A-Z of Higher Education Colleges: Cumbria College of Art and Design

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Age: 177.

Incarnations: Born in 1822 as the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts. That became the Academy of Arts. In 1854 it changed its name to Carlisle School of Art. In 1950, it became the Carlisle College of Art. In 1974, acquired its present title.

Address: Three sites in Carlisle, the great border city.

Ambience: Main campus is 11-acre parkland full of trees and grass (which you pronounce to rhyme with lass) overlooking the River Eden. Other sites are Stanwix House, a Victorian mansion, housing graphic design; Caldewgate, housing fine art, in the city centre; and Shaddon, where design crafts is housed temporarily while its premises are being refurbished. Carlisle is an historic city with one of the most battle-scarred cathedrals in the country, no urban sprawl. Wonderfully positioned for the Lake District.

Vital statistics: Small college - the only higher education institution in the county - with 950 full-time and 500 part-time students. Three-quarters are doing higher education courses. Almost one half of students are local; one third are over 21. Teaches art and design as well as media studies, heritage management, and creative arts. From autumn 1999, will be running a new BA joint honours including film studies, art history, performance studies, and other subjects. Degrees are validated for the college by the University of Central Lancashire.

Added value: All resources open to all students, regardless of their course. So, media students can try their hand at pottery, or creative artists have a go at metalwork or woodwork.

Easy to get into? For art and design you need to have completed a foundation course or BTec diploma or advanced GNVQ. Plus, have a cool portfolio. For other degrees you need two A-level passes. Those without conventional entry requirements can gain entry on previous relevant experience.

Glittering alumni: Milford Coppock, deputy art editor, Playstation magazine; Rob Wade, designer, Saatchi and Saatchi; Claire Stephenson, assistant designer, Kangol.

Transport links: Virgin trains ply back and forth to London, and take four-and-a-half hours, if you're lucky. Otherwise, catch the coach down the M6.

Who's the boss? Professor David Vaughn, fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, who does clever things with ceramics.

Teaching: Scored 19 out of 24 in communication and media studies; 21 in art and design.

Research: Became a higher education institution in 1997, so missed the last research assessment exercise. Was awarded pounds 1.7m by the European Social Fund's Adapt initiative to study how multimedia is being used and further developed in vocational training.

Financial health: In the black.

Nightlife: No bars on campus, so students use the bar at the University of Northumbria campus. (Lancaster also has a campus in Carlisle.) More pubs and clubs are opening as the city's student population grows. Head for Newcastle if you want a hot night out.

Cheap to live in? Yes. Costs pounds 48 for a room in the hall of residence (no food); pounds 25-pounds 58 a week for a room in private rented accommodation.

Buzzphrase: That's shan (That's unfair).

Next week: Dartington College of Arts.