About our school

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Inspiring creativity since 1858

We are an academic community of art, design and media professionals focused on developing the creative practice of our students through studio, workshop and classroom based experimentation.

Cambridge School of Art is home to some 900 students, on undergraduate, taught masters and doctoral qualifications. All our courses offer distinctive integration of practice and theory, using industry standard facilities. Our students are encouraged to become both creatively and critically engaged with their practice, each other and their respective industries. All our courses are taught by research-active staff, recognised nationally and internationally as leaders in their fields.

Our students, academic and technical staff, visiting artists and industry representatives work closely together in a supportive and friendly environment in the historic Ruskin Building. Built as the original art school in 1909, this remains at the heart of Anglia Ruskin University’s Cambridge campus.


The past

The original Cambridge School of Art was opened in 1858 by renowned British art critic, draughtsman, watercolourist and prominent social thinker John Ruskin. It has remained well-regarded ever since. Legendary cartoonist and graphic artist Ronald Searle (1920-2011) studied here, as did Edward Bawden, one of Britain’s greatest graphic artists, illustrators and printmakers, and Gustav Metzger, the pioneer of auto-destructive art.

In 1953 Odile Crick, a lecturer at Cambridge School of Art, drew the original sketch of the DNA double helix, to illustrate the pioneering work by geneticists Crick and Watson at Cambridge University. During the highly creative and experimental 1960s, Cambridge School of Art was home to many talented tutors and gifted students, including caricaturists Roger Law and Peter Fluck of Spitting Image fame and Pink Floyd members Syd Barrett and Dave Gilmour, who played one of their first gigs from the balcony of the Ruskin studios at Christmas 1966.


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The present

Our modern-day Cambridge School of Art retains the creative ethos of the foundation on which it is built. Engaging with current debates surrounding contemporary practice, and housing state-of-the-art facilities, it is a perfect combination of the old and the new. The original Ruskin building houses light, bright studios along with industry-standard film and photographic studios, 150-year-old printing presses alongside dedicated Apple Mac suites. The Ruskin Gallery exhibits both traditional shows and multimedia presentations, incorporating the first digital gallery of its kind in the UK.

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