Central Saint Martins
The identity of Central Saint Martins is inherited from two groundbreaking arts and design schools: St Martin’s School of Art and the Central School of Arts and Crafts. From their Arts & Crafts beginnings, both educational institutions developed radical creative practices and progressive social values in education. The two schools merged in 1989 to create Central Saint Martins (later joined by Byam Shaw School of Art and Drama Centre London). Central Saint Martins has a long history of artists, designers and performers who have challenged and shaped the world around us, from Edward Johnston and Terence Conran to Gilbert and George. Among our alumni are Turner Prize and Oscar winners, Royal Academicians, a large number of Royal Designers for Industry, as well as innovators transforming the fashion world.
While the traditional understanding of art school may be a space for individual empowerment – thinking and making as expression – Central Saint Martins believes that art and design has a responsibility to engage with the social and political contexts in which work is made. Creativity has no utility if restricted to the studio or the academy; it is in the public sphere where it finds its power. Art and design are often seen at Central Saint Martins as vehicles for protest, comment, community engagement and societal change. This is particularly the case with the current political and social context, against which our students have quickly found means of expressing their personal and collective positions.
Our multi-award winning building houses a broad sweep of disciplines under one roof, encouraging creative generosity and collaboration. Increasingly, the work emerging crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries, as students find hybrid and unexpected ways of working. Our location, at the heart of the ongoing development of King’s Cross increases the need to open our doors, metaphorically and physically, to the world. We may be an international organisation, but we are also a local one; art and design happenings appear on our doorstep, national events like Design Junction and The Big Draw take up residence alongside public design consultations to improve local council services.