Author: Vikki Hill, Project Officer – University of the Arts London

University of the Arts London (UAL): Placing equality, diversity and inclusivity for staff and students at the core of what we do.

 University of the Arts London is one of the world’s most renowned institutions for education in arts, design, fashion and communication. UAL draws together 6 colleges; Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Arts, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion, Wimbledon College of Arts. The diversity of staff, students and alumni reflects our active participation and leadership in a global network of creative and cultural life. To this end, UAL prioritises, in the 2015-22 strategy, the delivery of inclusive teaching and learning.

By 2022, we aim to narrow the differentials in participation, continuation and attainment of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students. As outlined in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Report 2016, we recognise that there is no single reason for these gaps, so we have sponsored a range of projects and research to:

  • uncover the reasons behind degree attainment gaps
  • promote discussion about diversity in the curriculum
  • to trial interventions at course level

As part of the UAL Teaching and Learning Exchange, the HEFCE Funded Changing Mindsets project sits within the Attainment programme: Learning For All, co-ordinated by Professor Susan Orr, Dean of Learning, Teaching and Enhancement.

The attainment framework consists of focused activity on policy and quality; curriculum; staff development; extra-curricular offer/ student engagement and stereotype threat and implicit bias (UAL Changing Mindsets). By working in partnership with everyone involved in teaching and learning across the university, we aim for all students to be supported to achieve their potential.

Three colleges across the university­ are participating in UAL Changing Mindsets. This includes teaching, technical, academic support, language centre and business staff alongside 715 students: 180 1st year students on the BA (Hons) Fine Art course at Central Saint Martins; 150 1st year students on the BA (Hons) Graphic Media Design course at London College of Communication and all of the 385 1st year students at Camberwell College of Arts that includes the FdA courses and the BA (Hons) Illustration, Graphic Design; 3D Design; Fine Art; Drawing; Painting; Photography and Sculpture.

UAL Changing Mindsets project has been designed to fit within the contextual frameworks of each college and the workshops are now underway. Central Saint Martins are hosting a ‘Big Bang Event’ for both students and staff to explore Growth Mindsets Theory and frame this within the art school context of ‘the crit’ – focusing on risk/failure; talent/intelligence and language/feedback whilst London College of Communication are delivering the student intervention through their PALS (Peer Assisted Learning Scheme) led by Louise Taylor. The PALS mentors will be trained before co-delivering the content to the BA (Hons) Graphic Media Design students in timetabled sessions following their contextual studies lectures.

Camberwell College of Arts staff attended the first workshop where they mapped UAL’s Creative Attributes Framework to the UAL Changing Mindsets Learning Objectives. The framework provides a structure to inform staff, students, and other stakeholders how students and graduates develop the wide-ranging qualities, experience and behaviours that prepare them for the future and will anchor the UAL Changing Mindsets attainment work within the highly regarded and familiar language developed by the Careers and Employability Team.

The project has opened an encouraging space for discussion and exploration. UAL staff and academics have also demonstrated their support in organising events, approaching the team with ideas for student led exhibitions and initiatives and by expressing interest in engaging with the work. As the student workshops commence in October, we look forward to updating our partners on the responses from both students and staff.


Disclaimer:  the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this blog post belong solely to the author, and do not necessarily reflect the values of the University of Portsmouth or the extended Partnership.

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