170 years in the making

14 November 2016

Leeds College of Art brings its 170 year celebrations to a close with an exclusive birthday party on Wednesday 16 November at Leeds City Museum, one of the original Leeds School of Art buildings.

The evening will bring together current students, key partners and alumni from over the years, some of whom will reunite with their art school friends for the first time since studying in the 1940s/50s.

170 students image 2Students on Vernon Street steps 1952

LCA Rag Day 1946Leeds College of Art RAG Day 1946

In the build up to the birthday party, to highlight our longstanding contribution to the creative scene in Leeds there are a number of city-wide projects taking place. We hosted a student party at Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen; have partnered with Independent Leeds Magazine in a special issue exploring creativity in Leeds; and students have created a large-scale mural ‘Creative City’ at Leeds Train Station, which will be there throughout November for passers-by to enjoy. 

Train station mural 2BA (Hons) Illustration student George Addy painting his winning design

Train station mural 13'Creative City' mural created by students at Leeds Train Station

Click here for more images of the mural

2016 has been a significant year for the College. As well as hosting a number of 170 anniversary events and alumni exhibitions, in September the College gained Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) meaning that it can now award its own degrees, which were previously validated by the Open University. This is a landmark in the College’s history, with plans in place to now become the only specialist arts university in the North of England. The College was also awarded the Whatuni Student Choice Award for best facilities (out of all UK universities) for the second time in three years.

 Facilities 1A photoshoot in the infinity cove

 Facilities 2Students in the printmaking studio

Founded in 1846 as the Leeds Government School of Art and Design, the College has contributed significantly to the development of art education in Britain and across the world. Today, Leeds College of Art remains one of the only independent art schools in the UK, leading the way as a centre for art and design education.

The College has an impressive history of notable past students, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth were students 1919 and 1920.  In later years Damien Hirst, Marcus Harvey, Eric Bainbridge, Clio Barnard and Georgina Starr all studied at the College, known then as the Jacob Kramer College. You can view our Alumni Timeline here

170 students image 1Drawing Exam Students 1920 on the Vernon Street steps, 1 June 1920
From left to right: unknown, George Stevenson, Raymond Coxon, Henry Moore, Dorothy White, Connie Castle, Harry Taylor, Geoffrey Kniveton

Hepworth student imagesLeeds College of Art students 1920
Back: standing, left to right, Barbara Hepworth, Eric Rodgers, Edna Ginesi, Henry Moore, unknown, unknown.
Sitting: left to right, unknown, George Stevenson, Harry (Happy) Taylor. Photograph George Stevenson)

The College’s recent graduates continue to win prestigious international awards year on year and enjoy successful careers in the creative industries.

Looking to the future, the College is in the process of applying for university status and a major expansion of its Blenheim Walk site is already under way; creating a 6000m2 building to accommodate purpose built studio spaces for new degree courses. 

New Build entranceArchitect's impression of the entrance to the new building