Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

University of the Arts London

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Sir John Sorrell

18,205 HE (2015/16)

Grayson Perry


Administrative staff
2,195 (2011)

+44 20 7514 6000

Nigel Carrington

University of the Arts London

Former name
London Institute (1986-2004)

272 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EY, UK

Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion

City - University of London, Imperial College London, University College London, Nottingham Trent University, SOAS - University of London


About university of the arts london ual

University of the Arts London is Europe's largest university based in London, England. It specialises in art, design, fashion and the performing arts. It is a collegiate university; a federation of six world-renowned colleges: Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Arts, the London College of Communication, the London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Arts.


Students march against university of the arts london


The university has its origins in seven previously independent art, design, fashion and media colleges, which were brought together for administrative purposes to form the London Institute in 1986. They were: Saint Martin's School of Art; Chelsea School of Art; the London College of Printing; the Central School of Art and Design; Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts; the College for Distributive Trades; and the London College of Fashion. The colleges were originally established from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century.

Under the Education Reform Act 1988, the London Institute became a single legal entity, and the first court of governors were instated the following year in 1989. The first appointed Rector was John McKenzie. The London Institute was incorporated as a higher education body in 1991 and was later granted academic degree awarding powers in 1993 by the Privy Council. Will Wyatt was appointed Chairman of Governors during the same year. Sir William Stubbs was appointed the second Rector after the retirement of McKenzie in 1996. A coat of arms was granted to the London Institute in 1998. Lord Stevenson was appointed the first chancellor in 2000.

On the retirement of Sir William Stubbs, Sir Michael Bichard was appointed as Rector in 2001 and encouraged the London Institute to apply for university status. The London Institute originally chose not to apply because its individual colleges were internationally recognised in their own right. In 2003, the London Institute received Privy Council approval for university status and was renamed University of the Arts London in 2004.

Wimbledon School of Art joined the university as a sixth college in 2006, and was renamed Wimbledon College of Art. Sir John Tusa was appointed as the new Chairman, replacing Will Wyatt, in 2007. Nigel Carrington was appointed rector in 2008, replacing Sir Michael Bichard.

From 2008 to 2010, staff were made redundant and courses closed. At the London College of Communication, where 16 of the 19 courses were discontinued in 2009, staff resigned and students demonstrated and staged a sit-in in protest at the cuts in budget and staff numbers.

Central Saint Martins moved to a purpose-built complex in King's Cross in June 2011.

In 2015 Grayson Perry was appointed to succeed Kwame Kwei-Armah as chancellor of the university.


The University of the Arts London has six constituent colleges.

Camberwell College of Arts

Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts was established by the Technical Education Board of the London County Council on 10 January 1898, in a building beside the South London Art Gallery, with the financial support of John Passmore Edwards and following advocacy by Edward Burne-Jones, Lord Leighton, Walter Crane and G.F. Watts. The subjects taught were mainly technical until a Fine Arts department was established between the Wars. The school became part of the London Institute in January 1986, and was renamed Camberwell College of Arts in 1989.

Central Saint Martins

Central Saint Martins College was formed in 1989 by the merger of Saint Martin's School of Art, founded 1854, and the Central School of Art and Design, founded as the Central School of Arts and Crafts in 1896. Drama Centre London, founded in 1963, became part of Central Saint Martins in 1999, and the Byam Shaw School of Art, founded in 1910, was merged into CSM in 2003. The school was renamed Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in 2011.

Chelsea College of Arts

The Chelsea School of Art originated as part of the South-Western Polytechnic, which opened in 1895 and in 1922 became the Chelsea Polytechnic. In 1957 the science department of the polytechnic was renamed Chelsea College of Science and Technology; the School of Art became independent from it at that time, and merged with the Regent Street Polytechnic School of Art to create the Chelsea School of Art in 1964. In 1975 Chelsea merged with Hammersmith College of Art and Building, founded in 1891 by Francis Hawke and taken over by the London County Council in 1904. The Chelsea School of Art became part of the London Institute in 1986 and was renamed Chelsea College of Art and Design in 1989.

London College of Communication

The London College of Printing descends from the St Bride's Foundation Institute Printing School, which was established in November 1894 under the City of London Parochial Charities Act of 1883. The Guild and Technical School opened in Clerkenwell in the same year, but moved a year later to Bolt Court, and became the Bolt Court Technical School; it was later renamed the London County Council School of Photoengraving and Lithography. St Bride's came under the control of the London County Council in 1922 and was renamed the London School of Printing and Kindred Trades; in 1949 it was merged with the LCC School of Photoengraving and Lithography, forming the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts. In 1960 this was renamed the London College of Printing. The printing department of the North Western Polytechnic was merged into it in 1969. The London College of Printing became part of the London Institute in 1986.

