Students and prospective students are to benefit from a transformational £1.5m donation which will facilitate recruitment of more diverse cohorts, outreach activities and student welfare at the Slade.
We are delighted that this generous gift will forge more accessible pathways to a fine arts education and enact real, long-term change for the future talent pipeline by supporting a trio of targeted initiatives.
Of these, the Bloomfield Scholarships will be established to fund the tuition fees and living costs of ten UK-based students (over the next five years) applying to the three-year BFA Fine Art Undergraduate degree at UCL.
Student feedback consistently highlights financial circumstances as a significant barrier to higher education in fine art. Recipients of the scholarships will be selected on the basis of financial need, as well as artistic merit, and applications will open ahead of the 2023/24 academic year.
Furthermore, the Slade’s hardship fund will benefit from £100,000 in philanthropic support, providing a vital lifeline for students facing unforeseen financial hardship during their studies.
Underpinned by the belief that nobody should have to withdraw from their studies because of monetary concerns, the fund has experienced an unprecedented demand for its services since the onset of the cost-of-living crisis and now receives more than 50 requests for help annually.
This sum will enable UCL to act quickly and responsibly to provide assistance to students in need, with emergency funding of up to £500 available to eligible applicants.
Finally, the gift will directly enable UCL to host a dedicated Slade Widening Participation Summer School on our Bloomsbury campus for Year 13 learners in each of the next five years.
The four-week summer schools will act as an inclusive pathway to higher education in fine art by demonstrating the potential of an artistic career to up to 40 learners, helping to develop their skills and knowledge and to provide a platform for progression within the sector.
“The potential of a gift of this scope to open up participation in fine art education is transformational,” said Professor Kieren Reed, Director of the UCL Slade School of Fine Art. “This activity will support current Slade students who need it the most and empower future Slade students from disadvantaged backgrounds to envisage a future for themselves as the artists of tomorrow. We are proud to be leading on this important work to grow a more diverse talent pipeline for the entire industry and very grateful to the donor for their generous support.”
“A determination to nurture a more diverse community is core to the Slade’s vision but there are too many systemic barriers to higher education in fine art, exacerbated by rising living and study costs and a fear of uncertain career prospects,” said Professor Stella Bruzzi, Dean of Arts and Humanities at UCL. “Philanthropy has the power to enable those who have the talent, but not the resources, to come to the Slade and carve a future for themselves in the ever-growing creative and cultural industries.”
Having marked the 150th anniversary of its foundation through a bequest from Felix Slade in 1872, the School is privileged to work with stakeholders and visionary philanthropists to reshape the future of arts education and foster a rich and exciting community of creatives.