UAL Chancellor Grayson Perry and Vice-Chancellor Nigel Carrington were joined by hundreds of supporters, staff past and present and students as they hosted a reception on 5 March to mark the official re-launch of Camberwell College of Arts following its two-year redevelopment.

Camberwell College of the Arts’ £69million redevelopment

The redevelopment is part of a wider University of the Arts London regeneration investment of £440 million across its London sites, which includes Chelsea College of Arts’ move to Pimlico (2005), Central St Martins’ move to King’s Cross (2011), and the proposed new London College of Communication site at Elephant and Castle.

Camberwell College of Arts restored 1970s facade and now includes a fully accessible entrance and brand new gallery, Camberwell Space

The restored 1970s facade and now includes a fully accessible entrance and brand new gallery, Camberwell Space

The redevelopment has refurbished much of the 1970s building and created a new 60,000- square feet extension. Together they house an enhanced library, new galleries, a large lecture theatre and creative studios offering first-class facilities for students and staff spanning ceramics, illustration, graphic design, painting, photography and sculpture, among others. The existing site has been further expanded to offer 264-rooms for student accommodation in a dedicated new building, making it the only London-based art/design college with an on-site residential block. The development has been designed by RIBA award-winning Stephen Marshall Architects.

“Art gives us fulfillment”- Grayson Perry

The event was attended by the staff and students past and present, local residents, journalists, politicians and and a whole host of well-known artists and figures from the art world.

UAL Chancellor was joined by first year BA Illustration students (lr); Student ambassadors (r) welcomed guest and led tours on the night

UAL Chancellor was joined by first year BA Illustration students (lr); Student ambassadors (r) welcomed guest and led tours on the night

After being welcomed by UAl Chancellor Nigel Carrington, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of College, Professor David Crow and Associate Dean, Amanda Jenkins, guests heard from UAL Chancellor Grayson Perry .

Grayson Perry, who has been University of the Arts London’s chancellor since 2015, is a Turner-prize winning artist and widely regarded as one of the most important visual artists working in the UK today.  In a passionate address to guests, Grayson spoke about his belief that an arts education should be available to everyone.

UAL Chancellor Grayson Perry addressing guest (l) and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Crow being interviewed by reporters from London Live

UAL Chancellor Grayson Perry addressing guest (l) and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Crow being interviewed by reporters from London Live

The Chancellor said, “Here we are to celebrate making stuff and taking art seriously. Art gives us fulfilment and meaning in our lives.”

“This is a delightful space in a thriving community which will enable students to realise their potential and to craft, create and take risks. Every artist needs the right environment to be able to nurture and cultivate their talents and I’m sure these excellent facilities will support our students as they develop their individual style and technique. The redevelopment of Camberwell College of Arts will also act as a touchpoint with the local community – a way of welcoming in inspired artists, young and old, through our doors and into our creative family.”

Tours of the new spaces and Celebrate Camberwell film

After the speeches guests embarked on tours of the new teaching spaces, library, public gallery, workshops and accommodation block, meeting staff and students on the way.

The brand new lecture theatre (l) and the brand new academic block (r)

The brand new lecture theatre (l) and the brand new academic block (r)

Student work was on display along the routes and in the student-led gallery and some guests joined in with craft-activities making badges and posing for portraits.

The Mayor of Southwark , Cllr Charlie Smith with students (l) and (r) guest admiring student works

The Mayor of Southwark , Cllr Charlie Smith with students (l) and guests admiring student works (r) 

The 1, 300 feet brand new Camberwell Space (l) and The Learning Zone (r)

The 1, 300 feet newly opened Camberwell Space (l) and The Learning Zone (r)

Celebrate Camberwell – the film

Screens in the canteen and reception area showed time-lapse footage of the building works and recent student fashion shows. Down in the brand new lecture theatre, guests viewed a specially-produced film about the redevelopment which included staff and student reflections of life at Camberwell and its redeveloped sited.

Lighting installations

To mark the occasion, the building’s façade was illuminated with a striking lighting installation designed by fine art alumni Emma and Brendan Smith, of Insight Lighting. Emma and Brenda based the design on the CYMK colour model in a nod to Camberwell’s long association with print and graphic design. They also lit the courtyard adjacent to the new building with a series of projections of student work onto the panels of Gardens House, Camberwell’s brand new accommodation block.

Come and see for yourself

Check out more photos from the Celebrate Camberwell event and some of facilities and spaces at Camberwell College of Arts.

If you would like to come and see the building for yourself, visit our events page to find our more about what is going on in the college. As well as our Open House weekend in June and the summer shows, we have a packed schedule of year-round events in our public programme.

Camberwell Space, which is open from Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm and on Saturdays between 12-4pm, is already garnering a lot of acclaim for its bold programming and is quickly establishing itself as an important new venue on the London art scene.

We hope to see you soon.