The V&A, Sadler’s Wells, The University of the Arts London and University College London (UCL) are working with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) to form a new cultural and higher education quarter on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Part of the Olympic legacy, the project has been championed by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and backed by £141 million investment from central government. The scheme is expected to deliver 3,000 jobs, 1.5 million additional visitors and £2.8 billion of economic value to Stratford and the surrounding area.
The ambition is to create a new model for how cultural and educational organisations can work in the future, with increased collaboration, a real sense of connection to the local community and a desire to support emerging talent and lead new research.
The V&A vision for Stratford will complement the existing V&A sites. The new venue will present more of the Museum's outstanding collections in never-before-seen ways and greatly enhance access to 1000 years of design, architecture, art and performance. It will encourage public participation in almost every aspect of museum activities with storage, research and conservation spaces that are visible to the public. Permanent galleries on site will include the first dedicated museum space in the UK to document the full breadth of digital design and begin to write the design history of that fast moving field. There will be space for a rolling programme of major exhibitions, as well as studios for new and emerging practitioners.
A team comprising multi-award winning architects Allies & Morrison, together with RIBA gold medal winners O'Donnell & Tuomey and other renowned studios have won the international competition to design all the buildings on the site. Building work will commence in 2018 with a target opening date of 2020/2021.
The 2015 annual Sackler Lecture at the V&A was given by Boris Johnson who expanded on his vision to transform the Olympic Park into a world-class hub for culture and the creative industries. You can watch the lecture below.
The Sackler Lecture 2015: Boris Johnson
Director, Victoria and Albert Museum
The lecture this evening explores the 21st century vision of participation, learning, innovation in art, design and performance. And it’s my great pleasure to introduce the speaker tonight: the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Just a few words, very personal words if I may say so in the beginning: museums are always changing with the society, they always change their role and it’s important for the V&A, here for the mothership of the V&A, to face out to new challenges in society and that’s one of the reasons why we want to go east. It’s a bit ‘Back to the Future’, not stopping progress but exploring that what our founding fathers, Prince Albert and Henry Cole, started working with practitioners, education, open to the society. Boris: thank you for being here.
Mayor of London
Thank you very much. [Applause] Thank you very much. Martin, you are in the great tradition of German cultural leadership in this city that begins of course with the man who made it possible for us to be here. By the time he died at the age of 42 and plunged Queen Victoria into an abyss of mourning from which she never fully emerged, it would be fair to say that Prince Albert had achieved more - with all due deference to the Queen and her brilliant progeny - than any other occupant of Buckingham Palace. He had fathered nine children, he’d been a composer of perfectly listenable music, he had designed army uniforms, and helped with the architecture of Osborne House, now the residence of the Chancellor (or shortly to be I imagine), he had campaigned for free trade and against slavery, and established the modern idea of a constitutional monarchy, as well as helping to impose the rigours of the traditional family Christmas on this country, and by his Germanic drive for moral and intellectual improvement he set a new standard for high-mindedness and came as close as anyone in history to persuading the British people of the German belief that ‘Ernst ist das Leben’ . And yet of all the things that today bear his name: African lakes, Canadian provinces, now defunct regiments of the British Army, up to including a form of Papua New Guinean bodily piercing much sported in Soho I’m given to understand (for reasons my researchers have been unable to explain), none, none is so redolent of his personality and mission as this museum in the heart of what was called, rather sarcastically to begin with, what was called Albertopolis. Because this was intended not just to be a museum in the sense of a place where curious and beautiful objects are entombed in sarcophagi of glass, this was meant to be part of an economic process of educating the British people in the importance of beauty and in the connection between culture and their everyday lives and businesses because Albert to begin with was not altogether convinced that the British shared his aesthetic sense. ‘The taste of the public is not what it ought to be’ - I put that into a lovely German accent – he complained in 1841 and by 1850 he was setting out his view of the vital correspondence between how things work and how things look. And it may be precisely because he was German, Martin, and came from a culture that has traditionally been less snobbish than the British about trade, less socially embarrassed about manufacturing and gaining wealth from manufacturing, that he saw a way of exalting and unifying his three interests: science, industry and art. And he said, in 1850:
‘Science discovers these laws of power, motion and transformation; Industry applies them to the raw matter which the earth yields us in abundance, which becomes valuable only by knowledge; Art teaches us the immutable laws of Beauty and Symmetry and gives to our production forms in accordance with them.’
