Since the university was founded in 1965 significant developments have sprung up across campus. Glossy new buildings crafted with impressive glass frontages and sweeping wooden or metal structures dominate campus.
Completed in 1970, the Humanities Building is far removed from the sparkling gem of WMG and is considered in dire need of an over-haul. Since its construction, it has received little to no refurbishment.
It may seem to an Arts student that their exclusion from the modern collection of on-campus spaces means that their studies are not considered as ‘academic’ enough. The only building servicing the Faculty of Arts in this list of developments is Milburn House, extended in 2009. Yet it is completely disconnected from main campus and does not serve the entirety of humanities.
Humanities Building is far removed from the sparkling gem of WMG
Prior to the completion of the Oculus building last year, there was a real buzz of excitement and anticipation around campus; talk of brand new teaching and learning spaces was an encouraging sign for humanities students.
As it turns out, from a number of friends and personal experience – we have seen very little of the inside of Oculus’ shiny new spaces. Instead I find myself tucked away in small seminar rooms within Social Sciences for my history seminars.
Prior to the completion of the Oculus building last year, there was a real buzz of excitement
The Humanities Building itself is dated and left behind by the rapid modernisation across campus. The monstrosity of a seventies brutalist piece of architecture sticks out like a sore thumb and inside the maze of identical corridors the spaces are dark and impractical. The Humanities Café provides the only social seating area in the building (the best Café on campus I might add).
Essential IT facilities available to students are lacking, and although the library is next-door, we all know finding a computer is often impossible. Frequently, seminar rooms are overcrowded and technology seems to fail us at every opportunity.
The Humanities Building itself is dated and left behind by the rapid modernisation across campus
Although we are paying the same £9000 per year in tuition fees, there is a disparity in the attention given to different faculties, whether that be buildings, facilities, resources or contact hours.
I can understand that the science and technology industry is booming and there appear to be more accessible and attractive partnerships available with businesses such as Jaguar Land Rover. However, I think that without equal resources and buildings, how will humanities students ever unlock the same potential as science students?
Although we are paying the same £9000 per year in tuition fees, there is a disparity in the attention given to different faculties
In 2015 the ‘IF’ project assessed student sentiments surrounding a new humanities building and the results seemed incredibly positive. Its popularity seemed to lose momentum and again humanities seemed to be snubbed for science-based projects.
Encouraging news comes in the form of a competition to design a new Faculty of Arts building launched by Riba in September 2016. The results of the competition and proposals are due to be presented at the end of February. Perhaps it is about time that we get some of that fancy, futuristic, glass building goodness.