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Medieval Friary in Norwich becomes home for photography students

Norwich University College of the Arts has officially unveiled its newest student resource – the East Garth Photography building, which will serve its BA (Hons) Photography degree course with a state-of-the-art digital darkroom and extensive studio facilities for still life, fashion and portraiture photography.

The East Garth Photography building is based in one of the city of Norwich’s most valuable pieces of heritage. The East Garth building is a former medieval Friary and considered as one of the best surviving and most complete examples of its kind in the country. The redevelopment was undertaken with Scheduled Monument Consent and English Heritage provided expert advice and support at all stages of the project.

English Heritage Regional Director Greg Luton says: “The East Garth was in need of conservation and it was important to find a use for the building which protected its medieval elements whilst allowing it to be fully used. The scheme has in our view been very successful and brings together innovative and modern design with sensitive conservation and traditional materials. We have been very supportive of Norwich University College of the Arts in particular and we hope that this use will provide a long term sustainable option for one of Norwich’s most important and historic buildings.”

Norwich University College of the Arts’ Photography course teaches commercial photographic practice, with students acquiring a business skillset in preparation for a career as a professional photographer. Professor John Last, Principal of NUCA, reflects: “Students studying creative disciplines at Norwich University College of the Arts develop their skills using the same equipment and facilities as are used in industry. Our commitment to investing in our infrastructure and professional-standard resources reflects our recognition that a degree course must prepare students for successful careers in the creative industries.”

In 2010 NUCA opened its Monastery Media Lab, supporting degree courses in Animation; Games Art and Design; and Film and Moving Image Production. This redevelopment of a Victorian school building earned Hudson Architects a prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects East Spirit of Ingenuity Award. Norwich University College of the Arts’ programme of redevelopment continues in 2012 with the completion of its new Design Studio – an open plan, fully equipped studio facility for its Graphics courses including break-out seminar rooms and an atrium.

Source: Norwich University College of the Arts

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