All name suggestions will be evaluated by an expert panel, before inviting the community to select their favourite from a shortlist.
Date: 17 March 2022
London Metropolitan University’s School of Art, Architecture and Design has begun its search for a new name and has invited staff, students and alumni, and members of their wider community to suggest names via an online form.
Formerly known as ‘The Cass’, the University made the decision to remove the name of ‘Sir John Cass’ in the wake of the increased awareness in the UK over the legacy of slave traders, and the national discussion that followed the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol on 7 June 2020.
At the time our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lynn Dobbs, said: "We recognise that the use of Sir John Cass' name contributes to the redemption of a man without acknowledging the enormous pain he caused as a major figure in the early development of the slave trade, and the legacy of this pain. The use of his name is incompatible with our commitment to support the Black community and to actively oppose racism in all forms."
All name suggestions will be evaluated by an expert panel, before inviting the community to select their favourite from a shortlist. Full details of the process can be found on the School’s web pages.
Fighting for social justice
Over the last two years, London Met has placed equity and inclusion at the heart of our corporate strategy. In November 2020, the University announced the launch of the Centre for Equity Inclusion to act as the ideological driving force behind its pedagogy, the student experience and workplace culture.
A few months after its launch, the Centre published the University's Race Equity Strategic Plan. Developed in consultation with staff and students, it reflects our commitment to ensure that we deliver real change across the University. The full scale of our activities is not captured in the plan because our approach is truly holistic; every individual in every department of the University is part of the solution to create the systems and environment where everyone is respected and valued.
Reparatory art - addressing our legacy
Alongside the extensive work being undertaken by the Centre for Equity and Inclusion, the school will also be launching a competition for Black artists from within its alumni community next week to submit expressions of interest in creating a piece of permanent artwork that will be installed on our campus at Aldgate. We hope to find something which celebrates our new name and recognises the importance of the continued fight for racial justice and the diversity of our community that makes London Met so great.
The artwork will be developed through a series of collaborative workshops involving students, staff and our wider community.