed environment internationally, crossing all sectors from consumer electronics to furniture, transport systems to domestic appliances, services to social enterprise. In fact, our undergraduate offering has produced more Royal Designers for Industry in this discipline than any other course in the world.

“At Central Saint Martins we have always striven to produce product and industrial design graduates with great skill and creative ambition, people who will make real and positive impact in the world, and it is absolutely fantastic to be recognised for our achievement by this incredibly prestigious award which identifies our work and the profound impact of our discipline on the creative economy of the United Kingdom and beyond.”

Sebastian Conran Any Way Up Cup

Sebastian Conran Any Way Up Cup

Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor of University of the Arts London, adds:

“I’m delighted for our staff, students and graduates that our excellence in industrial and product design has been recognised in this way. What they do fundamentally changes how we experience the world – how we communicate and socialise, how we work, how we engage politically, what our homes look and feel like. It’s this applied creativity that underpins all sectors of the UK economy, generates employment and attracts investment. I’m very proud that UAL is at the heart of it.”

Engagement with the creative and wider industries is a fundamental part of the courses, and students learn through working on live briefs with real clients. Projects have included working with Transport for London on reducing bicycle theft through better design to partnering with the London Borough of Camden on its Green Camden initiative to explore how design can reduce carbon emissions. Other industry partners include Absolut Vodka, Bloomberg, Christian Dior, GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft and Nespresso.

Joseph Joseph kitchenware

Joseph Joseph kitchenware

Jeremy Till, Pro Vice-Chancellor of UAL and Head of Central Saint Martins, says:

“A big emphasis for students on these courses is on learning to ask better questions and recognise better answers. We want to nurture professionals who can rethink what individuals and companies want to achieve and how they can achieve it, and who can generate innovation rather than simply anticipating and planning for it. Industry partners want to work with us because it’s exactly that approach that keeps them ahead of the curve.”

Graduates from the courses include Bill Moggridge, who designed the first portable computer, Douglas Scott, responsible for the style of London’s iconic Routemaster bus, and Paul Priestman and Nigel Goode, who have worked with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains, and are now focused on designing a concept capsule for World View that will take passengers on balloon flights to the edge of the earth.

Current student projects include the Metabin designed by MA Industrial Design student Fernanda Costa, a small-scale home anaerobic digester that can ‘eat’ household waste such as food and cardboard and transform it into energy. She now works as Industrial Designer at start-up Loowatt, a waterless toilet system that turns human waste into energy and fertiliser.

See a gallery of student work from MA Industrial Design here and BA Product Design here.

Metabin by Fernanda Costa

Metabin by Fernanda Costa

Ten Royal Designers for Industry for product or industrial design are UAL graduates, over half the awards for this subject area.

Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are awarded every two years as part of the honours system to universities and colleges judged to be making an outstanding contribution to the intellectual, economic, cultural and social life of the nation. The prizewinners were announced on 21 November at St James’s Palace, and medals will be presented at Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty The Queen in February 2014.

UAL partners the RA for a night inspired by Bill Woodrow


University of the Arts London is partnering with the Royal Academy to celebrate the opening of  Bill Woodrow’s solo show with a special Friday Late at the gallery. Taking place on 22 November the night promises intriguing events throughout the magnificent building on Piccadilly, all programmed by UAL students.


The Late event promises to “redefine perceptions of sculpture through seven interactive art installations, ranging from a lego-sculpture production line to a 3-D memory map, onto which visitors can post their favourite moments from decades past.” United in their exploration of both cultural and capitalist ‘value’, the installations will engage visitors with the themes of the Bill Woodrow RA exhibition. Each installation will also present visitors with the opportunity to take part in hands-on sculpture workshops, led by UAL students.

DJs Seb Wildblood (Church/MadTech), Black Foot Phoenix (NTS) and Josh You Are (Your Mums House/Sink the Pink) will be on the decks throughout the night.


The legendary sculptor Bill Woodrow is an alumnus of both Chelsea and Central Saint Martins, having studied at both Colleges in the early seventies, and later returning as a Governor of the University. Woodrow was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1986 and has represented Britain in at a staggering number of international biennials, Sydney in 1982, Paris in 1982 and1985, and Sâo Paulo 1983 and 1991.

Comprising around 50 works, the RA exhibition spans Bill Woodrow’s entire career and explores the themes of his oeuvre from the early 1970s to the present day, highlighting his humour and inventiveness and underpinning his influential role in contemporary sculpture.

Entry to the Late event is free. The RA are offering three pairs of tickets to the exhibition on the night. Email with the subject line “UAL RA Late ticket competition” and the first three people will have tickets given to them at the event.

