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A diary of missed opportunities.

What your students’ union has being saying for so long.


Report to Court of Governors, October 2008 Campaigning for change Being an active Students’ Union is about improving the experience for students, which often means being a critical friend to the University. Whilst we embrace opportunities to work together in enhancing student life at Arts London, there is a limit to what we can help deliver and a point at which we have to be entirely critical of the speed of change and priority of the University. The student portal is one of these areas. Whilst I understand that there is progress on this, I believe there needs to be significantly more. It’s been a topic of conversation for some years, yet only this summer has the idea been assigned a ‘champion’, and many of the discussions linger on what it should include and the current inadequate IT infrastructure, rather than deciding a vision and acting on it. On another matter, encouraged by recent discussions on the sustainability and green agenda at the University, we welcome the new leadership on this but we remain sceptical of both the practical implementation and educative programme that the University has to take with both staff and students to make this work. Sustainability is extremely close to individual student agenda’s and it’s the University’s responsibility to make it possible for practical matters like reduction in energy consumption and recycling provision to be provided and expected of everyone within the institution. The Students’ Union has the development of a new Student Hub as one of their priorities for the next twelve months. The development of Davies Street has realised some of our ambition set out in 2005-06 to have a central London space for students but, as recognised in the Student Hub Review Report, it falls short of the expectations of students and of what the student voice clearly communicated in 2006. The review goes into detail that I would not wish to duplicate but I do want to pull out a few key themes and urge that Governors take seriously the necessity to find a building that meets the needs and expectations of the students. To give colleagues a fresh view of student opinion on the matter, we have recently consulted a group of students who were not involved in the original focus groups just over 2 years ago, resulting in setting out ‘The student vision for the Student Hub’ which is attached as an appendix to this report. Without going into detail and accepting that our consultations were not wholly scientific, the views and opinions collected from students now rarely differ from that collected in 2006. This shows that the needs and expectations of students are not changing drastically and that the current realisation of the Student Hub concept does not go far enough to meet them. The SU understands it is crucial that we work in partnership with University Management to ensure that the future of the Student Hub as indicated in both the Student Hub Review and as an expectation of widely held student opinion is delivered or secured for the future. We are also keen to work together in the short term, to make the best possible use of Davies Street, and are already working to this end, for example; creating a ‘Tate’ style map of the current layout, to help students navigate the building.


Report to Court of Governors | November 2008 | Helen Gimber The Student Hub and The Portal; strengthening community at University of the Arts London, essential to the ‘One University’ vision In June of this year, during our training, the Students’ Union Executive chose four priority campaigns for this academic year, two of which focused on community at University of the Arts London, both in the physical and virtual sense. These campaigns manifest in pushing for the development of the future Student Hub and the Portal up move up the University’s agenda. At this time we felt that although both projects had enjoyed much discussion at many levels in the University, there was confusion over who was heading up the projects respectively and that no clear vision had been widely accepted and acted upon. Since then we have been pleased with some progress on discussions around both the Student Hub and the Portal. Arguably more developments have been visible on the Portal project, with it being assigned a champion, receiving outings at various University committees and notably UMT citing it as a priority. We are happy with the level of debate that now surrounds the Portal project and to add to it we are preparing a paper that will set out the student vision for the Portal, to go to the Student Life Committee later this month. We remain worried, however, that the development of the future Student Hub has not yet received an equal amount of focus. Back in June the widely held view was that the University would be safe in Davies Street until at least 2015. Yet we still felt that it was an important issue to campaign on, understanding that large estates projects take time and thinking that in this instance pre-empting the inevitable move could only have a positive impact on the student experience. Most are in agreement with the Students’ Union view that Davies Street has never been perfect as a Student Hub, so why not make the break sooner rather than later? Since then with the worsening economic climate, the Government have announced their intention of spending to save the economy and labour markets which will have a direct impact on large scale publically funded projects like Cross Rail. Our connections in both Westminster and in a commercial property company, have allowed us to understand that the buildings affected by the planned Cross Rail Station at Tottenham Court Road have been served their notice. This intelligence was confirmed just two days before Cross Rail were digging up the road outside Davies Street testing the ground. Whether or not you accept that the need to consider the future of the Student Hub is as urgent as we are now suggesting, we still think the call for it to be put back at the top of the University’s agenda is a valid one. The Student Hub is absolutely crucial to the idea of ‘One University’, and if we intend to take the ‘One University’ vision seriously, then we need to take the development of the future Student Hub seriously. For too long Kings Cross has been the only major Estates project in mind and the Students’ Unions’ attempts to raise the profile of sourcing a suitable building for the Student Hub have been met with resistance. It


