Lancaster University

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Lancaster’s £10m contemporary arts institute opens

04/01/2011 12:53:52

Lancaster University’s new £10m contemporary arts institute has been formally opened by Professor Geoffrey Crossick, Vice Chancellor, University of London.

Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts (LICA) is a new purpose-built facility for teaching, research and public performance. One of the top three UK research facilities of its kind, the institute brings together researchers from different disciplines to address contemporary problems from improving safety in our cities to testing the boundaries of digital communications.

Speaking at the launch on March 29, Professor Crossick said, in a rapidly changing world, it was important that the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences did not allow themselves to be perceived as a ‘luxury’ and set against Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM).

He said: “We are in a period of rapid and unsettling change. It is essential that we speak from a single world of knowledge and education, one that does not impose false priorities.

“The new LICA building is surely an expression of that – of the importance of the core arts disciplines represented here. Disciplines that speak to the heart of social, cultural and business imperatives. Disciplines that connect so insistently across the disciplinary range.”

He added: “In tough financial times we need to know that all funded research is important and justified. Arts and Humanities must show why we matter if we are to sustain funding. My point isn’t that STEM is useful and Arts and Humanities a luxury. Each is fundamental to priorities that concern us all: economic innovation and growth; good public policy; quality of life; but also something else. Each brings new knowledge with powerful capacity to evoke awe and wonder.”

LICA forms part of the £350m transformation of Lancaster’s campus which began in 2002, creating academic centres of excellence, student facilities, teaching space and new college facilities

Intelligently-designed and expected to achieve top marks for sustainability and environmental performance, the innovative, timber-framed building is home to Art, Design, Film, Music and Theatre Studies as well as LIVE@LICA which combines three public arts facilities; the Peter Scott Gallery, the Nuffield Theatre and the International Concert Series.

It also hosts the research group ImaginationLancaster where current work includes Urban futures - a international study of urban regeneration and sustainability, and Design for Flexibility - how design can help health care commissioning.