In other words: they all go together. They’re all part of the same project. Science needs Industry in order to be of any value to the human race, Industry needs Art in order that its products may be pleasing to the eye and the touch, and therefore it made perfect sense for him to co-locate a series of scientific and artistic and cultural institutions here and to create what was a - what was then a remote, unfashionable patch of farmland - a cluster or a constellation of intellectual and cultural richness unparalleled on earth. And you just look at these institutions here in Albertopolis and what they have produced. Look at the genius they have spawned out of this teeming room of talent. We have from the Royal College of Art, we’ve had everybody from Ridley Scott to Tracey Emin to Thomas Heatherwick creator of the wonderful hop-on, hop-off fall over Routemaster bus that has been rightly restored to our streets after it was taken away, a design wonder that was wrongly abolished by the Health & Safety fanatics of Brussels. The Royal College of Music: Vaughan Williams, Holst, Andrew Lloyd Webber and many other great names. The Natural History Museum is not only home to Dippy the Diplodicus, now making way for a whale I understand, but the World’s leading expert on how we emerged from Africa, what we did to the Neanderthals and it doesn’t turn out to be very friendly. And as for Imperial College, it can claim credit for producing everything from Heroin – the first manufactured synthesised Heroin came from Imperial – the Maglev train, the rock group Queen came from Imperial College. And it is impossible when you add all those things up to compute the total contribution of Albertopolis down the years to British GDP. How many times has this site repaid in tax and in economic growth the £150,000 contribution wisely made by Disraeli to Prince Albert? The legacy of these institutions is themselves astonishing…is astonishing. They themselves, the institutions, are themselves of course legacy. They are the physical residue of that golden, glorious moment when London brought the World together and showed off this city and this country as never before in The Great Exhibition of 1851. That exhibition was a touristic success, it was a commercial success, with a profit of £213,000 and it succeeded in its aim of dispersing knowledge. The crowds in Hyde Park queued to see the World’s first fax machine, the first daguerreotypes, a new type of ice cream (I’m given to understand), a barometer that made use of leeches, and seemingly everyday objects that had been so cleverly designed as to become revolutionary, like new screws – a new type of screw with a gimlet end, exhibited by an American chap called Sloane. And these so impressed Nettlefold, John Sutton Nettlefold of Birmingham, I guess Keen and Nettlefold I suppose, that in ten years’ time British screw production had soared so that it eclipsed the rest of the World. And there’s a joke there somewhere. But it wasn’t, it wasn’t just a commercial, it wasn’t just a commercial and a technological success, it was a spiritual success the 1851 exhibition, wasn’t it? It was a moment of national self-confidence and excitements, a proud feeling that everybody was looking at us and being rather impressed. A euphoria of exactly the kind, that I would say, we experienced in the summer of 2012 and, which may be now fading a bit in the memory but I remember it vividly, and though it would be an exaggeration to say that the Olympics made a profit, a very considerable exaggeration so far, our objective today is to create a legacy that is in its own way as outstanding as the legacy of 1851.
