University for the Creative Arts

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University for the Creative Arts
University for the Creative Arts 2015 logo.svg
Type Public
Established 2005 (as the University College for the Creative Arts at Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham, Maidstone and Rochester)[1]
Chancellor Dame Zandra Rhodes DBE RDI
Vice-Chancellor Alan Cooke (Acting)

Canterbury & Rochester, Kent

Epsom & Farnham, Surrey, England, UK
Affiliations GuildHE

The University for the Creative Arts is a specialist art and design university in the south of England.


Logo used from 2008-2015

The university was formed in 2005 as University College for the Creative Arts at Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham, Maidstone and Rochester, through the merger of the Kent Institute of Art & Design and Surrey Institute of Art & Design, University College. It was granted full university status by the Privy Council in May 2008 and adopted its current name officially in September 2008. The origin of the university lies in a number of independent public art and design colleges in the counties of Kent and Surrey, almost all of which had origins in the Victorian period. In the 1990s these merged to form multi-campus art and design institutes in their respective counties, before merging into one organisation in 2005.

In its previous forms and current form, alumni of the UCA as well as students have achieved artistic excellence with very considerable commerciality and critical merit of certain alumni's work such as Tracey Emin, Michaël Dudok de Wit, Chris Shepherd, Zandra Rhodes, and Karen Millen.

Following the election of a Coalition government, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills introduced legislation to increase tuition fees while reducing government spending on Higher Education in real terms[2] and the University for the Creative Arts was revealed to be the fourth most-cut university in England with a cut of 7.8% (10.2% in real terms).[3]

The University for the Creative Arts announced in February 2011 that it was discussing designating part of its Maidstone campus for use by MidKent College.[4] Further to this, MidKent College expressed its willingness to buy the Maidstone campus from 2012 and phase out the UCA presence at the campus by 2014.[5]


UCA has campuses in Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham and Rochester, together with teaching bases at the Royal School of Needlework and The Maidstone Studios,[6] and a project and exhibition space in Folkestone Creative Quarter.[7] It previously had a campus in Maidstone, which was closed in 2014.[8]

The University also validates provision at, or co-delivers courses with, a number of other educational institutions and arts organisations in the U.K. and overseas: Barking and Dagenham College, Farnham Maltings, Laine Theatre Arts, Millennium Performing Arts, Turner Contemporary, MIT Institute of Design, and Hong Kong Design Institute.[9]

On 1 November 2016 Open College of the Arts became part of UCA. This built on a close working relationship established in 2010.[10]

Organisation and academic life[edit]

It is a large art and design institution, by UK standards, with around 10,000 students, and offers courses in a very wide range of art, design, fashion, moving image and architecture subjects. Courses are offered at non-degree further education such as diploma and BTEC, degree and doctorate level.

UCA is organised into seven academic schools: Canterbury School of Architecture; Communication Design; Crafts & Design; Fashion; Film, Media & Performing Arts; Fine Art & Photography; and Further Education.[11]

It has four research centres: Centre for Digital Scholarship, Centre for Sustainable Design, Crafts Study Centre, and International Textile Research Centre.[12]


  • 2005 - Professor Elaine Thomas CBE[13]
  • 2011 - Professor Simon Ofield-Kerr PhD FRSA[14]
  • 2017 - Alan Cooke (Acting)[15]

Notable current and former academics[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Where known, alumni are listed by the component institution at which they studied.

Kent Institute of Art and Design (comprising the three Kent campuses)[edit]

Canterbury College of Art

Maidstone College of Art

Medway College of Design (Rochester)

Surrey Institute of Art and Design (Farnham & Epsom)[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°12′59″N 0°48′19″W / 51.21639°N 0.80528°W / 51.21639; -0.80528