The Cass, one of London’s leading schools of art, architecture and design, situated in Aldgate, is to be sold off to a commercial devolper. The building will now likely be turned into more luxury flats, offices or retail shops. The Cass has already sold their Commercial Road Building for development into a school.
The big plan is to move The Cass to Hollaway and build a new bespoke home. Fears are that they will scale down from the large studio based premises, to class rooms, where everything can be economically designed on computer screens. Currently its building contains well-equipped workshops and studios. The head of design at Apple, Jonathan Ive stated in a speech last year, at the London Design Museum that too many art colleges are placing more and more importance on working from computers and students will no longer ‘know how to make stuff’ as they will only know design from the drawing board stage. Workshops in design schools are expensive and computers are cheaper and take up far less space! Turner Prize winner, Jeremy Deller, a visiting professor at the Cass, calls it “a total success story” that supports something that Britain is good at: “What China looks to Britain for is well-made and well-designed objects. The Cass may look like the past, but it is the future.” Where will the future William Morris be trained? Artist Bob and Roberta Smith, who teaches at The Cass plans to erect a banner on the building stating; “Art Makes People Powerful”.
Despite the school’s rising numbers of applications, market share and student satisfaction it is under threat. All stems from London Metropolitan University’s financial deficit which has prompted the new administration to sell the Cass building for an estimated £50m. The university also plans to cut enrolment numbers from 12,000 to 10,000. The school unified a number of other London institutions, including the London College of Furniture and the City of London Polytechnic. It also provides working artists’ studios. Poppy Melzack a spokesperson from London Metropolitan told Artlyst, “The artists of the future will be trained at The Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design in their new and improved workshop and studio spaces on a single and collaborative campus in Islington”.
Join the campaign
We are opposed to the plans to move London Metropolitan University onto one campus. We believe that the proposed closure of The CASS (John Cass) and Moorgate campuses represents a massive attack on students, staff and access to education. These cuts can potentially lead to courses “discontinued”,staff losing their jobs, and prospective students loosing the opportunity to study as the number of student places are reduced.
London Metropolitan University is an incredibly diverse institution that has provided opportunities to many people who would otherwise be excluded from education. There are more Black students at London Met than the entire top 20 universities combined, and this University supports the largest number of women returning to education in the country. These cuts will hugely undermine London Met’s role in promoting access to education for working class and disadvantaged sections of society. We call upon the University management to scrap these destructive cuts and we call upon the government to provide proper funding to London Metropolitan University and stop the cuts which are destroying education at this institution.
Photo: P C Robinson © artlyst 2015