20 October 2021

The University of East London can play an important role in the capital’s proposed cultural quarter in the Royal Docks, says a leading arts academic.

UEL's School of Arts and Creative Industries (ACI) sits at the heart of the new hub, which is looking to create a vibrant cluster, supporting up to 35,000 jobs and £5 billion of investment over the next 20 years.

Professor Simon Robertshaw, dean of the school, based at Royal Docks, said the move was a much-needed boost to the sector. 

"The creative industries are a vital part of the UK economy, worth tens of billions annually, so this is a welcome chance to bring together a range of talents and businesses to strengthen the foundation of new creative ideas.

"As a school, we prepare career-ready creative professionals who will be primed to slip seamlessly into jobs that this cluster will hopefully generate. We'll be looking to build partnerships to ensure future students take full advantage of these opportunities right on our doorstep.

"Our staff and students are already heavily involved in grass-roots arts in East London, a dynamic pocket of creativity driven by diversity and originality, and often bringing to the spotlight overlooked voices."

UEL students from the BA acting, performing arts, dance, and drama and applied theatre degree courses feature in the new immersive, community-led show Arrival which will take place on October 21-23

The announcement of the cultural quarter and the Arrival presentation both form part of a festival of live performance, art, and events called Royal Docks Originals, running to October 31.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said: "We are delighted to announce the plans to transform Royal Docks into London’s most exciting place for cultural and artistic production and the home for innovation and ideas across the capital. 

"With a vibrant and growing community in a borough that has the youngest population anywhere in the country and is the most diverse, we have a very rich creative culture with huge business potential."

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "This major new cultural quarter has the potential to deliver 35,000 jobs, 4,000 new homes and more than £5 billion of inward investment within the next 20 years.

"As London’s only enterprise zone, business rates are reinvested into the Royal Docks local area and £314 million has already been approved to transform this part of the capital as a distinctive location for business and culture."

The Royal Docks, home to UEL’s Docklands Campus, has already begun its work and is set to open a range of creative workspaces and cultural infrastructure including the Factory Project, which will transform Tate & Lyle Sugar warehouses and yards into community workspace from next year.

Also lined up is Soldier of Orange, a rotating theatre show, which is due to open in 2023.

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