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Virgil Abloh

“Systemic change starts at the grassroots level.”

Virgil Abloh Post-Modern – written statement of intent

In February 2021, following a series of support for the College, Virgil Abloh was appointed as RCA Visiting Professor.

Embodying the RCA's spirit of collaboration and innovation, Virgil was a designer and entrepreneur, who has combined the fields of art, craft and design following his time at university (obtaining both a civil engineering degree and Master’s in architecture) and places diversity at the heart of his practice.

His global influence extended beyond fashion with graphic, product and spacial design partners being a roll call of the most cited brands worldwide including Drake, Mercedes, Nike, Ikea and more recently Evian (whose inaugural Activate Movement Programme grant was awarded to sustainable designer and 2020 RCA graduate, Danielle Elsener).

It was with great sadness that the College learnt of his death in 2021, Virgil was an incredible ambassador for the RCA. The College is honoured to have had Virgil join our community as a Visiting Professor, as a champion for the importance of education and equality of opportunity in creative industries.

“He was a brilliant and passionate creative who was unfailingly curious and optimistic. As a master of his craft, he shared his experience and expertise with a wonderful generosity and kindness that made him a remarkable teacher.”

Sir Jony Ive Friend and RCA Chancellor
Virgil Abloh

Virgil’s legacy will continue to have a positive impact on future generations of creative individuals.

GenerationRCA Fund

Following the generous pledge from the Spiegel Family Fund in 2019, the RCA has been able to establish the GenerationRCA Fund, a permanent endowment fund, which has continued to develop from strength to strength.

The GenerationRCA Fund will provide essential full-fee scholarships to the very best students with the capacity to research, innovate and work at the very top levels within their fields.

The goal of the fund is to unlock the full potential of the College’s strategic plan to become a STEAM-focused university by recruiting the innovators of tomorrow, not just those who can afford to attend.

We are proudly committed to the challenge that by the end of 2022 the value of the GenerationRCA Fund will be at least £10 million and this will continue to develop with the goal of awarding at least £300k p/a.

Third Pokémon Scholars

The Pokémon Company and the RCA were proud to announce the third cohort of Pokémon Scholars - MA Design Products student, Giovanni Dipilato and MA Information Experience Design student, Leon Hapka.

“It is with deep gratitude that I thank the Pokémon Company for choosing me as a Pokèmon Scholar. I cannot emphasise just how influential Pokémon has been in my life since childhood. Their products have introduced me to amazing and innovative experiences. I’m honoured and excited to have been given the opportunity to experience the values and ethos that the Pokémon Company strongly embodies.”

Giovanni Dipilato Pokémon Scholar
Giovanni Dipilato with his awards from Pokémon

Black British & POC Artist Grants 2021

“We believe in developing the creative landscape through talent recognition, academic integration, advocacy, institutional support, long-term partnerships and long form dialogues with leadership institutions who recognise that optimised change comes through infrastructure and design thinking. And so, we’ve decided to do something.’”

Samuel Ross

In response to Black Lives Matter in 2020, and the continued damaging impact of the pandemic on marginalised people internationally (particularly Black British and people of colour), London-based designer Samuel Ross established a new grant programme which sought to improve opportunity and resources.

The initiative continued in 2021, launching in July, with a focus on people of colour and Black British artists and designers. The Royal College of Art was delighted to partner with Samuel on this programme, in an advisory capacity, alongside the British Fashion Council, the Design Museum and Vogue.

The scheme aims to support permanent change through talent recognition, academic integration, advocacy, institutional support, long-term partnerships and long-form dialogues with leadership institutions who recognise that optimised change comes through infrastructure and design thinking.

Dr Paul Thompson, RCA Vice-Chancellor commented: ‘The Royal College of Art is delighted to be working with Samuel Ross and fellow leaders from the art and design spheres on the Black British & People of Colour Artists Grants 2021. Initiatives such as this are crucial for supporting much underfunded fields, whose access needs to be opened up and protected.

By partnering with leaders in their fields like Samuel, we are presented with a true moment to make a step-change in terms of the diversity of talent in the global creative industries, ensuring people from all backgrounds have access and opportunity.

Samuel’s unending talent in crossing the boundaries of art and design align closely with the Royal College and we look forward to working with this group, supporting Black British and people of colour’s talents for generations to come.’