And it was two years ago that we all got round and we looked at what we were achieving – perhaps more than two years ago now – we looked at what we were achieving in Stratford. You will see there on the left the largest new green park anywhere in Europe, we could hear already the drumming roar of the shoppers at Westfield there on the right, the biggest, more numerous, more avid than any other shoppers in the whole of Britain, probably in Europe as well. We had the best connected railway station there in the middle, the best connected railway station anywhere in Britain; fourteen lines going into it, including the prospect of connection to Continent with the Channel Tunnel rail link when Deutsch Bahn come in. And all the venues, all those sporting venues (you can see them there). The Aquatic Centre there with a sort of Pringle on top, that has hosted I think more than 60,000 people in swimming costumes since we opened it in April, everybody has enjoyed it, it’s fantastically successful and popular. The stadium, unlike most other Olympic stadiums, has a Premiership football going on there, or will shortly have Premiership football going on there, and Rugby World Cup coming this year. Hundreds of other events going on in our stadium next year, the year after, and the year after that. We were already, we were already conscious that we were far ahead of any other Olympic city in delivering physical legacy on the site and you can go to other Olympic cities and I’m sad to say that you will quite often see buddleia growing through the cracks in the empty Olympic swimming pools and tumbleweed blowing through the stadium. We knew that on that site we had already achieved something amazing and in 2012 we had done it really by moving huge numbers of people very fast and comfortably to the site and back. It was a triumph for TFL (of which I’m the proud chairman). And we could see, we could see property values already two or three years ago, we could see the property values coming up around the park and we knew that we had to create the jobs, the economic activity to go with the housing that was being built and so we decided to be even more ambitious. And there’s going to be fantastic homes – well you can see them already in the village – every home in that Olympic Village has gone now, all either sold or taken for social rent for affordable housing in one way or another. 50% of it is affordable housing. But huge numbers of homes coming forward across the rest of the park. The choice was: do we just build in more infill housing or do we go for jobs and for growth? And so we decided to be even more ambitious and to create an Olympicopolis, a phrase I continue to use or word I continue to use on my own virtually but never mind I will use it again tonight. An Olympicopolis. We are creating an Olympicopolis to the east. I think it would be pretentious to say to match but at least humbly to take inspiration from the Albertopolis in the west. And in doing that we could address an injustice about the Albertopolis that was noted at the time. The great architect Barry complained that Albert’s project – this is in 1852, I think – he said is far too much to the west for the general convenience of the metropolis, particularly for the industrial community and the working classes at the eastern and central portions of the town. And we could simultaneously go with the grain of the natural movement of the city and the life of the city to the east, as the artists and the designers and the techies and all those wonderful people with fixed wheel bicycles and jewellery in their noses spread out from Hoxton and Shoreditch, through Hackney to Newham and Tower Hamlets. Wherever they can find lovely tapas bars and good nightlife and relatively cheap rents and already they are taking huge amounts of – you can’t actually see it, it’s up there – what used to be called the IBC, MPC the vast media broadcast centre, a colossal great hanger of a building that is already now pullulating with these type of creative individuals. And we reckoned that by putting the right cycle links across the canals and across the Lee and by integrating the park properly with Hackney Wick, with Hackney generally, we can turn that Olympicopolis – and you can see the site there, hang on you can’t see it, this is it, here, can you see that big tongue of land? Right? It’s much, much bigger than it looks, it’s colossal, it’s colossal, by the Aquatics Centre. We can turn that Olympicopolis into a pole of attraction and the heart of an area of scientific, academic, cultural, artistic and creative activity. With UCL building a £270 million campus by the Orbit, that’s sort of down this…roughly where it says the Theresa Sackler Foundation, imagine UCL bringing in a huge…are UCL here tonight? Never mind. Thank you anyway UCL for £270 million. That’s going to be absolutely epic. And on that blank space, as I say, by the swimming pool the World’s top 300 architects are now competing to design a cultural centre. What I think Martin would call a Kulture Palazze or possibly a Kraftwerk, or something like that. Of a kind…what is the technical term? Of a kind to knock the Pompidou Centre, splendid though it is, into a cocked hat, mes amis. And into that Olympicopolis we will welcome, we will welcome: Sadler’s Wells, Alistair, the oldest and most distinguished theatre of dance in the World (that’s a point not going to be contested); the University of the Arts in London, who’s pre-eminence in fashion and design of all kinds attracts students from around the World; and there will be a V&A, a Victoria and Albert Museum east. A new V&A. And it will be a totally stunning thing and I’m sure represent the very best of the V&A’s collections and indeed new collections and new exhibitions also Martin has guaranteed. And as you will have seen from the papers in the last…and in that space obviously the V&A will be able to do – because it will be a gigantic space – you, Martin, the V&A will be able to do things that you currently can’t do even in this fantastic museum here in Kensington. And as you’ve seen in the last few days, we will have the Smithsonian Institution from Washington, one of the greatest museums in the World and the repository of the most extraordinary treasures from the most technologically and culturally influential nation on Earth here in London, almost exactly 200 years since the last shots were fired in anger, by the way, between Britain and America (shortly after we burnt down the Whitehouse). An institution that will not only give America a window on the World in one of the most deprived and diverse parts of Britain but which will incarnate, for my money, which will incarnate the values of freedom and tolerance and pluralism and democracy that unite Britain and America and that are by no means taken for granted or trivial around the World. And those museums and galleries, places of learning, academic institutions will be the seed beds of cross-fertilisation, the flash points of future ideas. And that, to get back to what Prince Albert was trying to do, has been the success and the immense cultural influence of this mighty V&A. And we’ve talked already about the people who have taken their inspiration, who the children, the epigomy of the institutions of Albertopolis, but just from the V&A I think I’m right in saying that Paul Smith, the designer (fancy suits and stuff), he was inspired specifically by the V&A. Alexander McQueen has paid tribute to the designs that he saw here in these galleries.