Find out more about the Late at the RA

RSVP on Facebook

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Towards A Progressive Arts Education

Conference and exhibition
6-8 November 2013
British Library Conference Centre

UAL is holding a major conference on inclusion, change and intervention in arts education.

The conference will focus on questions of identity experienced by students and staff, and how social justice, inclusivity and organisational culture affect the intersection of race, ethnicity, class, gender, disability, creativity in the context of curriculum discourses.

Over two days there will be contributions from key international and national academics in the field of education, the dissemination of the RAS (Retain-Achieve-Succeed) Research projects and a series of related workshop activities.

There will also be an exhibition of work that has emerged from various RAS Research projects as well as from artists working in Art Education.

The exhibition private view on the evening of the 6th November at 6.30-8.30pm will include a reading by the novelist Bernardine Evaristo.

The conference is free and places are limited.

For more information or to book, please email Suzette La Pierre on

Image: Jessica McKenzie

Image: Jessica McKenzie

Moving up – why moving image is high on the artistic agenda

**UPDATE – Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing voted film of the year by readers of the BFI’s Sight and Sound magazine. Read more from CSM here.**

Lucy Reynolds created the new MRes Art: Moving Image at Central Saint Martins – the first of its kind in the world – after realising that artist films were high on the curatorial agenda of major galleries but research wasn’t keeping up.

“If you go to the Tate, or any other gallery, you’ll see projections,” she says. “You wouldn’t have seen that 20 years ago. Think about the Turner Prize – two of the four nominated works [by CSM graduate Laure Prouvost and Tino Seghal] were in moving image. So there was an awful lot of practice but there was absolutely no discourse about it.”

Along with Lucy, staff, students and alumni across UAL are re-thinking the potential and significance of film and moving image. At London College of Communication, graduates of the MA Documentary Film are producing provocative, challenging films, such as Sahra Mosawi’s Beyond the Burqa, which looks at women living amongst the Taliban in Afghanistan. And at London College of Fashion, the MA Fashion and Film course looks at how fashion film has become a competitor to catwalk shows as a showcase for collections.

From Sahra Mosawi's Beyond The Burqa

From Sahra Mosawi’s Beyond The Burqa

Students on Lucy’s MRes Art: Moving Image course look at theory and practice in contemporary moving image, along with screenings, seminars and readings and gallery visits. The programme doesn’t only attract film-makers; it also draws in students with a background in art, criticism and curation who are looking for new ways to think about moving image.

“The tendency in artists’ film at the moment is to use research as a strong basis for the creative,” she says. “Research becomes a much more creative process.” She points to directors such as John Akomfrah and CSM lecturer Uriel Orlow, who use research to dramatic effect. Akomfrah, co-founder of the influential Black Audio Film Collective and a recent honorary doctor at University of the Arts London, is known for using archival footage to create moving, thoughtful documentaries such as Martin Luther King: Days of Hope and The Stuart Hall Project.

From John Akomfrah's Handsworth Songs

From John Akomfrah’s Handsworth Songs

The course launches at a time when documentary and fine art film are increasingly influencing each other. “Artist’s documentaries are an important strand,” says Lucy, whose own curatorial work has toured galleries across the UK, including Tate Britain, and who has published widely on the history of British cinema. “Over the past 15 years, artists are using conventions we’re used to seeing in documentary.”

Joshua Oppenheimer, who completed a PhD at Central Saint Martins, is foremost amongst a new generation of film-makers who are using fine art traditions to push documentary form. His latest acclaimed film noir documentary, The Act of Killing, blurs the line between fact and fiction. In the documentary, which was executive produced by film-maker Werner Herzog, the principal character Anwar Congo describes numbing himself with alcohol and drugs to erase his memory of the thousands of lives he took. Then he stands up and dances. Congo was one of the death squad leaders who killed more than a million Indonesians following a military coup in 1965. He re-enacts his crimes for a work the Los Angeles Times said “could well change how you view the documentary form”.


When asked for his tips for young film-makers, Oppenheimer is very clear and direct: “You need profound curiosity, and to be able to analyse what you’re doing so you don’t settle for easy answers. Second, you need the courage to imagine and do things you’ve never seen in a film. And this might sound peculiar, but it’s important to imitate. We stand on top of the research of others.”

At LCC, Pratap Rughani, course leader of MA Documentary Film, agrees that the lines between art and moving image are increasingly burred. “This is a fantastically rich time for the relationship between fine art practices,” he says. “Ten years ago, who would have predicted that gallery work would be so informed by the use of documentary approaches?”

