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UALxLDF: Exploring our creative relationship with Europe for London Design Festival

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  • Written byTash Payne and Cat Cooper
  • Published date18 August 2021
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In a world reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic, racial and social inequalities, how can the international creative community bring about positive change? 

This September, UAL’s programme for London Design Festival will explore our creative relationship with Europe post-Brexit. Together in Europe: Creative Communities for Change (18-26 September) will feature live panel events exploring new models of engagement with Europe after Brexit and an online showcase of projects in partnership with Europe.

Featuring speakers and work from UAL Colleges and Institutes and our valued European partners, guest speakers and other commissioned contributions.


Join us for live online panel events on 21, 22 and 23 September. Structured across 3 topics, UAL academics and special guest speakers will discuss the UK’s current and future creative relationship with Europe.

Events will be hosted and recorded on Zoom and available to watch on-demand after on UAL’s YouTube channel.

Day 1: Models of Engagement
Tuesday 21 September, 1 – 2pm BST

How can we create and activate a creative community in Europe across disciplinary, geographical, societal and cultural boundaries?

  • Drawing on research, knowledge exchange and pedagogical projects, speakers will share good practice and consider how these models can be further tested, iterated, and scaled up
  • Mick Finch, Professor of Research at Central Saint Martins, UAL and Adam Thorpe, Professor in Socially Responsive Design and Creative Director of UAL's Design Against Crime Research Centre will discuss T-Factor, an EU-wide project exploring the “waiting time” in urban regeneration

Day 2: Working in Europe
Wednesday 22 September, 1 – 2pm BST

How can students shape creative futures in Europe?

UAL students and alumni studying and working across Europe will join Dr Nicky Ryan to share their ideas and insight:

  • What are the employment prospects for UK artists in Europe’s creative industries post-Brexit?
  • UAL students and alumni will draw on lived experience of studying and working in Europe to discuss opportunities for entrepreneurship and new models of work with social purpose

Day 3: Future visions
Thursday 23 September, 1 – 2pm  BST

What are the possibilities for new perspectives on Europe?

Chaired by Yesenia San Juan, Interim Head of International Partnerships, London College of Fashion, UAL

  • How will our relationship with Europe develop, particularly as the axis of global power moves from west to east?
  • Speakers will discuss how to build on well-established partnerships with Western Europe to extend engagement into Eastern European countries
  • By exploring shared values and challenges, it possible to activate an extended European creative community for change?

Online showcase 

Our online showcase features over 15 UAL-led international projects and work by our alumni in Europe, on themes ranging from fashion and sustainability, plastic justice, immersive storytelling and much more. Featured projects will include: urban regeneration project T-Factor; international education and collaboration platform Shared CampusBilbao's 2021 Summer Schools in collaboration with UAL; Pharma Factory: research to progress the manufacture of high-value medical and veterinary products using plant biotechnology; and unbauhaus: UAL's collective response to New European Bauhaus.

A number of commissioned contributions include contributions by the academic staff behind The Global Design Studio - a collaboration between UAL, ELISAVA (Barcelona) and REMIT (Melbourne); and the Recognising Experience-Based Education and Learning (REBEL) framework, led by Dean of Academic Programmes Paul Haywood and his team at Central Saint Martins, UAL.

Together in Europe curatorial team

Dr Nicky Ryan, Dean of Design, London College of Communication, UAL and Chair, UAL's Europe Regional Group

Sophie Punt, Regional Partnerships Co-ordinator, UAL International Relations Unit

Gabriele Grigorjeva, Project Support Co-ordinator, LDF, UAL International Relations Unit

'Together in Europe' is just one of the submissions for LDF this year. Other UAL projects include NOVA X: Creative careers catalysed by Central Saint Martins and MullenLowe Group - an exhibition at the Lethaby Gallery and online - and MATERIAL HEROES by the Climate Emergency Network - a project that invites recent UAL graduates to showcase their work relating to cultural/environmental sustainability or the climate crisis.

Design identity: Riccardo Righi

I am delighted to have expanded our offering for this year’s London Design Festival to include speakers and projects from across UAL. As we discuss the vital topic of our relationship with Europe, it will be invaluable to hear from experts from all corners of the university engaged in incredible projects shaping our international future. I hope you will join us for stimulating discussions and emerge with new ideas about how to drive positive change in Europe and beyond.

— Dr Nicky Ryan, Together in Europe programme curator and Dean of Design at London College of Communication, UAL