Taking inspiration from this year’s International Women’s Day campaign “Better the Balance, Better the World”, our Art Curator, Rosie Glenn explores how our Knowledge Quarter neighbour, The Slade School of Fine Art, part of UCL, has been pioneering gender-balance for over a century.
Founded in 1871 as the result of a bequest from Felix Slade, The Slade School of Fine Art is today at the very forefront of international creative developments. It is further celebrated worldwide for its inclusive treatment of female students, offering them education on equal terms as their male counterparts from the very outset; whilst other leading institutions forbade women from attending life drawing classes, crucially, the Slade permitted them to join, something not afforded to women at other art schools for several decades.
The Slade School of Fine Art © The Slade School of Fine Art
It is this progressive approach which enabled the Slade to play an integral role in the introduction of women students to UCL and, in fact, this equality has persisted throughout the Slade’s history; since its establishment, there has been largely equal representation of men and women in their prestigious annual student Prize Awards and, in addition, artworks by women comprise 45% of UCL Art Museum's collection.
Slade Ladies Painting Class © The Slade School of Fine Art
Today, as an art school with a leading global reputation, the Slade continues to make a significant contribution to the national and international field of contemporary art. Their alumni form a strong cohort, including figures such as early twentieth century Bloomsbury Group artist Dora Carrington and iconic contemporary sculptor, Rachel Whiteread. Here at Regent’s Place, we are proud to display Reflection, a two-part figurative cast-iron sculpture by Slade School of Art Alumnus and Camden resident, Sir Antony Gormley.
UCL Art Museum © Matt Clayton
In addition, today’s teaching staff at the Slade comprises a vibrant and diverse range of male and female creative talent; all studio staff are practicing artists with significant exhibition profiles, actively involved in research as well as teaching. Head of Graduate Painting, Lisa Milroy, is showcasing artwork in Architecture of London, opening at The Guildhall Art Gallery in late May, and in The Drawing Room’s Biennial Fund-Raising auction and exhibition, now on to 26 March.
Yijia Yang, Slade Degree Show 2018 © The Slade School of Fine Art
Reflection by Antony Gormley at Regent’s Place © Artist
Why not visit the UCL’s Art Museum over lunch? Situated in a traditional print room at the heart of UCL, the collection is home to a range of works on paper and sculptures from 1500 to the modern day plus the prize-winning student work from the Slade School of Art, dating from 1890 to the present day. Out and about for coffee on campus? Find more about our important Antony Gormley installation and the other artworks in our Public Art collection here.