The University of the Arts London is Europe’s largest higher education institute dedicated to the study of fashion, art, design and the performing arts.
UAL actually comprises six separate colleges, the most famous of which is arguably St Martins, which has produced some of the art and fashion world’s most recognised names, including Stella McCartney, Louise Wilson, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen.
The other five colleges are: The Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts; the London College of Communication; and the London College of Fashion. The colleges were founded between the mid 19th and early 20th century.
Formerly known as the London Institute, UAL gained full university status in 2003, and took on its current name in 2004. In 2011, Central St Martins moved to a new custom-build complex.
Remarkably, more than half of the winners and nominees for the Turner Prize - a prestigious annual UK arts prize which started about 30 years ago - are alumni of UAL. In addition to this, more than half of the recipients of British Designer of the Year also studied at the institution.
More than 50 per cent of the fashion designers who had shows at the prestigious London Fashion Week in the autumn / winter of 2016 had studied at UAL, and its alumni have also won awards including the BP Portrait Award; the Jerwood Prize; and the Minerva Medal.
Central St Martins has museum status thanks to its extensive collection of work by both past and present students of the university, and by its staff.
Across all of UAL’s campuses, there are seven professional, public galleries, which showcase what the university describes as a “diverse programme of cutting edge interdisciplinary exhibitions”.