Watch: Dr Susan Collins on The Slade School of Fine Art

14 October 2010

Antony Gormley, Rachel Whiteread, Paula Rego, Stanley Spencer – all early students of UCL’s Slade School of Fine Art. But what is it about the Slade as an art school that develops and nurtures such a diverse collective of creative minds?

As Dr Susan Collins, former student and recent head of electronic media, takes on the role of director, she reveals what the Slade School of Fine Art means for her, and by way of some of the students’ work today, pins down what it is about the school that makes teaching there so "unpredictable".

Dr Collins says: “Although historically the Slade has conjured up images of tradition – perhaps the life drawing tradition – in fact if you look at the student work now it’s so diverse that if there’s any tradition to speak of it’s one of questioning and curiosity and the fact that it’s a very plural umbrella for so many activities.

UCL Slade School of Art

“One of the things that’s very exciting about teaching in a place like the Slade is we really don’t know what’s going to happen, so at every end of year degree show there’s a huge element of surprise and the genuine opportunity of coming across something you might never have seen before.”

Image below: The Slade School of Fine Art


UCL context

The Slade School of Fine Art is concerned with contemporary art and the practice, history and theories that inform it. It approaches the study and practice of art in an enquiring, investigative, experimental and research-minded way. Slade facilities and infrastructure for research support the discourse around painting, sculpture and fine art media. In the recent 2008 RAE, 70% of the department’s research activity was recognised as being in the top two categories of 4* (‘world leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’).

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