And I ask you now in conclusion, in concluding these points, I ask you to take out your iPhones folks. Has everybody got an iPhone? I bet you have. Has anybody got...or any other product of Apple? You’ve got one of these things. Now look at that, look at the beauty, the snazziness of this thing. Where did it come from? Where do you think it came from? What was the inspiration for this absolutely wonderful, snug little thing that we all have in our pocket? Where does it come from? Well, obviously, we all know that all great technological inventions come from somewhere in London. Where was the first TV set turned on? Anybody know? In a room above Bar Italia in Frith Street in…sorry Nicholas, a room above the Bar Italia in what is now Frith Street in Soho. Where was the first, where was Charles Darwin when he formulated the Theory of Evolution? Anybody know where he was? Which London borough? Well of course he was in Bromley. You go to Bromley and you meet the people of Bromley you understand; their natural, physical, intellectual advantage, you understand why he formulated the doctrine of natural selection and survival of the fittest. And so all around London. So where, from which London borough, where does it come from? Does anybody know? Where does Johnny Ive come from? Chingford. He comes from Chingford. Absolutely correct. And if you go to Chingford and meet the people of Chingford and you see their natural, intellectual advantage, as I say, you understand how his aesthetic sense was forged but it wasn’t just Chingford - to get to the juddering climax of my remarks – it wasn’t just Chingford that inspired him. His father was a silversmith as all of you may know and on the weekend, on Saturday or Sunday, for free Ive the elder would take Ive the younger here to the V&A to see what miracles could be wrought with metal and with glass. And to teach him that vital lesson that beautiful things are difficult, as they say in Greek. And that life is short but the craft is long to learn. And in the end what is this wonderful little thing? What is it? It’s just a telephone. And, in fact, in my view it doesn’t really work very well. I’m always losing my signal but I stick with it, I stick with it because it’s beautiful and it’s only because Johnny Ive is a brilliant designer that Apple is the most profitable company in the history of capitalism, with a Himalayan cash mountain and quarterly profits announced today of $11.9 billion. And so here in my hand you have proof of Albert’s insight into the fundamental relationship between Art and Industry. And our ambition must be that the children growing up in East London are inspired by that Olympicopolis that we will build and inspired to go in there and see the stuff on the shelves and one day – or however we display them in the future (shelves are probably a thing of the past) – one day some young person will take inspiration from something not just to create a brilliant British design but a brilliant British company as well, preferably bigger than Apple. That is what we are trying to achieve and, of course, it will take time but in six years by 2021 I believe that we will have an intellectual, cultural and artistic legacy in the Olympic Park that would have impressed Albert himself. Thank you very much. [applause]
Deputy Director & Chief Operating Office, Victoria and Albert Museum
Following Boris: everyone’s favourite opportunity. Thank you, Mayor, for setting out such a compelling and ambitious vision for the Olympic Park. I think for many of us when London won the Olympics the question wasn’t so much ‘could we deliver the best games of all time?’ or ‘will we win enough medals?’ but was much more ‘can we deliver an inspiring and lasting Olympic legacy?’ And I think those of us who have spent some time visiting the park over the last six to twelve months will see that we are already well on our way to delivering on those promises. And what I think you have outlined this evening will take it well beyond anything that has been achieved before as an Olympic legacy.
Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Tim Reeve, I’m Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Director at the V&A. So the V&A today. We like to confidently claim that we are the World’s leading museum of art and design, founded – as the Mayor says – in 1852 after The Great Exhibition as the World’s first museum of design and applied arts. We have around 3.6 million visitors a year to South Kensington and the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, a large and varied programme all underpinned by knowledge, scholarship, and an almost bewilderingly rich and diverse collection of over 2,000,000 objects covering 3,000 years or more of human creativity, ingenuity and industry.
