Chelsea takes over Tate to celebrate move

February 4, 2005

Chelsea College of Art and Design students will cosy up to their new neighbours tomorrow night when they curate the "Late at Tate Britain" event and play host to a speed-dating session in the gallery.

Students will try to encapsulate the fusion between future arts leaders and established greats with DJs, singing and drumming workshops and human architecture - students will form a human wall around the Tate bar.

Bethan Lewis, a first-year fine arts student who helped organise the event, said the evening and the move it celebrates were exciting experiences.

"It's a really good opportunity to meet new people and all the people who we didn't come into contact with before."

The college has just moved to its new home in Millbank. The site originally housed the world's first modern prison, but more recently it was home to the Royal Army Medical College, where scientists worked on the first anti-typhoid vaccine. The Ministry of Defence used the site until 2000, when the London Institute (now the University of the Arts London) acquired it for Chelsea College.

The college had been at the purpose-built Manresa Road site since 1964.

According to Roger Wilson, head of the college, students have adjusted to the new premises quicker than staff.

He said: "Staff are like a jelly mould in the shape of Manresa Road, and, crudely speaking, we have had to melt them down and reshape them into the new campus.

"The environment of higher education art and design has been important since the 19th century. They knew how to make buildings teach in a way that we have forgotten. I wanted to get back to the idea of the building as an educational machine."

Chelsea last week also won £4.5 million in government funding for a centre on creative learning in practice. New exhibition spaces will allow textile students to host shows and events, an opportunity that only art students had been able to enjoy until now.

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