The Westminster Day Continuation School opened in 1921, and was later renamed the College for Distributive Trades. It became part of the London Institute in 1986. In 1990 it merged with the London College of Printing to form the London College of Printing and Distributive Trades, which in 1996 was renamed the London College of Communication.

London College of Fashion

The London College of Fashion derives from three trade schools for women, the Shoreditch Technical Institute Girls Trade School, founded in 1906, Barrett Street Trade School, founded in 1915, and Clapham Trade School, founded in 1927; all were established by the Technical Education board of the London County Council to train skilled workers for the clothing and hairdressing trades. The Barrett Street school became a technical college after the 1944 Education Act and was renamed Barrett Street Technical College. Shoreditch also became a technical college; in 1955 it merged with Clapham Trade School to form Shoreditch College for the Garment Trades. In 1966 it was renamed Shoreditch College for the Clothing Industry and in 1967 merged with Barrett Street Technical College to become the London College for the Garment Trades, which in 1974 was renamed the London College of Fashion. It became part of the London Institute in January 1986. In August 2000 it merged with Cordwainers College, founded as the Leather Trade School by the Leathersellers and Cordwainers Company in 1887 in Bethnal Green, and later renamed the Cordwainers Technical College and, in 1991, Cordwainers College.

Wimbledon College of Arts

The foundation of Wimbledon College of Art goes back to 1890, when an art class for the Rutlish School for Boys was started. Between 1904 and 1920 this was housed in the Wimbledon Technical Institute in Gladstone Road. It became independent in 1930 and moved to Merton Hall Road in 1940. Theatre design was taught from 1932, and became a department in 1948. In 1993 the school, which previously had been controlled by the London Borough of Merton, was incorporated as an independent higher education institution. Wimbledon School of Art became part of University of the Arts London in 2006 and was renamed Wimbledon College of Art.


Since the university is a collegiate university, taking in a number of institutions, it is located in a number of buildings in various parts of London.

South London

  • Camberwell College of Arts has its main building on Peckham Road.
  • The London College of Communication is based at Elephant and Castle.
  • Wimbledon College of Art is based at Merton Hall Road, Wimbledon.
  • North London

  • Central Saint Martins is now located in the converted Granary Store at Kings Cross.
  • Central London

  • Chelsea College of Art and Design is located next to Tate Britain on John Islip Street in Millbank.
  • The Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon (CCW) Graduate School is located on the Millbank site
  • 272 High Holborn is the site of the students' union as well as some departments of the College of Fashion.
  • London College of Fashion has its main site at John Prince's Street, Oxford Circus.
  • West London

  • London College of Fashion has a campus at Lime Grove, Shepherd's Bush.
  • East London

  • London College of Fashion has a campus at Mare Street, Hackney.
  • London College of Fashion also has a campus at Curtain Road, Shoreditch.
  • The Cordwainers College campus, part of the London College of Fashion, is at Golden Lane, near Barbican.
  • Organisation and administration

    The University is a higher education corporation established under Section 121 of the Education Reform Act 1988 and is an exempt charity under charity legislation.

    The University's governing body is the Court of Governors, and members of the Court of Governors are the University's trustees. The Court of Governors is composed primarily of external lay members from whom its Chairman and Deputy Chairman are elected. Also included in its membership are University staff members and the President of the Student Union.


    In the financial year which ended 31 July 2015, University of the Arts London had a total income (including share of joint ventures) of £263.8 million and total expenditure of £238.5 million. Key sources of income included £197.7 million from tuition fees and education contracts, £34.3 million from Funding Council grants, £0.7 million from research grants and contracts, £1.7 million from endowment and investment income and £29.2 million from other income.

    At year end the University of the Arts London had endowments of £4.1 million.

    Partnerships and collaborations

    The University has international affiliations with institutions including the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, and the Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, where students have the opportunity to study abroad via exchange.

    The University is part of the ERASMUS programme, through which it has exchange agreements with 40 European universities and specialist institutions. Under the programme students can study abroad for a minimum of three months to a maximum of one full academic year.

    Industry partners of the University include the Body Shop, Hugo Boss, Pringle, Sony Mobile, Swarosvski, Tommy Hilfiger and Top Shop.


    The 2001 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) published results by subject area on a point scale from 1, 2, 3a, 3b, 4, 5 to 5*, the University achieved a 5 rating. In 2006–07, this rating equated to a QR grant of £8.6 million.

    In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise the Times Higher Education's RAE league tables placed the University of the Arts 44th out of 132 universities in the institution-wide table. In the 'Art and Design' subject tables the University was placed 22nd out of 72 submissions (for 'submission A' – the majority of the constituent colleges) and 23rd out of 72 submissions (for 'submission B' – Wimbledon College of Art alone). The University submitted by far the largest number of researchers in the Arts and Design subject area (237.89 full-time equivalent staff), next highest was Glasgow School of Art with only 76.85 FTE staff. More than 50 per cent of the University of the Arts' research submission was rated as world leading or internationally excellent, with 77.5 per cent recognised as internationally significant.