is imperative that the University allow the Student Hub concept to realise the vision that it sought to achieve, allowing the project the time and resource it needs to find a new home, which will be a major factor in its success. I’d like to take this opportunity to touch upon the journey so far: Arts London poor NSS results back in 2005 led to discussion on enhancing the Student Experience at every level within the University. A UMT away day, involving many senior staff and around 20 student representatives, focused the discussion onto specifics; community, central space, constraints on learning and social space, etc, and a number of projects were carried forward, the concept of a Student Hub being one of them. Phase 1 of the Student Hub at Davies St was completed in October 2006 but plans for phase 2 including the gym, student led gallery and a larger scale social space were shelved, the three things that students at the time had clearly articulated would make or break the success of the building. The current incarnation of ‘The Student Hub’ concept at Davies Street, realises some of the ambition set out in 2006 to have a central London space for students at University of the Arts London. And it’s fair to say that the Hub has come a long way since then, which many students have benefited from and enjoyed. But, as recognised in last year’s Student Hub Review Report, it falls short of the expectations of students and of what the student voice clearly communicated in 2006. Again, I will not wish to duplicate the report here, but I do want to pull out a few key themes that need to be taken seriously. In the summer we consulted a group of students who were not involved in the original focus groups 2½ years ago. The result of this led to setting out ‘The Student Vision for the Student Hub’, the first version of which was presented as an appendix to my Governors report in October. Since then we have consulted yet another group of students, and now present a slightly refined vision, attached as a document in its own right to this report. The views and opinions collected from students in the last few months rarely differ from those collected in 2006. This shows that the needs and expectations of students are not changing drastically and that the current realisation of the Student Hub concept does not go far enough to meet them. NSS results both this year and last, show no significant improvement in student satisfaction, and I think it’s easy to argue that this is in part due to the lack of facilities that a Student Hub could provide. The success of the Student Hub was always recognised to be the right mix of spaces and services that would offer a unique experience to our students that would draw them to the building 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. This is still achievable but the critical success factors will be in the location and the composition of the building. We would like to set out the following recommendations and urge that Governors and University Management recognise the opportunity ahead and share the Students’ Union’s position that this development is much more important to progress positively than to wait till our hand is forced. Recommendations: 1. That the Student Hub project is assigned clear leadership, and that this leadership is communicated widely within the University. 2. That a clear vision for the Student Hub is agreed on, which takes into account student expectations and the findings of the Student Hub Review.


3. 4.

That some consideration is given to sourcing an appropriate building. That KPI’s are set to achieve the vision and manage the project.

The Students’ Union cannot stress enough that we are fully committed to working in partnership with the University to realise the next step for the Student Hub. As in 2006, we look forward to making a meaningful contribution to the project, and will welcome invitations to any relevant discussions that take place. The SU will, as always, actively seek to support, guide and help deliver projects that will enhance the experience of students at University of the Arts London. We’d also like to note here that in the mean time, we are also committed to working with the University to make the best possible use of Davies Street as the Student Hub. To this end we continue to take all opportunities to host student related events and in addition to playing a key part in the operational management of the Hub, students have started to design a ‘tate’ style map of the building to aid navigation of the space while other students continue to make representations on branding, communication and promotion in the Colleges. Successful realisation of both the next Student Hub and the Portal would greatly enhance and support the community of University of the Arts London, which it turn would massively impact the student experience in a positive way. I hope it is plain to see there is a clear appetite from students for both projects succeed and whilst we continue to make the best of current resources, we are looking forward to what the future holds for Arts London. The student vision for The Student Hub The Student Hub of the future needs to provide students with a multitude of services, extracurricular opportunities and platforms for networking and career enhancement. There can be no doubt as to what the purpose of The Student Hub is, it should be wholly student focused and should be branded, serviced and function in a manner fit to this purpose. The chosen building needs to be a neutral space, not aligned to or associated with any particular college. Acknowledging that there has been substantial discussion around location of the next Student Hub, we would like to steer away from considering Kings Cross or Pimlico, as a building in these areas would forever be associated with CSM or Chelsea respectively. The Student Hub needs to be located in zone 1 and considering where the bulk of the Arts London population is based, our opinion is that more thought should be given to the area south of the central line, especially around Southwark and Waterloo. Perception of distance differs dramatically between individuals but opinions from both our recent consultations and the Hub Review suggest that students would be happy to make the journey to a building that has the services they need. The list below indicates the expectations of students as to what a Student Hub should house; this is true of the students consulted recently and in 2006. We would like to emphasise that this is not a wish list rather a list of essentials that, if realised, would truly make a difference to the student experience. It is generally felt that The Student Hub should contain a range of services flexible spaces, that can be utilised to various ends, ‘bookable space’ - available to


services flexible spaces, that can be utilised to various ends, ‘bookable space’ - available to anyone across the University. The Student Hub should house: • • • • • • • • • •

