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Camberwell College of Arts has been going for over a hundred years. It has got a good reputation, respected for the quality of its teaching and its contribution to the arts world. The seeds of Camberwell College of Arts in its present form were sown over a hundred years ago with the foundation of the Technical Institute in 1898. In 1986, it became a constituent college of the London Institute (which became the University of Arts London in 2004) and was renamed Camberwell College of Arts.
Camberwell is particularly known for its graphic design, illustration, print and photography courses, but also offers courses in fine art, conservation, community and education. There are seven BAs in total, as well as seven MAs in book arts, designer maker, digital arts, illustration, printmaking and conservation.
Aside from being a college of the University of the Arts, Camberwell has a unique partnership with Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Art called C.C.W. As part of C.C.W., students can have access to the facilities and teaching at the other colleges. In addition, the colleges have combined their foundation courses into one course that is taught at the Wilson Road campus in London.
Camberwell is got a sizeable, vibrant student body. Camberwell student style has been nicknamed “camber-cool”, but don’t let that phrase daunt you. There’s a lively social scene, a greet mix of people, and a friendly atmosphere.
Unsurprisingly, Camberwell has produced a whole host of famous artists. Ex-students have gone on to win the Turner Prize, BP Portrait Award and the Jerwood Drawing Prize. Artists who have studied at Camberwell include Gillian Ayres, Tom Phillips, Matthew Ritchie, Keith Milow and Euan Uglow. Other notable students include actor Tim Roth, Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, director of the ICA Gregor Muir, Syd Barrett, broadcaster and jazz musician Humphrey Lyttelton, and director Joe Wright.
NB: The Vital Statistics to the left refer to the University of the Arts as a whole, not Camberwell College as an individual institution.
People either love or hate the area of Camberwell. On the plus side its good nice pubs, some good green areas, and a cool market. It’s a creative area and on the up, with pockets of gentrification whilst still retaining some urban grit – some say it’s the new Shoreditch. Georgian and Victorian houses mix with 60s and 70s tower blocks. Admittedly some areas in Camberwell can be a bit dodgy, which is what puts some people off. Transport links to central London are good.
Camberwell College isn’t exactly an architectural beauty (think plenty of grey concrete) but it has its charm. It shares a site with South London Gallery and another gallery, New Gallery, is nearby. The College itself has some top notch facilities that play to its strengths, including a Digital Media Centre with PC and Mac facilities, video editing, sound, animation and image manipulation, a Photography Centre with a mix of darkrooms and digital and traditional colour facilities, and one of the largest Printmaking Centres in the UK. There are also various workshops, studios, as well as a Foundry and a ceramic workshop. Although, you’ll just have to work out how to find them in the warren that is Camberwell.
The University of Arts has ten halls of residence in total. The most convenient ones for Camberwell students are Bernard Myers House, Brooke Hall, and Camberwell Campus. Bernard Myers is only five minutes from the College and room prices range from £146 to £190 a week.
Brooke Hall is 20 minutes away from the College. It consists of 102 rooms at £165 and £175 a week. The most convenient of them all is Camberwell Campus accommodation which is literally on the college’s doorstep. It’s new for 2012 and has space for 155 students across its three 18th century Grade II listed buildings. Rent ranges between a very affordable £90 and a jaw dropping £240 a week.
The University of the Arts also has other halls of residence dotted across the capital. You can find out more about them here. An alternative accommodation option is to find private accommodation and the University of the Arts’ Housing Service are the guys to help you with that.
The University of the Arts will be charging fulltime undergraduates £9,000 a year in tuition fees for 2012. Eligible students can get a tuition fee loan from the government to cover the cost of their tuition fees. Repayment on the loan only commences once you are earning over £21,000 a year and if you don’t repay the loan after 30 years it is cancelled. For more information on the tuition fee rise, check out this article.
Living in London will eat up all your student loan and maintenance grant. It’s a pretty darn expensive city: expect to pay through the nose for most things. Most universities estimate that students will need between £9,500 and £10,500 a year to cover living expenses; that’s for accommodation, food, going out, travel and other day-to-day costs. However, students have been known to get by on less.
Students in London get bigger student loans to help and, with some careful budgeting and taking advantage of all the free stuff London has, you should be able to get by. Camberwell’s location is also handy as students can find reasonably affordable (for London) accommodation near the college, saving on transport costs.
Scholarships are awarded through the University of the Arts. For undergraduates, there are 309 National Scholarship Programme awards up for grabs in 2012. This amounts to £3,000 in the first year of study, £1,000 in the years afterwards. Eligible students will be resident in England and have a household income of £25,000 or less, with priority to those with a household income of under £16,000. There are a number of other scholarships available, more information about which can be found here.
South London is packed with watering holes, old-school boozers and slight grungy dives. Camberwell Church Street is lined with bars, a jazz club and restaurants. For clubs, Elephant and Castle has the Ministry of Sound and Corsica Studios, whilst new arty clubs and bars are springing up in Southwark, Bermondsey and New Cross.
Then of course, you can always hop over the river to explore Shoreditch, Bethnal Green and Whitechapel. The Student’s Union has its own bar in Holborn with regular nights and cheap drink. Camberwell students can also frequent the LCC’s Darkroom Bar, Chelsea Colleges’ Frame Bar or the new Kings Cross Bar opening at Central St Martins.
SU Arts, the students’ union for the University of the Arts, manages over 50 sports clubs and societies. There’s a decent range of activities to get involved with from drama, ballet and film societies, to football, basket, netball and hockey sports clubs. It’s a good way to meet students from other colleges as well as indulging an interest.
Unfortunately, UAL doesn’t have much in the way of sports facilities, but it does have an exercise and dance studio in its Holborn’s Student Hub. Where UAL falls down, London picks up the slack: there are plenty of sports facilities across the capital, many at reduced rates for students. Locally, there’s the Camberwell Leisure Centre where students can swim for just 60p.
SU Arts holds a Freshers Festival across the week to welcome new students. Past events included a Big Fayre, welcome parties at the bars, and a huge party at Fabric. Individual colleges put on their own events too, as well as course inductions and the like. Freshers’ Week might not be as messy as Manchester and Leeds, but art students were never ones for organised fun.
The University of the Arts has a centralised careers service for all six colleges called Student Enterprise and Employability. It provides advice about creative careers, online resources for its students and various other sources of information. Student Enterprise and Employability can also help students who are thinking of setting up their own business or going down the self-employment route. The University of the Arts also has a new scheme Made in Arts London where students can submit work to be sold online.
The service also has an in-house recruitment agency to help set their students and graduates up with temporary and graduate jobs. In addition, many of the UAL’s courses have placement opportunities and personal and practical development components.