    The university's research outputs, many of them free to download, can also be found in the university's institutional research repository. Launched in February 2010, UAL Research Online was developed from the Kultur project, funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and was a collaboration between University of Southampton, University of the Arts London, University for the Creative Arts and the Visual Arts Data Service. It is currently the largest Creative Arts research repository in the UK.


    The University is home to 18,205 higher education students in 2015/16, including 14,800 undergraduates and 3,405 postgraduate and research students. There were 9,325 further education students.

    It is the second most popular institution in the United Kingdom for international students, with 6,100 international students and a further 2,700 from non-UK EU countries. Top non-UK national groups at the University are from mainland China, South Korea, Hong Kong, USA, India, Taiwan, Japan and Russia.

    Galleries and collections

    The University houses various archives and collections, including the Stanley Kubrick Archive, Tom Eckersley Collection, Thorold Dickinson Collection, the John Schlesinger Library and a large collection of 20th century and 21st century posters.

    Central Saint Martins has registered museum status. Its material includes historical and contemporary collections by students, staff and alumni of the college. The Platform Theatre at King's Cross provides venues for theatre productions, corporate hires and professional presentations. The Lethaby Gallery and the Window Gallery are used for exhibitions by practicising professionals and for past and present students from the college.

    Chelsea College of Art and Design has two on-site exhibition spaces. Chelsea Space is an international and interdisciplinary platform for professional practitioners to exhibit experimental curatorial projects and releases regular publications from participating authors, artists and designers. The Parade Ground, situated within the college, has been transformed into an open-air gallery which hosts events including film screenings and large scale installations. The exhibition ground had previously been used for students and professionals as an open area platform, notably artist Chris Burden's "A Flying Steamroller" in 2006.


    Many honours and awards have been received by students, staff and alumni of the six colleges. These include the BAFTA Award, BP Portrait Prize, British Fashion Designer of the Year, D&AD Student Award, Fujifilm Award, Jerwood Drawing Prize, Prince Philip Designers Prize, Saatchi Scholarship, Sunday Times Award, Academy Award and the Turner Prize.

    A Queen's Anniversary Prize was awarded to Camberwell College of Arts for the conservation of "works of art on paper" in 1996. The prize was also awarded to Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design for its contributions to the British fashion industry, and for nurturing the creativity of students, in 1998. Cordwainers College of London College of Fashion was awarded the prize for its continued excellence in shoe and accessory design, development and teaching practice in 2008. The University of the Arts London was among the twenty winners of the prize in 2013, for its "industrial and product design".

    Central Saint Martins and the London College of Communication have been awarded Skillset Media Academy status, recognizing the achievements in the area of media, interactive design and film respectively.

    Chelsea College of Arts and the London College of Fashion share the "Creative Learning in Practice Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning" (CLIP CETL). The centre is funded by the British government in recognition of the two colleges' results in developing student learning.

    Rankings and reputation

    UAL was recently ranked one of the world's top 5 universities for art and design in 2016/17 QS World University Rankings.

    UAL received an overall ranking of 67 out of 124 in the 2014 Complete University Guide league tables, down from 48th place in 2013 and 59th in the 2012 ranking. It was ranked 102nd out of 124 for graduate prospects, and 123rd out of 124 for student satisfaction with teaching.

    It was ranked 78th in the 2013 Sunday Times University Guide, compared to 70th in the 2012 ranking. In the 2012 Times Good University Guide the UAL was ranked 82nd out of 116 institutions. The UAL was ranked 31st in the 2013 Guardian University Guide and 16th out of 81 institutions in the Art and Design subject table.

    In the 2011 National Student Survey, 69 per cent of University of the Arts London students were satisfied with their experience at the university, compared to an average across all English institutions of 83 per cent. This is up from 62 per cent in 2010.

    In the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) results in 2004, Camberwell College of Arts and London College of Communication were awarded 23 out of 24 for art and design; Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and Chelsea College of Art and Design were awarded 22; London College of Fashion was awarded 21. The OFSTED report in March 2012 gave the University's further education provision an overall rating of "good".

    In 2007 BusinessWeek formed a panel of experienced consultants, academics, and executives to select the best art and design schools around the world, which featured both Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design and the London College of Communication.

    Central Saint Martins' MA Fashion is the only university course allowed its own on-schedule graduate show at London Fashion Week.

    Student life

    The University has eleven halls of residence in various parts of London, with two more to be added in September 2015.

    The University of the Arts London Students' Union (SUARTS) offers various services to students. It publishes a magazine, Less Common More Sense.

