In 2012 the Royal College of Art will be celebrating its dodransbicentennial - 175 years since it was founded in 1837. The College is planning several events throughout 2012, including exhibitions, alumni events in the USA and UK and a publication on the history of the RCA. A special 175 anniversary logo has also been designed by Neville Brody, Dean of the School of Communication which will be used throughout the year to mark the occasion.
In 1837, the then Government School of Design opened its doors for the very first time with an initial intake of just 12 students, located in a wing of Somerset House. 175 years on, the Royal College of Art has an enrolment of over 1,100 students from 58 countries.
Known for the outstanding quality of its graduates, from Christopher Dresser, Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, to fashion designer Erdem, Oscar-winning animator Suzie Templeton and designer Paul Cocksedge in the 21st century, the RCA is arguably the world's oldest and most influential university of art and design.
Other graduates who have made a mark on our cultural life across the decades include from British Modernism, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Frank Auerbach; artists Sir David Hockney, R.B. Kitaj, Bridget Riley and Ossie Clark in the swinging sixties; world renowned names Sir James Dyson, Zandra Rhodes and Sir Ridley Scott; Brit artists Tracey Emin, the Chapman Brothers and Chris Ofili and contemporary designers Thomas Heatherwick, Christopher Bailey and Orla Kiely.
In its current incarnation, the College is far removed from the one experienced by those original 12 students. In five years time, the College plans to house approximately 1,500 students over its two campuses in Battersea and Kensington. Growing and expanding, it will offer an increasing number of academic programmes in order to meet the demands of a new generation of students.
New Masters programmes coming on stream in 2012 include Interior Design, Service Design, Games Design and Information Experience Design. Programmes in the pipeline include: M.Arch in Architecture in the City, Global Innovation Design, History of Photography & Film, Moving Image and Documentary Animation.
2012 will see the opening of the Dyson Building in Battersea, which will be home to the Printmaking and Photography programmes, as well as a new lecture theatre, gallery space, InnovationRCA and incubator units for graduate designers. The third and final stage, the Woo Department for Applied Arts, is due for completion in 2015.
"From its nineteenth-century roots through to the present day, the RCA plays a seminal role internationally in creative thought and practice," commented Dr. Paul Thompson, Rector of the Royal College of Art. "So many leading artists, writers, and designers have studied at the RCA, its influence over 175 years has profoundly shaped and enhanced modern life."