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04 December 2020

Students explore cultural London through new extracurricular programme

At Home in Cultural London lets students discover London through arts and culture

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At Home in Cultural London transformed London into an immersive, creative online classroom at a time when most students started their university experience through online or blended learning. 

Throughout the six-week extracurricular programme, over 300 undergraduate and postgraduate students from eight faculties based across six continents participated in a journey to belonging to King’s and London, and to connect with likeminded peers.

Bespoke content and activities developed by King’s College London in partnership with artists and organisations at the cutting edge of London’s vibrant cultural scene let the first ever cohort of students explore their personal creativity, different ways of navigating their space, wellbeing, social justice and the future of the city. Creative workshops on map making, movement, photography, sound and zine making offered hands-on opportunities for students.

Cultural London in all of its facets

Each week of At Home in Cultural London explored a different aspect of arts and cultural London and each topic was approached from a variety of viewpoints through the distinctive lenses of King's academics and cultural leaders. 

The introductory week featured contemporary artist and King’s academic Dr Kate McMillan (Faculty of Arts & Humanities) who talked about personal creativity as well as Laia Gasch, Senior Advisor, Culture and Creative Industries to the Mayor of London introducing cultural London. Together with photographer Bella Okuya, students were able to explore creative writing and visual storytelling techniques.

Drawing and printmaking artist Daksha Patel, King’s PhD student Cristina Goldschmidt Kiminami, and academics Dr Daniel Smith from the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and Dr Kevin Lougheed from the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy introduced students to the many layers of London through sessions on digital mapping, London cultural history and writing London.  Dr George Adamson, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Kings Artist Inés Cámara Leret showcased their collaboration on a project exploring different sensory ways in which weather can be experienced in the city. 

This programme has opened my eyes more to art. As a full-time student it's quite important to take the time out for ourselves and don't forget who we really are as we go along this journey of growth.

Alisha Khan, BSc Adult Nursing

Wellbeing formed an important part of the programme, with a number of workshops designed around student wellbeing, and an entire week dedicated to the connection between arts, health and wellbeing. SHAPER programme manager Dr Tony Woods, King’s Arts & Health lead Nikki Crane, textile maker and King’s Artist Dr Angela Maddock, Artistic Director Daniel Regan and alumnus, doctor and musician Dr Mandeep Singh introduced pioneering work at King’s demonstrating how engagement with the arts can enhance healthcare and wellbeing. Students were able to experience this in practice with trainer Tamara Russell who led an immersive workshop exploring movement and the mind.  

Those of us who participated in the workshop felt invigorated afterwards. Some of us decided to start a quick morning routine of stretching or yoga to start the day fully awake and with plenty of energy.

Student, At Home in Cultural London

As part of the Art & Activism week, students were introduced to the long tradition of art as activism in London and how the city is creatively challenging the status quo. Bespoke content featured artists and activists from Queer@King’s, ParaPrideArt Night, dancer and choreographer Sivan Rubinstein and Dr Sarah Fine, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy. Textile artist Lorna Hamilton-Brown talked about her work as a response to racism, while creative producer and illustrator Hana Ayoob led a zine workshop and King’s academic Dr Tiffany Fairey from the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy introduced the topic of participatory photography.  

King’s Cultural Fellow Dr Gus Casely-Hayford OBE, director of the V&A East, Ruchi Chakravarty, Head of Place Shaping at Westminster City Council and King’s academic Dr Robert Cowley from the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy discussed the ways in which London is evolving and changing. In exploring the different lenses through which they can understand cities, students discovered the sounds of London with sound artist and broadcast journalist Anna Staufenberg

Through the programme, I was able to explore and understand London in different ways, which is particularly interesting for those who are new to the city. It also enabled me to build confidence to speak and engage in an online setting. As the course wasn’t results oriented there was freedom to engage as you wished.

Student, At Home in Cultural London

A space to connect with fellow students

The grand finale of the programme drew together students’ experience of engaging with arts and culture in London and offered ways of continuing their collective cultural journey at King’s and within London.

Students commented that it was invaluable to be able to come together with fellow students, exchange ideas and connect with their peers.

At Home in Cultural London builds on King’s Cultural Experience Award and the successful first year module, Thriving in Cultural London, developed as a collaboration in 2019 between the university's Culture team and the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences.

One of the things I enjoyed most was having an opportunity to interact with people interested in culture during lockdown and sharing each other’s creations. The content made think in different ways I haven't thought in before.

Student, At Home in Cultural London

At Home in Cultural London will return in February 2021 for the new academic year.