Counting among its formidable alumni celebrities like Tracey Emin, David Hockney, Sir Ridley Scott, Alan Rickman, Julien Macdonald, Christopher Bailey, Orla Kiely to name just a few, it is quite obvious that the institution pushes the envelope in ways of exploring and teaching creativity.
Royal College of Art – Ascan Mergenthaler, Asif Kapadia, Baroness Gail Rebuck DBE, Dr Paul Thompson, Kate Strudwick, Dr Rathna Ramanthan
But when you thought it couldn’t be any better, the Royal College of Art (RCA) unveiled its new radical academic vision ‘GenerationRCA’ at a press breakfast earlier this week.
What is Royal College of Art GenerationRCA?
We say Generation RCS id exciting because of its multi-disciplinary approach. The RCA’s GenerationRCA academic vision is three-fold.
First, to inject key scientific disciplines into the mix of creative disciplines traditionally on offer.
Secondly, the expansion of RCA. Their new Battersea campus building is already on its way with students being able to utilise the campus from 2021. The currently existing Darwin Building will also be renovated.
And last but not least, RCA announced that Generation RCA will establish a significant scholarship endowment fund.
The initiative in total is estimated to cost £100 million. The construction works on both the Battersea Campus and Darwin Building will cost an estimated £65 million while bursaries and projects will receive an injection of £35 million.
The BAFTA and Cannes Film Festivalwinning filmmaker and RCA alumnus Asif Kapadia, who was present at the press launch, was particularly glad about the bursaries scheme that will allow the most talented students to be educated at the RCA regardless of their income. “I was lucky in a way that when I did my studies, higher education was free in the UK,” commented Kapadia. “My family was very… working class. My parents worked hard to support us but there is no way they would have afforded to pay for my studies. I think it’s great that the RCA will offer bursaries”.
New Scientific Programmes at RCA
Without Politeness, Taeyoung Choi
The college will continue along its recent path of introducing exciting and provocative new programmes such as Environmental Architecture and Digital Direction; with future programmes centred on nano and soft robotics, computer science, and machine learning, material science and circular economy.
If that doesn’t sound like a perfect reason to feel excited, then maybe some examples of current projects and prototypes will give you a glimpse of how much better our future can become with more students embarking on these new paths.
Ikon London Magazine viewed several dozens of presentations arranged on the basement of the RCA. Truly useful solutions for various purposes, although too many to mention, included apps to minimise household waste and handy devices to test medication for counterfeit content – through the plastic/foil packaging.
Among other projects, we saw prototypes of algae-based air filters that aim to combat that pesky CO2 largely ‘responsible’ for our fatigue at work around lunchtime. Another algae-based innovation – drinking water filter seems like an inexpensive and effective solution to filter drinking water in places affected by natural disasters. Water charities won’t be happy! Not least useful was desalination of water by means of threads of various textures and thickness. All-rounded solutions centred on sustainable living.
Ridley Scott Special Film GenerationRCA
To mark the launch of Generation RCA, the college unveiled a new film created in collaboration with Sir Ridley Scott and supported by Ridley Scott Associates. The film celebrates every past, present and future generation of RCA students and staff. Creative giants including Tracey Emin, David Hockney, Thomas Heatherwick and Asif Kapadia welcomed RCA into their studios to offer a rare glimpse of their creative worlds.
Scientific organisations collaborating with RCA on new programmes
During the press breakfast, the RCA also announced its collaboration with CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) as well as with Imperial College London. This collaboration means that RCA students can be an integral part of new scientific developments and can rely on scientific feedback and support in their studies.
To find out more about the new Royal College of Art programme, please visit the RCA website.