UCL Global


'Gown beyond Town': the role of a satellite campus

Looking at the role and challenges of a satellite campus through dialogue between UCL and University of Sydney

U Sydney

27 January 2020

Academics from UCL and the University of Sydney (USyd) recently took part in a workshop exploring the role and challenges of the satellite campus.

At the ‘Gown beyond Town’ event at UCL Here East in December 2019, attendees considered global perspectives on university expansion.

UCL is currently constructing a new campus, UCL East, on the site of the 2012 Olympic Games and, in advance, has opened UCL Here East, while USyd plans to establish the new Paramatta-Westmead campus in western Sydney.

The event explored how, in both cases, establishing a second campus can speak to institutional growth that exceeds the capacity of a central campus anchored to a nineteenth-century core. Attendees considered how a satellite campus can be envisioned as an invitation to recast the relationship of the university within its urban setting, while offering an opportunity to test new ways of teaching, research and engaging with the public.

U Sydney
The three-day conference began with an event at the Royal College of Practitioners, with guests including Christoph Lindner, Dean of the Bartlett at UCL, Professor Claudio Stern, UCL Pro-Vice-Provost (South East Asia and Australasia) and JZ Young Chair of Anatomy, and Professor Andrew Leach, Professor of Architecture at USyd.

Andrew discussed how the institutions we know now have little resemblance to what they once were, with contemporary universities being much larger, more diverse, more complex and more commercial.

U Sydney
Attendees considered how a satellite campus can offer not only the immediate material for cross-disciplinary research within architecture, technology and engineering, but also the values of innovation and resilience. Furthermore, it provides the chance to reflect on the relationship between the city and the university.

The remaining two days consisted of innovative knowledge exchange between delegates including Professor Andrew Edkins (UCL BREI), Paul Temple (IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society), Dr Clare Melhuish (Director UCL Urban Lab) and many more guest scholars from USyd.

Professor Paola Lettieri, Academic Director of UCL East, shared insight into the research that went into developing the UCL East campus and providing it with a strong academic vision, as well as a strong commitment to widening participation, outreach and access.

She said: "UCL East will bring together researchers, students, communities and partners to collaborate on solutions to the biggest, and most fundamental, challenges facing humanity – both today and in the future."