This is our home. We are very proud of what has been achieved here in terms of our public programme, not just exhibitions but our Friday Late events, where we invite neighbourhoods to put their stamp on the Museum, and especially of course our FuturePlan programme of renewal and refurbishment most recently demonstrated with the reopening of the Western Cast Court. And the story here will of course continue. But we could, as Boris and Martin say, do so much more and in different ways which complement what we do here at South Kensington. Can it really be right that only ten percent of our collection is on public display? And can it be right that Mick Jagger’s jumpsuit as you see here is not somehow permanently displayed for the public to enjoy?
So the V&A at E20. We’re describing it as a different kind of museum with participation at its heart, almost designed in from the beginning. A place in East London where design and public life meet, reframing the Victorian civic ethos for the digital age. And in working out how to achieve this ambition we start with a long list of questions. How do we make a truly open and participatory institution? How do we give public genuine access to more of the collection? How can we combine effectively research, curatorial design practice in a way that allows the public to see and participate in all of these functions? How can we reclaim our founding mission to support and improve design and manufacturing in the 21st century? And how can we make Britain’s first institutional home for new fields of design in the digital domain?
We don’t at this stage have answers to all of these questions, as you might expect, but we have a clear idea of what the main components of this new museum, V&A E20 will be. We’re imagining a spectacular, chronological display describing the story of 1,000 years of design and creativity. A museum arranged in neighbourhoods; four neighbourhoods weaving together galleries, research, conservation, learning and public spaces. A neighbourhood dealing maybe with textile conservation with digital design, architecture and the city, any number of subjects that we will look at over the coming years. The V&A research institute: bringing scholarship and research to a larger public. A large new exhibition and performance hall for London, not just for the V&A but something we will share with neighbours and partners. London is not over-furnished with major exhibition spaces and that will be one of the key components of the V&A E20. Residency spaces: around thirty residency spaces providing constantly changing and a participatory spirit for young practitioners, the general public and researchers alike. And crucially, if we are to really make this a success, new methods of display and retrieval of objects to allow the public to curate their own content and have the collection at their disposal.
So just a couple of finishing remarks from me before I ask Alistair to come up and say a few words about Sadler’s Wells. Firstly, for the V&A in E20 to be successful it really has to build upon and complement those things that we do so brilliantly here and mark this out as a great museum. This is our home and always will be. Secondly, this adventure depends for us on our ability to derive the maximum impact we can from the opportunities of synergy in this part of London and in the strength and ambition of the new partnerships that we need to build. I was once told that effective partnership was the suspension of loathing and the pursuit of funding and we really need to make sure that partnership for E20 is something that we all buy into from day one. Thank you. [applause]
So I’m going to hand over now to Alistair Spalding who runs Sadler’s Wells.
Alistair Spalding CBE
Chief Executive & Artistic Director, Sadler’s Wells
Thank you very much. So if you’re not sure what Sadler’s Wells is, it’s a theatre in London, it’s been first established in 1683 - so we beat all the competition there - by the great Dick Sadler in 1683. I came in a little later to the organisation. Most recently it’s become a dance house for London and the World. So we present all kinds of styles of dance but mostly we try and make dance that exists with choreographers who are still alive and kicking. So new work in all of these styles plus cutting edge contemporary dance as it says there. So the other thing which has happened most recently with the organisation is we’ve also started to produce work because we were always a receiving house before but we make work now and that tours all around the World, so that 121,000 people saw our work abroad last year. And so we’ve changed and we’re doing well. So we had half a million people come to the theatre last year in our three auditoria and we achieved 85% capacity. So it’s a real actually sign of - dare I say - that dance is the art form for now. Well I’ve just said it so…it is. And it’s really caught the right time. So we’re full but unfortunately we only have two spaces: a very large one, 1,500 seater, and a very small one, 200 seater. So we needed something in the middle. So this opportunity of the Olympic Park came along and we went for it because out there there is space and dance needs space.
