News and events


6 May-9 June: Classroom = workshop = studio: 175 years of teaching and learning

2 May 2013

London Gallery West is pleased to present ‘Classroom = Workshop = Studio: 175 years of teaching & learning’. Drawing on the University’s unique and under-explored archives, this exhibition examines how learning spaces influence and reflect the education within them.

The technical education provided by the Regent Street Polytechnic and the Harrow School of Art required (what were then) state-of-the-art facilities that would prepare students for the modern workforce they would be entering, just as the teaching reflected the needs and demands of industry. The University Archives holds an extensive and evocative series of photographs documenting the changes to these spaces – and the students who inhabited them – over the years. Backed up with documentary material from the collection, the exhibition will consider the shift between classroom, workshop and studio as a technical education developed into graduate qualifications.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the areas of Fashion and Photography, two subjects in which the University has a long and proud heritage. Both initially offered a ‘sound and practical theoretical training’ but over the years have evolved into Bachelor of Arts courses (in the case of Photography, the first anywhere in the world) with a focus on creativity. Nonetheless the courses continue to require a high level of technical expertise and maintain a focus on employability. In displaying student work and teaching materials from across the decades, the exhibition will demonstrate the evolution from a skills-based syllabus to self-expression.

‘Classroom = Workshop = Studio’ forms part of the University’s anniversary events, celebrating 175 years of world-leading research, pioneering teaching, and providing education for all, regardless of background or financial status. As part of these celebrations, the University Archives have overseen the publication of ‘Educating Mind, Body and Spirit: the legacy of Quintin Hogg and the Polytechnic, 1864-1992’. This multi-authored history critically examines the role of Quintin Hogg and the Regent Street Polytechnic within the development of adult education, and the national trends and debates that led to its evolution into the University of Westminster.

The University of Westminster Archive collects, maintains and provides access to materials documenting the heritage of both today’s University and its predecessor institutions including the Regent Street Polytechnic, Royal Polytechnic Institution, Polytechnic of Central London and Harrow College. Both the book and exhibition draw on new research on the University’s archive collections, presenting a fresh take on an often misunderstood past.

Opening times: 9am-5pm daily, 6 May-9 June 2013
Private view: Wednesday 8 May, 5-8pm
T: + 44 (0) 20 7911 5970
E: [email protected]

About the University of Westminster:

The University of Westminster boasts a vibrant learning environment attracting more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations and we continue to invest in our future with new developments, research projects and new ideas.

We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 180-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.

Our commitment to educating graduates for the needs of professional life attracts high quality students from within the UK and around the globe.

Internationalisation, employability and sustainability are key elements in the University of Westminster’s vision for the future and we strive to ensure the very highest standards are met and maintained.

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