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Essential coronavirus info
Your safety is our first priority.

Students graduating in 2021

Student adding notes to a sketchbook
Sketchbook by Cynthia Porta Fernandez. Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. Camberwell College of Arts. (Credit: © Alys Tomlinson)

Information about the arrangements in place for both showcasing your work in the summer period, and graduation ceremonies.

More detailed information will follow in the summer term.

Graduation ceremonies

The UK government has said 21 June is the earliest date at which restrictions could be lifted but, at this stage, this is not guaranteed. There has also been no clear indication on whether quarantine requirements will be lifted for those returning to the UK, making it challenging for many students and their families, to travel to attend a ceremony.

We were then informed by the Royal Festival Hall, where our ceremonies would have been held, that capacity in the venue will by capped to 1/3, social distancing measures are likely to remain in place and it will be difficult to provide refreshments. We do not feel this will allow us to deliver a fitting ceremony for our graduates – including the opportunity to socialise with peers and invite guests.

Given the uncertainties, we feel that providing a virtual graduation experience for all 2021 graduating students is the fairest solution.

We recognise this is disappointing news for some of our students. Before reaching this decision we explored a number of  possibilities including booking more dates at the Royal Festival Hall and looking for other potential venues. We were unable to find a viable alternative.

Many other universities in the UK have come to the same conclusion and the majority of them have also cancelled their in-person ceremonies this year.

At UAL, we are offering 2020 and 2021 graduates the opportunity to attend a ceremony in the next 5 year and we hope many of them will be able to take up this offer at some point in the near future.

Showcasing your work

Social distancing requirements will make summer shows impossible to deliver at the physical scale we have previously managed. The main platform for showcasing your work will be the enhanced UAL Graduate Showcase digital platform. You are asked to actively engage with the Showcase to ensure you are represented in a place which receives significant creative industries attention. The Showcase will also offer a comprehensive programme of events, guest speakers and curators.

Our experience and data from last year shows that the online showcase reaches a breadth of national and international audiences which exceeds that of the traditional summer show. Dependent on your course deadlines, we will be asking you to upload your work from May, with the public launch of the Graduate Showcase in June. You’ll receive further guidance early in the summer term.

In addition, depending on government guidelines, colleges are currently exploring the possibility of showing some your work in real spaces in digital and other formats. We anticipate that any options will need to be designed to work according to social distancing restrictions and will be dependent on the operational setting of courses and colleges. Your college will provide more specific details in due course.

Additional support for graduates who are completing their course 2021

The Careers and Employability service will be offering an expanded range of support to help prepare you for your next steps as a creative graduate.

As well as extended access to online systems and resources, the support will include a range of activities and materials, such as career and portfolio advice, CV workshops and networking webinars with industry partners and alumni.

We also aim to extend access to some technical areas, studios or workshops for at least two weeks for students completing their course in the summer term.

Read the full update for students who are completing their course in 2021.

More information

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Contact us

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