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Introducing a Creative Hub at Churchill College

27th March 2020

As you may know, the launch event for a Creative Hub at Churchill College had to be postponed due to the Coronavirus emergency. Not to be deterred, we have chosen to bring the launch to you in digital form and we invite you to discover more about the ideas behind this exciting new project, as well as the vision for future generations at Churchill.

Creative endeavour is the motor of future success. 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, Biochemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, History of Art, Mathematics, and Plant Sciences, amongst others, are keen to revitalise and encourage the spirit of interdisciplinary thinking and creativity on which Churchill College was founded in 1958. The proposed Creative Hub 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, both undergraduates and postgraduates, will have the opportunity to make things together. The Hub will be a place for creativity and innovation, and will include 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 Creative Hub 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, 2006) as one of its leaders. The Creative Hub 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 facility for truly interdisciplinary endeavours.

It is not unusual for our students to combine excellence in an academic area with a hobby which may include design. However, unless they are studying architecture or engineering, students would not generally have access to a creative working space. The Creative Hub will allow groups of students from disparate disciplines, and with a wide range of interests, to join together and be creative – for example, they might conceive a theatre set in Virtual Reality and then invite a director to use it to optimise the lighting and staging of their production, or to work with schools on collaborative projects, or jointly to create a device that meets some as yet unidentified or unsatisfied need. The programme for the Hub will include group projects, as well as talks, performances and exhibitions to influence, inform and inspire students, as well as attract future applicants and visitors to the College.

The Hub is aimed at re-articulating the founding mission of the College for the 21st Century and beyond. It will help form and inform the next generation of innovators, the pioneers who can make a difference through meeting the demands of our ever-changing world.     

Barry Phipps, Founding Director of the Creative Hub                                                                                       

The building project cost of £1 million will transform the space within a disused oil store at the front of the College, to provide workshop facilities and storage on three levels and a double-height exhibition and project space. The large, double-height space will also be used for talks, screenings and performances which  benefits from an entrance on Storey’s Way, making it accessible to the general public. In addition to a variety of tools, the workshops will be equipped with a 3D printer, and other advanced digital equipment such as VR. 

You can find out more about the project and watch our new video on the Creative Hub website or contact the Development office: development@chu.cam.ac.uk 01223 331660

Creative Hub webpage

Watch the video

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