So what are we going to do? We’re going to build a 600 seat theatre on the site. And why are we doing that? A number of reasons. As I say, we’ve got these two small and large spaces but for choreographers and dancers to go through their career they need something in the middle; they need a stepping stone if you like. Also, there’s lots of work which doesn’t come to London in dance which should come but needs a smaller, more intimate setting. Frankly there’s also some work we already present at Sadler’s Wells that should have a more intimate setting but we do it in a large lyric house. So that’s why we wanted to build this space. It’s also going to be a great opportunity to expand our production side so that we can have somewhere…the theatre at Sadler’s Wells is always full of either get-ins or performances, there’s no chance to try out our productions and give it technical time so we’re going to have the opportunity to do that as well. But also we wanted to take this opportunity to do two more things and this is really about the future because this part of London is about the future in my view. So we’re going to start a choreographic school. So somewhere that young people can come and learn the craft of choreography; what it is to make a new dance work. We’re already doing a little bit of that now but this is going to be a proper course for young people to come in and train in that way. And we’re also going to have the first hip hop academy in – well, I think – not the World but definitely in London. If dance is the art form of now, hip hop is the dance form for now. It’s happening everywhere and it is an art form and it is something you can train in. And I think particularly where we’re going because this is where all of the great hip hop companies who are making work at the Barbican and Sadler’s Wells, they all started out in the East End. Boy Blue started and are still practising their work there. So this is an opportunity to do that as well.
So what to do? The first thing: we want to try and keep going with what we’re doing. We’re particularly interested in cross-disciplinary work. So you’ll see the boxes there were made by Anthony Gormley, the sculptor, so that was a big collaboration with Sidi Larbi and the monks from the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province. So we want to continue to do that. And to particularly work with our other partners and I think this is one of the – on the site – this is one of the great opportunities that there is to, in this new possibility of Olympicopolis, is to really work with the V&A and with the University of the Arts, London College of Fashion and UCL to find new ways of thinking about these things. Obviously there’s the obvious connection between dance and fashion and also with the collection, the theatre and dance collection at the V&A, but we’re also interested in trying to…I think there’s a kind of common search here for ways of making, new ways making, as one of the current common themes across all these institutions going out there and I think it’s quite interesting to apply that to a very ethereal art form like dance. So we’re very excited about that. But probably the other thing which really excites me is where we’re going in this part of the city because it is a very young place, it’s got all the potential but it’s got a long way to go and I think there’s a big job there to really engage both with the organisations that are already out there doing great work in East London but also the young people. So my vision, if you like, I have two visions to finish off with. The first one is that the young people who will be working in Sadler’s Wells so the ushers and the box office staff, all the other technical staff, and even people who are performing on stages will have come from that part of London. So the next five years we want to try and see if we can make that work so that we’re not coming in there and landing like a spaceship. But the other vision I have – I mean Boris showed you the West Ham stadium – and my vision is that people come out of the station, may have done a bit of shopping at Westfield, going to the match at West Ham and they say ‘No, we’re not going to go to the match, we’re going to turn right and go and see some contemporary dance.’ So that’s what we’re doing and what we hope to do. And I would like to hand over to Francis Corner, who is the Head of the London College of Fashion and who will explain what their plans are. [applause]
Professor Francis Corner OBE
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of the Arts London
Head of London College of Fashion
Good evening, everybody. I’m absolutely delighted to be here this evening to be able to say a little bit about what we’re going to be doing as the London College of Fashion. But first of all I want to say a little about UAL, University of the Arts London. Many of you may have known it in its previous guise as the London Institute and all of you I’m sure will be acutely aware of its great art colleges: Central St Martins, Chelsea, Camberwell, Wimbledon, London College of Communication, and London College of Fashion. And in a way they are the perfect example of how design education - art and design education - were set up as a consequence of Prince Albert’s vision. And obviously we all have at least 100 years, all of the colleges have been established for over 100 years as a consequence of the vision he had for how if you are to really teach and educate in the right way for industry, for design, for creativity then again the British economy would have this edge, and these are the colleges and obviously it’s wonderful that we will be coming with the V&A and Sadler’s Wells to Olympicopolis. The other factor that I also think is worth pointing out is that obviously it’s not only the opportunity that these colleges have to design the future of our creativity and our economy and our society, but also they are great economic powerhouses in their own right. And again many of you will be aware of the move of Central St Martins to Kings Cross and the great role it has played in the regeneration of that particular area of London. And that’s why I think a very important part for the University is communicating to people that not only do we, as a university, generate these great graduates and alumni but also we make this very significant contribution to the economic and creative heart of London in a number of different locations.