Consider the emerging director Leila Hussain, a graduate of Pratap’s MA course. Her lyrical short film, Halfway at Sea, documents life at Beachy Head, one of the sunniest spots in Britain that happens to have the second-highest rate of suicides in the world. Hussain’s film is nominated for best student documentary at the 2013 Grierson Awards, which honour excellence in British documentary film. Halfway at Sea combines voice-overs of locals remembering the area, time-lapse shots, archival footage and even shipping forecasts to tell the story of the community.

Leila Hussain_Halfway At Sea_Poster

“It was important for me to play with the documentary form,” Hussain says, “because I was studying it so closely. During my MA I was watching so many documentaries and experimental films, as well as reading about them. It makes you want to test the boundaries for yourself.”

Hussain started the MA with no film experience. It was a way, she says, to learn practical techniques for film-making, while also learning film theory. “I was lucky enough to get a scholarship, and so it was an offer too good to refuse,” she says

It was also an opportunity to learn from fellow students, many of whom didn’t come from a film-making background: “Being at the university means you are likely to meet some talented people, and there were so many opportunity for collaboration – which is a fundamental part of film-making.”

These strands, from the intellectual adventure of research into moving image to the nuts and bolts of creating a documentary, create what is perhaps one of the broadest, most comprehensive film studies offerings at the postgraduate level in the UK. Whether it’s a documentary that blends drama with documentary or the thought leadership of those investigating the history and future of artists’ films, the moving image is moving into a new phase of diverse and dynamic expansion.

See postgraduate courses at UAL with a January 2014 start date.

Grinding the Wind: Mimi Winsor @ Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground, Chelsea College of Art & Design

Mimi Windsor

On Thursday 17th October I will be presenting a new sculptural invention titled ‘Grinding the wind’ for the ‘This is This’ Parade Ground commission 2013. As visitors enter the cobbled courtyard of Chelsea College of Art & Design, built on the former site of Millbank Prison, they will be confronted by an absurd contraption.

Taking inspiration from the Victorian penal system, I have designed a mechanical sculpture that will be propelled by ‘prisoners’ winding its mechanism during live performances. Whether you encounter the device during activation or at rest it will be an intriguing sight, a contemporary artwork that echoes the courtyard’s dark past.

All welcome to the PRIVATE VIEW on THURSDAY 17th OCTOBER (6pm-7:30pm) with live performances at 6PM and 7PM.

The show runs from Thursday 17th October – Sunday 3rd November with live performances on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30am and 2pm.

Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, SW1P 4JU.

UAL staff call for proposals! 2014 Learning &Teaching Day

UAL 2014 Learning and Teaching Day

Date: 15 January 2014
Venue: Chelsea College of Art and Design
Theme: Crossing Borders: Enhancing Teaching and Learning at UAL

Call for workshop/paper proposals – deadline 14 October 2013

The Centre for Learning and Teaching in Art and Design (CLTAD) invites UAL colleagues to submit proposals to present at the 2014 Learning and Teaching day. This year’s theme, ‘Crossing Borders’ will explore how collaboration, in its many forms, can support students’ learning. For more information, and to submit a proposal, visit the 2014 Learning and Teaching Day website

Welcome to UAL’s new website

Welcome to University of the Arts London’s new website – bringing together the six Colleges that make up the University into a single digital space where users can easily browse all the news and activities from across UAL.

At the same time, the distinct personality of each College has been emphasised by the individual design of each College section within the site – from London College of Fashion’s classic, image-led minimalism to the vibrant, gritty urban cool of London College of Communication.

Central Saint Martins new web presence

Central Saint Martins’ new web presence

With ever more people checking in with the University while they are on the move, the site is designed to be accessed primarily through mobile devices like smartphones and iPads – though people using desktop and laptop computers will not be disadvantaged.

Highlights include a new, advanced course finder tool to help future students find their perfect course.

“UAL is a community made up of six Colleges with unique heritage, specialisms and relationships across the cultural and creative sectors,” says Frances Corner, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of London College of Fashion, who led the web project. “We need a website that is flexible enough to show our multiple personalities as well as one that reflects cohesion and offers accessible functionality.

“I’m very pleased with what we have achieved so far, and I hope that everyone who comes to the site will share their views so we can ensure its continued development.”

Brainstorming for the new web design

Brainstorming for the new web design

The next stage of the website redevelopment will include the creation of a new postgraduate community area and a review of Showtime, which has proved a critical tool for students and graduates to profile their work and find employment and opportunities.

To tell us what you think about the new website, fill in the questionnaire here.