Centralised school offices Centralised student facing registry enquiries 24/7 IT access in both Learning Zone style & more traditional computer room format A central reference Library with a return & order facility Student Services (as currently listed) International Centre Language Centre – offering courses to both students & the public Students’ Union Head Office Cafe Bar (serving food & drink till late) Shop – selling university merchandise & student designed/made products

• Various small-scale flexible spaces; used for lectures, seminars & for showing films • A large-scale flexible space; used as a Gig Venue, Ballroom Dancing Hall, Theatre for performances, etc; all providing late night offering in a safe student environment • At least two exhibition spaces, one student-led and one university run showing both student, alumni & even staff work on a regular basis • Gym Facilities & Dance studio • Student Activities resource space including space for group work, admin work, printing, and student media development (paper, LCMS, radio etc). This list is not unreasonable; as colleagues will know, many other HEIs, both in London and nationally have had such services as standard for a number of years. We also truly believe that this building can aspire to be recognised as one of London’s cultural centres, making the absolute most of the space by running part time courses, training courses, hosting lecture programmes or short film festivals. These types of activity would make this building a 365 day a year offering, the focus of which would be the benefit and education of students but excellent execution of the vision would provide new income streams, while strengthening University of the Arts London brand and reputation. Alongside all the student-facing services listed above, we’d like to propose that University Management working in the same building would be a positive thing. With students at the heart of it would be both an uplifting experience and a physical reinforcement of why the University exists. I look forward to some debate and discussion on discerning the way forward on this critical project which fits so clearly into the University and Student visions for the future.


The
Student
Hub:
Version
2.0
 The
Students’
Union
Space
Requirements
for
Hub
Move
–
February
2009
 


Background
 When
moving
to
the
Hub
at
Davies
Street,
there
were
a
number
of
compromises
that
were
made
in
 housing
the
SU
central
functions
within
a
reduced
space.
When
moving
to
a
new
Student
Hub,
there
 are
a
number
of
considerations
and
space
alterations
that
need
to
be
included
in
the
move.


 Currently,
there
are
a
number
of
functions
that
are
located
at
CSM
in
two
different
buildings
which
 will
not
be
available
beyond
the
move
to
Kings
Cross.

i.e.
‐
At
Back
Hill;
an
Archive
Storage
Space.

At
 Southampton
Row;
a
good
sized
Office
and
storage
space
and
the
‘We
are
Arts’
space
‐
a
student
led
 gallery
space.

 


SU
Central
Office
Space
 This
could
be
in
the
form
of
either
one,
two
or
three
open
plan
spaces.


 


What

 Total
of
28
 Workstations
 1
Cellular
Office
with
 meeting
table
 1
Reception
space
 At
least
2
private
 consultation
areas
to
 be
equipped
with
IT
&T
 1
Large
Meeting
Room
 1
Small
Meeting
Room
 Storage
space

 Storage
space


Archive
space
 
 


Description
 Configuration:
layout
in
4
distinct
teams
 allowing
for
increased
confidential
spaces
for
 senior
management.

 Office
&
meeting
room
for
General
Manager
 Preferably
be
distinctly
at
the
front
of
the
 building
and
not
necessarily
in
the
office
space.
 For
the
Advice
workers
to
use
with
clients
–
 could
be
housed
off
the
SU
reception
area
or
 the
main
office.
 Meeting
room
for
at
least
20
people
 Meeting
room
for
at
least
8
people
 Stationary
store
and
copier
room
off
main
office
 15m2
 Equivalent
of
20m2
other
storage
around
the
 office
for
files,
reception
stock,
books
and
 reference
materials,
student
activities
 immediate
storage
 (financial
and
HR
records)
could
be
elsewhere
in
 the
building

10m2
 TOTAL


Min
sqm
 290m2




Ideal
sqm
 360
m2


17m2


22.5m2


30m2


50m2


6.5m2


9m2


20m2
 10m2
 15m2


42m2
 20m2
 20m2


20m2


25m2


10m2


15m2


418.5m2


543.5m2


Student
Activities
Resource
Centre
 This
would
be
a
resource
centre
for
student
activities
leaders.