    Notable alumni

    For an extended list, view the respective article for each college.

    Alumni of Camberwell College of Arts include:

  • Samantha Cameron (former creative director of Smythson and wife of David Cameron)
  • Maggi Hambling (painter)
  • Howard Hodgkin (painter and printmaker)
  • Peter Kindersley (publisher, founder of the Dorling Kindersley publishing group)
  • Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (designer)
  • Tim Roth (actor)
  • Mia Mort (musician and designer)
  • Alumni of Chelsea College of Art and Design include:

  • Quentin Blake (illustrator and author)
  • Ralph Fiennes (film and stage actor)
  • Anish Kapoor (sculptor)
  • Ian McKay (writer)
  • Steve McQueen (artist)
  • Chris Ofili (artist)
  • Alan Rickman (actor)
  • Alexei Sayle (comedian)
  • Gavin Turk (sculptor)
  • Peter Doig (painter)
  • Alumni of Central Saint Martins include:

  • Jarvis Cocker (musician)
  • Anthony James (artist)
  • Sophia Kokosalaki (fashion designer)
  • Stella McCartney (fashion designer)
  • Alexander McQueen (fashion designer)
  • Matthew Williamson (fashion designer)
  • Alumni of the Central School of Art and Design, formerly Central School of Arts and Crafts, now part of Central Saint Martins, include:

  • Pegaret Anthony (artist)
  • Terence Conran (designer, retailer and restaurateur)
  • Lucian Freud (painter)
  • John Hurt (actor)
  • Mike Leigh (director)
  • Juan Muñoz (artist)
  • Wright and Teague (jewellers)
  • Alumni of Saint Martin's School of Art, now part of Central Saint Martins, include:

  • John Galliano (fashion designer)
  • Gilbert & George (artists)
  • Antony Gormley (sculptor)
  • Katharine Hamnett, (fashion designer)
  • Dylan Jones (journalist, Editor, GQ magazine)
  • Richard Long (artist)
  • Alumni of the Byam Shaw School of Art, now part of Central Saint Martins, include:

  • Matthew Collings (art critic and television presenter)
  • James Dyson (industrial designer, founder of Dyson)
  • Mona Hatoum (video and installation artist)
  • Alumni of Drama Centre London, now part of Central Saint Martins, include:

  • Paul Bettany (actor)
  • Pierce Brosnan (actor)
  • Simon Callow (actor)
  • Anne-Marie Duff (actress)
  • Colin Firth (actor)
  • Tara FitzGerald (actress)
  • Helen McCrory (actress)
  • John Simm (actor)
  • Penelope Wilton (actress)
  • Alumni of the London College of Communication include:

  • Paul Anderson (journalist and author)
  • Jack Bevan (Drummer for Foals)
  • Neville Brody (typographer)
  • Rebekah Brooks (newspaper editor)
  • Molly Dineen (documentary film maker)
  • Craig Doyle (TV presenter)
  • Jefferson Hack (editorial director and co-founder of Dazed & Confused)
  • Henry Holland (fashion designer, TV personality, journalist)
  • Alan Kitching Typographer
  • John Lloyd (graphic designer and co-founder of design consultancy Lloyd Northover)
  • Rut Blees Luxemburg (photographer)
  • Anthony Dod Mantle (cinematographer)
  • Rankin (fashion photographer)
  • Jane Root (controller of BBC2)
  • Charles Saatchi (advertising executive)
  • Kate Thornton (TV presenter)
  • Bonnie Wright (Actress)
  • Alumni of the London College of Fashion include:

  • Erin O'Connor (model)
  • Ioana Ciolacu (fashion designer)
  • Mich Dulce (fashion designer)
  • Kirsty Gallacher (sports presenter)
  • Bibi Russell (fashion designer)
  • Chris Liu (fashion designer)
  • Patrick Cox (footwear designer)
  • Rachel Stevens (popstar)
  • Alek Wek (model)
  • William Tempest (fashion designer)
  • Alexander McQueen (fashion designer, fashion house)
  • Alumni of Cordwainers College, part of the London College of Fashion, include:

  • Jimmy Choo (shoe designer)
  • Patrick Cox (shoe designer)
  • Beatrix Ong (shoe designer)
  • Alumni of Wimbledon College of Art include:

  • James Acheson (costume designer)
  • Jeff Beck (musician, former member of the Yardbirds)
  • Raymond Briggs (author and illustrator, including The Snowman)
  • Tony Cragg (sculptor, Turner prize winner)
  • Peter Doig (artist)
  • Sarah Greenwood (production designer)
  • Richard Hudson (stage designer)
  • Charles Knode (costume designer)
  • Phoebe Philo (fashion designer)
  • Mark Tildesley (production designer)
  • Anthony Ward (theatre designer)
  • References

    University of the Arts London Wikipedia

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