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News article

York St John University invests in the future of the creative industries with new Creative Centre

Published: 10 June 2022

  •   Featured
  •   Campus & Estates
  •    Community
A woman in a dark suit jacket smiles at the camera with a large wooden clad building in the background

Chancellor of York St John University Reeta Chakrabarti has opened York St John Creative Centre

BBC news anchor and Chancellor of York St John University Reeta Chakrabarti cuts the ribbon to launch £17 million public arts venue and teaching space.

An invited audience of community partners and creative industry professionals joined staff and students for the formal launch of the York St John Creative Centre. BBC news anchor and Chancellor of York St John University Reeta Chakrabarti officially opened the building alongside University Vice Chancellor Professor Karen Bryan OBE.

At a total cost of £17.2 million, the Centre provides a public venue for art, design, and performance in the heart of York city centre. It is available for public use, with preferential rates for local businesses and groups to help creative communities to recover following the pandemic.

First opened to students in October 2021, the York St John Creative Centre provides a permanent new home for the University’s music and computer science courses. It also features specialist spaces for performance, creative writing and media production students.

Spanning three floors, the purpose-built space has been developed by one of the UK’s leading environmental architects, Tate + Co. The building is low energy and has been designed with sustainability and adaptability in mind to cater for students’ needs and to benefit the wider community.

The 2,000m2 of teaching space are column-free inside, designed to adapt to future re-configuration should the University’s requirements change. The 180-capacity auditorium is designed to facilitate teaching as well as performances, with a fully accessible technical level – ensuring wheelchair users can operate all elements of stage production.

It also makes the most of its proximity to York Minster and the University’s connection to its historic surroundings with carefully framed views throughout the atrium, recital hall and critical listening room.

The building project was carried out by Keir, one of the UK’s leading construction and infrastructure services companies.

Speaking at the launch, Chancellor Reeta Chakrabarti said: “The Creative Centre is just one example of how York St John University is continuing to invest in the cultural and economic capital of York and the wider region. This major new arts venue has been built with community in mind and it welcomes everyone to enjoy accessible creative performances.”

Vice Chancellor Professor Karen Bryan OBE said: “With a vision to put creativity at the heart of our campus, the Centre delivers an awe-inspiring space in which all of our students and staff can collaborate and inspire. York St John is committed to ensuring talented students can achieve their potential and contribute to the UK’s creative industries. The investment in facilities will enhance students’ experience on growing courses that develop creative and practical skills. We aim to share this creativity for the benefit of the communities in which we live and work.”

Jerry Tate, Director at Tate+Co said: “The Creative Centre at York St John demonstrates that you can provide students with state-of-the-art facilities without sacrificing environmental sustainability. It was important to plug these aspirations into the design from the outset and this is the reason the University chose our practice. They recognised that the only future for the campus is one that puts the needs of students first, while simultaneously supporting greater sustainable initiatives.”

The launch event was timed to coincide with the month-long School of the Arts Festival 2022, our final year degree show featuring exhibitions and performances of student work. 

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