Cass Arts School holds ‘final assembly’ at Whitechapel over controversial building closure
- Credit: Steven King
An exhibition is being staged ahead of the controversial closure of the Cass Art School’s building in Whitechapel to “draw a line” under the protests when it was first announced 18 months ago.
Students are holding a ‘Central House Assembly’ on Saturday at the building housing Metropolitan University’s Sir John Cass School of Art and Design.
The building had been occupied in a nine-day protest in 2015.
The six-storey block in Whitechapel High Street closes at the end of the academic year this summer, with all courses, staff and students switching to Calcutta House in Old Castle Street in September.
‘The Cass’ eventually moves to the university’s main campus at Holloway in north London in 2020 as part of a £125m ‘single campus’ scheme.
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The move prompted anger from Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs in 2015 when it was first announced, declaring that the closure was cutting the East End’s further education opportunities. Faculty Dean Robert Mull resigned over the move, with senior teaching staff threatening to quit in solidarity.
But all current students are to graduate at Whitechapel before any move to Holloway, head of Cass Andrew Stone has told the East London Advertiser.
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“All the students will be completing their three-year courses at Calcutta House,” he assured. “The move to Holloway won’t happen till September, 2020, at the earliest.”
Saturday’s exhibition from 1pm organised by the students is a reflection on their work as artists and designers in the Cass building “to celebrate and interrogate the closing of Central House”.
A two-week summer show is also planned from June 23 to July 8 as a final celebration of students’ work in Central House.