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Cruciform Hub Opens with Fanfare

Paul Ayris16 January 2015

Cruciform_Hub_opening15 January 2015 saw the formal opening of the UCL Cruciform Hub. 150 guests assembled in the Hub to hear the Provost and President, Professor Michael Arthur, describe his delight at the opening of this new learning space for UCL. Following on from UCL’s fantastic results in REF 2014, the Provost described the Cruciform Hub as a companion strand of activity which will fundamentally change the learning experience for students in UCL.

The Hub itself was jointly opened by Professor Jane Dacre (UCL and President of the Royal College of Physicians) and Dr Deborah Gill (Interim Director, UCL Medical School). Professor Dacre was able to tell the audience that the space by the entrance to the Hub, where the ceremony took place, was (as she remembered it) once the UCLH Pharmacy, opened by a Dickensian key by those who needed to collect drugs for the Hospital.

As Director of Library Services, I was honoured to give the vote of thanks and to explain just how revolutionary these learning spaces are. I explained to the audience that, in a formal consultation, the project had received over 1,000 comments from students telling us what they wanted their new learning spaces to look like. By common assent, they set the model for all learning spaces in UCL in the coming years. The Provost referred to the new Student Centre, being built on the Beach site, which will have 1,000 learning spaces. These spaces will be managed by UCL Library Services and it is the mix of learning spaces in the Cruciform Hub which will set the baseline for this further provision.

The UCL Medical School Choir gave musical performances throughout the 2 hour party. There were exhibitions of objects from UCL Public and Cultural Engagement (PACE) and from UCL Special Collections. A prize object, which drew lots of attention and praise, was an original copy of Vesalius’s De Humani Corporis Fabrica, 2nd edition (1555), the first book on scientific anatomy – UCL has three copies.

The opening ceremony and party were a great success and a fantastic advert for the Library and the way it is delivering, with others, the UCL 2034 vision. All those involved in the project and in arranging the opening ceremony and party are to be congratulated on a fantastic result.