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Culture Lab

The Culture Lab draws together research, learning, public engagement and enterprise to generate new skills and practices related to social sciences, humanities and the arts.

Our location at UCL East, and access to state-of-the-art facilities, will enable us to connect our interests in object-based learning, media practice, performance, conservation, heritage and history - with illustrious East Bank partners, such as the V&A, and more widely with the local community and cultural practitioners across London. 

We will work directly with communities to ensure they become adept in representing their own interests as partners in research, working together to understand the history and future of cultural change and production.

Through diverse media and objects, and communicating across the barriers of higher education, we will prepare young people, particularly those underrepresented in the cultural sector, for higher education and a working life in the cultural industries.

Degree programmes at Culture Lab will include public history, art and making, media, and heritage. Culture Lab will also provide a home for continuing professional development and will house a large number of interdisciplinary research programmes. 

Key information

UCL faculties: Arts and Humanities; Social and Historical Sciences; Institute of Education
Academic lead: Professor Haidy Geismar
Buildings: Both Pool Street West and Marshgate
Focus areas: Media; culture; conservation; art; heritage and history

Culture Lab at UCL East will comprise six new creative spaces:

1.    The Object Learning Studio: global connections and collections

A new exhibition, performance and immersive learning space where students and the public will co-curate collections from UCL and elsewhere, working with artefacts to explore and communicate contemporary global challenges such as climate change, migration and inequality.

The Culture Lab will also house the Centre for Heritage Futures. 

2.    Urban Room and Memory Workshop

Exploring the impact of industry, globalisation and gentrification on the six Olympic Park boroughs and their people, the Urban Room and Memory Workshop will be a practice-based space dedicated to debate and engagement around key questions of future living.

The London Memory Workshop will open up access to UCL’s public and oral history collections. It will also provide a centre for new digital collecting, in dialogue with local community partners.

3.    The SLADE Studio 

An open and flexible space for students and local partners, the Slade Studio will host an access degree programme in art and making. The Studio will support our aim to widen student participation in the creative industries, and to develop new kinds of skills for higher education.

It will open possibilities to embed art thinking into architecture, engineering, and design - and vice versa.

4.    Conservation Studio

Training the next generation of conservators in the skills necessary to preserve new and future artworks and sites of heritage, the studio will facilitate a unique focus on the conservation of modern and contemporary art, the archaeology and heritage of east London, the built environment, and community heritage.

The studio will also house a School of Heritage Skills, which will focus on life-learning, and continuing and professional development in the heritage sector. 

5.    The Future Media Studio 

The Future Media Studio will offer audiovisual, multimedia and digital research training and production in state-of-the-art facilities. It will introduce students to the latest technologies in podcasting, creative documentary, augmented and virtual reality. 

6.    Cinema

Fully equipped, and open to students and the local community, our cinema will give everyone in the area the chance to see great works of cinematic art and to curate their own programmes of film.

Culture Lab is a home for new forms of practice across the arts, humanities and social sciences. Building on UCL’s existing expertise across these fields, our new facilities and programmes will bring history, archaeology, anthropology, geography, digital humanities, conservation, art history, media design and practice, into dialogue with cultural partners and communities, showing how these disciplines can translate their knowledge base into new skill sets and innovative ideas and developing new forms of collaboration across research and teaching.” – Professor Haidy Geismar