Professor Robert Williams

The University of Cumbria is one of Britain's newest universities, but we have a history of educating professionals going back over 150 years. We were formed in 2007 from Cumbria Institute of the Arts, St Martin's College and the Cumbrian campus of UCLan. With academic strengths in education, healthcare, sports, visual and performing arts, humanities, social science, law and criminology, science, outdoors, forestry and land studies we will have a great course to start any career!

10,500 students study with us every year at campuses and sites in Carlisle, Ambleside, Penrith, Lancaster, Whitehaven, Barrow and London and we employ around 1,200 staff. Most of our students choose courses at the University of Cumbria based on our reputation and locations. 300 students from 26 different countries outside the UK study here. We develop and train more teachers than any other university and we are the largest provider of outdoor study degrees in the UK.

The university has a firm commitment to, and a history of, accessible higher education regionally, nationally and internationally. At the centre of the university’s mission is the provision of an accessible and outstanding student experience and we aim to ensure as many people as possible benefit from the transformational opportunities provided by higher education. This includes seeing many students from less advantaged backgrounds succeed in higher education. We also have strong links and close partnership working with the four FE Colleges in Cumbria (Lakes Colleges, Furness College, Carlisle College and Kendal College) as well as York-based Askham Bryan College, to enable HE delivery locally across the county.

University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts
Brampton Road Campus
United Kingdom

Nominated members:

NAFAE role:
Practitioner Research

External examiner:

Research Lead at University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts. Cumbria Institute of the Arts began life as the Society for the promotion of Fine Art in 1822. An Academy of Fine Art was founded a year later; this became Carlisle School of Art in 1854. The School was based on Finkle Street and then at Tullie House on Castle Street in Carlisle. Brampton Road enters the story in 1949, when the Homeacres site came up for sale. Carlisle City Council acquired it, and the School – now renamed the ‘College of Art’ – moved into the listed building ‘Homeacres’.

By 1950, full-time courses and evening classes were taught there. In the early 1960’s a new build was created adjacent to the Homeacres building which is now home to the University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts as a centre for excellence in art and design and media. This building contains the 118-seat Stanwix Arts Theatre, a range of dance, graphic design and fine art studios together with film and television suites, lecture theatres, library and refectory facilities and our newly dedicated Vallum Ditch Gallery. Fine Art housed at the Caldewgate building since 1996, has now relocated to Brampton Road to join sister courses in the Arts.