Arts University to offer star masterclasses

It sounds like an international Who's Who of the celebrity world: Stella McCartney, Alan Rickman, Alexander McQueen, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth. In fact it is a small snapshot of the alumni of five media and art colleges that have merged to form the new University of the Arts, London, which will be officially opened next Tuesday.

It will be the first UK university devoted to the arts; a move that is expected to make it easier for it to market itself on the world stage. As a first step, the university is inviting its alumni to give master-classes to the students of today.

According to Sir Michael Bichard, rector of the new university and a former permanent secretary at the Department for Education and Skills, the change of name has rung bells and impressed the 2,000 students of the five colleges as well as their former students.

"They are saying, 'Can we come back and give master-classes for the colleges?' and 'Can we come back and teach a course?'" he said. Those who have already agreed to do so include the performance artists Gilbert and George; Quentin Blake, who provided the illustrations for Roald Dahl's books; John Bird, founder of The Big Issue ; and Matthew Collings, the TV arts presenter.

The actors Simon Callow and Kwame Kwei-Armah have also agreed to deliver welcoming addresses to students at Tuesday's opening ceremony.

For Sir Michael, the official opening is the climax of a campaign to secure centre stage for the creative industries. "We always hear how important science and technology are for British industry and we hear little about art and design; but they are central to the British economy," he said.

"I think having a university for the arts makes a statement about how important the creative industries are for the UK. It is growing in importance; second only behind financial services for securing revenue for the UK. But people still talk about it as if it is a bit flaky and not something to invest in."

Figures compiled by the university show that Britain's creative industries employ 1.95 million people and bring in £77bn a year.

Sir Michael acknowledges that the main benefit of the union will be to give the university's sales people a brand name they can market internationally. "They are absolutely delighted," he said.

Before this week's opening, the five colleges were known as the London Institute. They are Camberwell College of Arts; Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design; Chelsea College of Art and Design; London College of Communication and London College of Fashion. "Some people thought it was an old people's home rather than a world-class higher education institution," said Sir Michael.

In the next few months the university will consider whether to follow in the footsteps of Nottingham University and open campuses abroad. As revealed by The Independent last month, Nottingham has just opened one in China. Links are already being developed with overseas institutions.

"It will be an important decision that we will have to make over the next few months; whether we want to be a solely London based institution or open up one or two campuses elsewhere," Sir Michael said. "It would be sensible if London becomes politically less attractive or the cost of living here is considered too expensive."

The colleges have attracted a growing number of international students in the past few years. Their numbers have been increasing by about 10 per cent a year and now stand at about 25 per cent of the total intake of 15,000. Sir Michael said he expected that figure to continue to rise.

Another priority for the new university will be to strengthen its provision of courses in the performing arts. Sir Michael said he expected to reach agreement with "a major dance institution" to bring it into the new university soon, one of the areas that it does not cover at present.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Nursery Assistants Needed in Ely

£10000 - £15000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobWe are now rec...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants For Multiple UK Offices

£18000 - £25000 per annum + DOE, OTE £40000: SThree: LONDON - BRISTOL - DUBLIN...

Subject Leader of ICT & Computing

£21588 - £36756 per annum + negotiable: Randstad Education Chelmsford: ICT/Com...

English Teacher - Maternity cover

£110 - £120 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: **...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice