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University of Arts London take over shop units across Central London

An innovative partnership between businesses and the renowned arts colleges, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts, University of the Arts London (UAL), has enabled this year’s Graduate Showcase to ‘take over’ a number of retail units and other key locations in central London. 

More than 100 students from the BA Costume for Theatre and Screen, BA Production Arts for Screen and BA Theatre Design courses have their final degree pieces exhibited in 30 sites across the City of London (in the EC Partnerships tower cluster area and Cheapside) and also in the Northbank (mainly in sites along the Strand).

Work on display includes full costumes for productions such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Wicked and Woman in Black, realistic and intricate special effects models, set design maquettes and props and boards detailing the creative process, all highlighting the talents of the students.

Highlights include:

  • At Canon Place, 78 Canon Street, work from all 3 courses is visible from the street in an impressive display. Pieces include a marionette theatre and mannequins with costumes for La Belle et La Bete, Wicked and the Wizard of Oz and special effects models.
  • At One New Change shopping centre, the windows of 3 retail units will show costumes, designs and a floor-to-ceiling exhibition of multiple set design visuals.
  • In Victoria, costumes on display include entries for this year’s Golden Shears tailoring competition and a reproduction of a Marianne Faithful suit from the 60s.
  • At Strand Palace, students have transformed the exterior units into a breath-taking exhibition for passers-by, that showcases the very best skills and talent from all three courses.  Works on display include an array of colourful costumes, vibrant headdresses, a model making desk that features the set for Mojo for the Royal Court downstairs, technical drawings and set design projects from the BA Production Arts for Screen – all visible from the street outside the hotel.

The project activates some of the central London spaces now vacant as a result of the COVID pandemic and its impact on retail and hospitality, providing an attractive welcome for visitors and workers as they start to return to London. It also gives the students a high-profile and easily accessible platform to showcase their skills and expertise. COVID restrictions have limited the ability for the students to exhibit at the college both last year and this year.

The project was developed by the Cheapside Business Alliance, the EC Partnership and the Northbank BID – business collectives working to enhance their local areas and drive local economic growth. In addition to retail units, which includes sites at the historic Leadenhall Market and Paternoster Square, the Strand Palace Hotel and Coutts Bank have also opened up some of their public areas to showcase work.

A list of all locations / map can be found at:

Charlotte Fletcher, Chair of the Cheapside Business Alliance said:

“It’s fantastic to be able to support the college students and bring some of their amazing creations to Cheapside. As we see workers and visitors returning to London we want to provide the very best welcome possible and this project with UAL is a great example of how creative partnerships can transform the City.”

Andy Hicks, Chair of the Northbank BID said:

“Providing an outstanding city experience is going to be crucial as the recovery continues, and enlivening our neighbourhoods, collaborating with cultural partners and offering compelling new things to see and do all have a part to play. We are proud to host the students and their work in the Northbank and hope our community of workers and visitors enjoy this unique exhibition.”

Andrew Reynolds, Chair of the EC Partnership said:

“Culture is an essential part of our ambition to diversify the City and we are keen to connect people to cultural activities in innovative and creative ways. This terrific project with UAL, showcasing the huge talents of the students, is a great example of how the arts can animate our spaces and enhance the experience of being in the City.”

Speaking about the project, David Crow, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of Colleges for Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon, said:

“I am enormously proud of our graduating students who have worked to achieve so much in what has been a very challenging time. All of us at UAL are delighted that people in London can see their creative work on show and celebrate their achievements. I am also pleased our students can take part in this opportunity to highlight London’s role as a leading cultural centre and an incubator of the next generation of talented creatives.”