London College of Fashion – and obviously it says a little bit here – now we’ve got well over 5,500 students in fact, we have 37% of our students are overseas, 11% are from Europe and the remainder are from the UK. So we have, again, a very global, international and culturally rich mix of students that we’ll be bringing to the Olympic Park. And again established over a hundred years, as I was referring to earlier, as a college to in a way train what was then young women to go and work in the couture houses of the West End. That relationship with industry is absolutely part of the DNA of the London College of Fashion. I often characterise it by saying that we have one foot in industry and one foot in education, and we feel again this will be a huge opportunity to really bring the college to the East End because much of our heritage is there. Originally part of one of our original colleges was the Shoreditch Technical College for Girls, many of you will be aware of Cordway – it’s a great footwear college – and they were all obviously based in the East End. And that was the other, in a way, point that I wanted to make. Many of you will see this is obviously a map of the East End and these are the relationships that we already have. We have an extensive network of projects, which I’m just going to say a little bit about. So we have this very strong focus in the East End so for us to actually bring all of the college together, as we currently hold six sites across London, to the East End to really build on what we already have there is extremely exciting. Many of you know, obviously as I said, great work that we do around industry and much of that, some of you may know, we have the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, which is currently based in Hackney and many of the designers that you see on London Fashion Week, whether it’s Peter Pilotto, Erdem, Meadham Kirchhoff, they have all been supported by the Centre for Fashion Enterprise. We provide an incubation space for these young designers to spend two or three years actually growing their businesses and also being able to tap into the resources in terms of the equipment and technical expertise of the college as they begin to grow and expand, and we’ve been extremely successful in that. We also do a lot of work in terms of corporate social responsibility. So we do a lot of work with prisons, charities, and an example of that is a project that we’ve done with Art Against Knives, which we held at our Golden Lane, where we do all our footwear and accessories which is very close to the Barbican and there, again, that was a week-long project for those who have been either members of gangs or suffered violence as a consequence of gangs to come in and understand that you can do positive work with knives rather than destructive, and they made the most wonderful bags as a consequence. We also have an extensive network of projects and relationships with schools because actually getting pupils to understand that education in fashion doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be the next John Galliano or McQueen – we’re having the great show that will be coming here shortly – but actually if you want to be in the business of fashion in terms of the management, the retailing, or if you want to be a great pattern cutter, actually getting that message across in to schools very early on is what we do. A particular example is the Beal Academy, which has a strong focus on business, to actually get pupils there who are fourteen to understand that you can have an amazing career in terms of fashion management.
I thought I…I mean this is to show a few examples from our recent MA Costume for Performance, which we actually showed at the Lilian Baylis which is obviously one of the theatres at Sadler’s Wells because I wanted to make the point that not only part of the message that I often try and get across is that fashion is so much more than frocks but here we are obviously the whole issue of…if you think that in a way costume was once fashion, the skills that you need to make costumes for performance are actually those that you need to make with regards to fashion. And obviously we have a lot in terms of hair, make-up and all of those sorts of factors. So we have already this strong network of relationships with the partners that we’re going in to. With V&A we’ve shared research fellows; we’re again supporting in many ways the McQueen show that’s coming up. And also, for example, we already have relationships with University College London. We have psychology within London College of Fashion. We have a lot of relationships in terms of science and engineering. So I think one of the great opportunities, as both Alistair and Tim and obviously the Mayor have referred to, is in a way that sense of the relationships and the projects that we’ll be developing as partners is not just the fact that we bring our individuality, hopefully again we will be a real example of how we can all be more than the sum of our parts. And then in a way just in terms of LCF: I mean as I’ve alluded to, six sites across London, we work with obviously 5,500 students, trying to manage that is not the easiest of tasks so to be able to come on to one site, to be able to really foster a great sense of community, to in a way to be able to do more than we currently can because of the relationships that we can have better with ourselves but particularly with the partners that we’ll be located with and with the industries and the businesses not just on the park but obviously across the East End and across London. So we see that, you know, we’ll be able to play a huge part in the sort of regeneration, we’ll be able to have great links with the schools and with businesses that are there and with the artistic and creative community. And that as I sort of said or alluded to before, as a college we are truly international, we are truly global and to be able to place that at the heart of a hugely exciting project here in this great global and international city I think is a wonderful opportunity. So I am delighted that we’ll be able to join you. So thank you very much. [applause]