This
could
be
near
the
SU
offices
but
 is
not
part
of
it.

 


What

 8
workstations

 
 Meeting
space

 Large
table
 Storage
area
 


Description
 


Min
sqm
 52
m2



Ideal
sqm
 60m2


(6‐8
people)
 Space
for
planning
/
making
things
(sewing
etc!)

 for
kits,
equipment
and
other
resources
–
20m2
 TOTAL


10m2
 10m2
 20m2
 92m2


20m2
 15m2
 30m2
 125m2


Café

 The
Student
Hub:
Version
2.0
–
Appendix
3
–
The
Students’
Union
Space
Requirements
for
Hub
Move
 Students’
Union,
University
of
the
Arts
London
 


Page
1
of
2
 March
2009



• •

Salad
Bar,
Grab
&
Go
and
Hot
food
offer
so
ventilation
should
be
considered
from
the
outset.

 Could
consider
making
a
retail
unit
(memorabilia
and
confectionary
etc)
in
the
same
space


What

 Seating
Area


Description
 At
least
250
capacity
(ideal
sqm
could
include
 retail
area)
 
 


Serve
area
&
Kitchen
 Staff
toilet
&
storage
 area
for
café
staff.

 
 
 


Min
sqm
 300m2



Ideal
sqm
 500m2


40m2
 15m2


50m2
 15m2


TOTAL
 355m2


565m2


Large
Scale
Events
Space
 


What

 Venue
space
 Bar
area


Description
 At
least
800
capacity
venue
 Bar
area
to
be
created
with
full
cellar
space
and
 draught
access.
 Dry
and
cellar
storage
within
easy
access
to
 delivery
points
(roughly
1/3
size
of
the
venue)
 TOTAL


Storage
 
 


Min
sqm
 440m2
 40m2



Ideal
sqm
 700m2
 50m2


100m2


150m2


580m2


900m2


Student
Activities
Studio
x2

 2
of
these
would
be
the
minimum
that
would
be
wanted.
Ideally
it
would
be
one
larger
space
that
 could
easily
be
partitioned
when
required
to
maximise
flexible
usage.


 



What

 Studio
 Storage
 Showers
 Changing
rooms
 
 
 


Description
 one
of
the
spaces
to
have
a
dance
floor,
the
 other
space
could
have
a
cheaper
solid
floor
 Central
Store
of
20m2
could
serve
both
spaces
 3
minimal
for
each
sex
 Mens
and
Womans
or
unisex

 TOTAL


Min
sqm
 
Ideal
sqm
 150m2(x2)
 300m2(x2)
 20m2
 20m2
(x2)
 50m2
(x2)
 460m2


40m2
 20m2
(x2)
 50m2
(x2)
 780m2


IT
MUST
BE
NOTED
THAT:

 • • • • 


All
figures
above
DO
NOT
include
an
additional
calculation
for
immediate
ancillary
needs

 The
figures
also
DO
NOT
include
standard
15%
additions
for
primary
circulation

 The
figures
DO
NOT
include
an
additional
%
increase
for
circulation
in
any
storage
areas
 The
figures
DO
NOT
take
into
account
the
layout
and
circulation/
usability
of
the
space


PLEASE
ALSO
NOTE:
 • • • • • 


Not
detailed
the
cash
handling
requirements
 Not
detailed
the
need
to
be
located
near
additional
meeting
spaces
for
staff
meetings,
large
 student
meetings,
regional
meetings
 Not
detailed
the
space
required
for
financial
archiving
 Not
detailed
the
space
required
for
a
mini
gym
(details
can
be
supplied)

 Not
detailed
the
bicycle
storage
areas
needed


The
Student
Hub:
Version
2.0
–
Appendix
3
–
The
Students’
Union
Space
Requirements
for
Hub
Move
 Students’
Union,
University
of
the
Arts
London
 


Page
1
of
1
 March
2009



MORE TO FOLLOW.... Including a report from as recent as May 2009. We will publish this soon.

Hub Campaign History  

A series of papers written by the SU on the various options the SU feel should be explored for a high quality Student Hub and what we believ...

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