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The Bill Brown Creative Workshops

The Background

It is widely recognised that creativity flourishes most readily between existing disciplines, calling for an openness of mind that is best fostered by sharing a common goal with people of contrasting approaches. Enthusiastic Fellows in Architecture, History of Art, Biochemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Plant Sciences, amongst others, are keen to revitalise and encourage the spirit of interdisciplinary thinking and creativity on which the College was founded in 1958. The Bill Brown Creative Workshops, formerly known as the Creative Hub and re-named thanks to a major gift from the Bill Brown Charitable Trust, will host a dynamic programme of events and create a platform geared towards bridging academic disciplines, and forging new collaborations, so that our students can better respond to the challenges of the 21st century.

Students of all disciplines, undergraduates and postgraduates, will have the opportunity to make things together. The Creative Workshops will provide a hub for creativity and innovation, including a multi-purpose project space, to explore, design, test, scale, build and present ideas – technical, social, artistic and more. It is also aimed at engaging the widest possible audience, both local, national and international, developing an active communication and exhibition strategy as well as a reputation for excellence.

The Project

A wooden design model of the creative space. Half of the building is split over two storeys, the other half is a double height space

Much more than just a building project, this will be a facility unique to Churchill College, providing a “maker” space in the disused oil store next to the squash courts at the front (Storey’s Way) entrance to the College. It has been designed by the pioneering architecture collective ‘Assemble’, who won the Turner Prize for Contemporary Art in 2015, and includes Joseph Halligan, a Churchill alumnus (architecture, U06) as one of its leaders.

The facility will include workshops, both digital and traditional, with equipment to enable students to experiment with different techniques to bring artistic and design projects to fruition. To support the various projects it is intended to have a technician on hand to offer advice, skills and training. Although many University departments have their own workshops, Churchill will be the only Oxbridge College that has such a facilty for truly interdisciplinary endeavours.

How you can take part

We have received a major gift of £750,000 towards the cost of the project but more support is needed to bring this exciting initiative to life. The project needs £1 million to fund the building and a further £2.58 million to build an endowment that will fund running costs and support the full-time technician and part-time director needed to deliver the project’s unique and ambitious aims.

Every gift made in support of the Bill Brown Creative Workshops can make a difference. For example, 23 people giving £30 a month for three years, with the addition of Gift Aid, would support a dedicated technician for one year.

For tax payers seeking to make a donation in a tax-efficient manner, the College and the University of Cambridge can help facilitate this. Both the College and the University of Cambridge are registered charities and in some tax regimes, donations to them can be made exempt from tax. If you are a UK tax payer you can do this directly through the College. If you are outside the UK, please do contact the Development Office for further information.

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"We have already come a long way but now we'd like to enlist your help in making this journey to the next phase. You're already part our history, now we need you to be part of our future."

Professor Dame Athene Donald, Master of Churchill College

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