Camberwell College of Arts: Wikis


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Camberwell College of Arts
Established 1898
Location London, United Kingdom
Campus Camberwell
Affiliations University of the Arts London

Camberwell College of Arts (formerly known as Camberwell School of Art and Crafts) is a constituent college of the University of the Arts London, and is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost art and design institutions. It is located in Camberwell, South London with two sites situated at Peckham Road and Wilson Road. It offers further and higher education programs, including postgraduate and PhD awards. The College has retained single degree options within Fine Art, offering specialist Bachelor of Arts courses in painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics and drawing. The College also runs graduate and postgraduate courses in art conservation and in new media such as graphic design and 3D design.



The College's history is finely intertwined with that of the South London Gallery, with which the College shares its site. Manager of the South London Working Men's College in 1868, William Rossiter, purchased the freehold of Portland House on which the College now stands in 1889. The resulting Gallery opened in 1891, followed by the Technical Institute, the College's first guise in 1898. The philanthropist, John Passmore Edwards, gave a substantial sum of money for the erection of the building in memory of Lord Leighton. The school and gallery were the fruition of an artistic movement in Camberwell, supported by Edward Burne-Jones, Lord Leighton, Walter Crane and G F Watts. The College aimed to give the 'best artistic and technical education to all classes in the district'. Originally, the College offered classes in specific practices, such as architecture, cabinet design, embroidery, wood carving, wood block and stencil cutting, and by 1920 a Fine Art Department had been created.

During World War II, Victor Pasmore was appointed head of the school's Painting Department and, in turn, brought in William Coldstream and Claude Rogers. It was the influence of these three eminent Euston Road School painters that saw an exciting period for the College and its association with figurative painting. Many well known artists such as Frank Auerbach, Lawrence Gowing and Edward Ardizzone taught at Camberwell during this period. The prominent abstract painter Robert Medley was appointed Head of Painting in the 1960s and invited Ron Kitaj, Kenneth Martin, Patrick Proctor and Euan Uglow to teach at the School. During this period, the school had a thriving Art History Department, headed by Conal Shields, that employed painters such as Harold Cohen and academics, including T. J. Clark (historian). In 1973, the School expanded into a modern purpose-built block next to the existing premises. Both of them are now Listed Buildings.

In the 1980s, Wendy Smith became the head of Fine Art and employed Noel Forster, John Hilliard, Cornelia Parker, Gavin Jantjes and Ian McKeever. Tony Messenger and Eileen Hogan took charge of the graphics department, Eileen Hogan established and ran The Camberwell Press, and Eric Ayers presided over they typography school. Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts became a constituent College of the London Institute in 1986, formed by the Inner London Education Authority to associate London's art, design, fashion and media schools into a collegiate structure. The school was renamed Camberwell College of Arts in 1989. During this restructuring Camberwell temporarily lost its Fine Art courses but by the time the London Institute was granted University status and was renamed University of the Arts London in 2004, the department had been restored to the College.

At Camberwell, students are taught by teachers that are highly regarded in the art world, such as artists Richard Slee, Matt Franks, Brian Griffiths, Saskia Olde Wolbers, David Cross of Cornford & Cross, Daniel Sturgis, and Hew Locke.


Research projects at the college relate to a number of ongoing theoretical and practical debates in areas such as the interface of new technologies and creative practice; transnational art, identity and nation, and the conservation of Byzantine books and manuscripts. Camberwell is part of the University of the Arts London and its Research Network (RNUAL), which also includes Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London College of Communication and London College of Fashion.

Camberwell also has a number of prominent artists acting as researchers and lecturers such as the painters Humphrey Ocean and John Keane (artist) and the ceramicist Julian Stair. With strong links to the local community, Camberwell is setting up an exhibition space, Peckham Space designed by Will Alsop in Peckham Square. This project aims to commission "new multimedia, location-specific projects connecting art, people and place through creative experience". Camberwell also oversees in partnership with the Arts Council of England the current scholarly research into John Latham (artist), whose local residence "Flat Time House" has recently been turned into a museum.


Camberwell is part of the University of the Arts London, and together with its sister colleges Chelsea College of Art and Design and Wimbledon College of Art makes up C.C.W., a three College model that allows each College to retain its own individual identity while allowing students to teaching and learning facilities across the three Colleges. Other Colleges of the University are Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London College of Communication and London College of Fashion.

Internationally, the College has links to other European art schools and Universities, and students regularly take part on ERASMUS educational exchanges to institutions in cities such as Marseille, Leipzig, Milan and Madrid. Further a field the college has links with colleges in Japan and America, with students taking part in projects at New York Studio School and Yale School of Art.

Notable alumni

Notable Non-alumni


  • British Art Schools
  • Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts: its students & teachers, 1943-1960 by Geoff Hassell. Published by Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1995. ISBN 1-85149-180-5.

External links

Coordinates: 51°28′27″N 0°04′49″W / 51.4742°N 0.0804°W / 51.4742; -0.0804

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