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  1. The Royal College of Art (“RCA”) values and promotes the public dissemination of student outcomes, whether by physical or online exhibition, publication, performance, lecture, seminar, webcast, broadcast, telecast, symposium, festival and other appropriate means for the public and audiences to access the work of students. Any such event staged at the College and which is visible to the public must be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, or their nominee.

2. The College reserves the right to consider on a regular basis which events to hold, and not to hold events that it considers not to be in its interests.


3. This policy applies to all displays of work produced by students or staff, hosted by the Royal College of Art either at its premises, at premises which the College has hired for the purpose, or via virtual means, to which members of the public are invited. Equally, it applies to events that are not hosted by the RCA but that utilise the RCA’s identity in their labelling or promotion. Audiences may be “open” (any member of the public may attend) or “invited” (selected members of the public may attend). Such events may be free to enter or may include a charge for entry. For the purposes of this policy, use of the word “event” will also cover shows, exhibitions or any other formal display of work intended for audiences external to the College.

4. The staging of,  and invitation to participate in, any event, is at the College’s discretion. The College is committed to publishing fair and transparent criteria for inclusion in its events, and to ensuring that students and / or staff have a fair opportunity to participate. The College reserves the right to use its academic or other forms of judgement to decide whether an individual or a piece of work may be included in any event. In exercising such judgement, the College will be mindful of the requirements of UK law, including Equalities law, health and safety legislation and the College’s obligations in relation to the Prevent Duty.

5. This Policy outlines the commitments that the College will make when staging an event, to ensure fair access, and to ensure that students and staff are clear on the criteria that must be satisfied before work can be exhibited in an event. 

6. The principles outlined in this Policy shall apply as far as is practicable to all displays of work produced by students or staff hosted by the College; the College shall take all reasonable steps to advise students and staff of any deviation from this Policy.


7. The College will endeavour to offer opportunities to exhibit outputs to the public where this is relevant and appropriate to specific programmes and is deemed to be beneficial in terms of supporting student achievement and in use of resources including staff time, but does not commit to offering any specific event, or to ensuring that any individual may participate in an event. Invitation to participate in an event is always at the College’s discretion, subject to the implementation of this Policy.

8. Participation in each event shall normally be on the basis of criteria, which shall normally be published in advance and accessible to students and staff of the College. On occasion, this criteria will be specified by external funders or sponsors.

9. Events may be cancelled by the College where it is judged that that event is not financially viable, presents a reputational risk to the RCA, or where the health and safety of students, staff or the public is judged to be potentially at risk. The College does not accept liability for the cost of production of exhibits or any other cost related to the event in such circumstances.

10. Individual outputs in any event shall normally be required to conform to all legal obligations as well as College policies on ethics. The College reserves the right to conduct a risk assessment for any output submitted for exhibition, and to take action to mitigate any assessed risk, including the withdrawal of the output from exhibition.

11. The College shall comply with its obligations under the Prevent Duty; The College reserves the right to withdraw any exhibit from one of its events that may reasonably be considered to encourage individuals to be drawn into terrorist activities.

12. Students and alumni will not normally be permitted to participate in any event when they are in debt to the College (see the College Student Debtors’ Policy).


13. The College may use work exhibited in public exhibitions for assessment towards an award for its registered programmes. In such cases, the assessment criteria shall be published in advance, alongside any other relevant information, in the programme specification and / or programme handbook. Where participation in a show forms part of the assessment of the programme, all students due to be assessed within the appropriate programme and year group shall have the opportunity to participate in the exhibition.

Publication of Event Information

14. Where the College intends to host an event then the criteria for inclusion in that event shall be published at least 4 weeks in advance.  These criteria may be published on the College intranet, College prospectus or by direct invitation to potential participants.

15. Criteria may include academic criteria; criteria relating to choice of programme or pathway; criteria relating to the stage of programme that a student has reached. Criteria shall comply with all applicable UK law including equality law.

16. Where criteria for inclusion requires an academic judgement, then the College reserves the right to nominate individuals from within their staffing body (including visitors) to exercise this judgement. Appeals against academic judgements shall not be considered.

Equality and Diversity

17. The College is committed to supporting all students and actively promoting the inclusion of student groups who are otherwise under-represented in any student activity. The College is committed to being an anti-racist institution. All public exhibitions shall take due regard of these commitments and take positive steps to ensure the representation of under-represented groups.

Funding, Sponsorship & Support

18. The College reserves the right to engage external organisations to support its public exhibitions financially; this may include approving sponsorship for individual public exhibitions. Any such agreement shall be overseen by the Director of Development and Alumni Relations and must comply with the RCA Gift Acceptance policy and procedures (this extends to any individual support of sponsorship secured by schools, programmes or individual students) ; no external funding arrangements may be approved without this approval. The Gift Acceptance Policy is available from: https://www.rca.ac.uk/more/about-rca/official-information/college-policies-and-codes-of-practice

Health & Safety

19. When preparing physical exhibition spaces for any event, students shall be required to seek prior approval for any proposed changes to the fabric of the College's buildings, to building services, fixtures, fittings or equipment.  This approval must be granted in writing from the Director or the relevant Deputy Director of Estates & Campus Operations before any changes are made.  Such alterations will only be approved and agreed if the Director or Deputy Director of Estates & Campus Operations is satisfied that:

a) the proposed changes are necessary to the successful display of a particular exhibit, 

b) that the alteration(s) will not compromise the safety of students, staff or visitors during the event, or 

c) the alteration(s) can be successfully reversed/restored after the event. 

20. Where an exhibit has the potential to compromise the health and / or safety of any student, staff or other visitor to any event then any member of College staff may refer the work to the College Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) Manager for approval for exhibition. Examples would include work exhibits which presented a fire safety risk, electrical safety hazards or work involving biological organisms. The HSE Manager may:

a) Permit the item to be exhibited unchanged;

b) Apply conditions that must be fulfilled before the item may be exhibited;

c) Refuse permission for the item to be exhibited.

21. Where conditions are applied, on health and safety grounds, before a piece of work may be exhibited then confirmation that these conditions have been met must be obtained in writing or via email from the HSE Manager before the piece may be exhibited.

22. Where the HSE Manager refuses permission for the item to be exhibited then the item must not be exhibited. Any item which the HSE Manager judges to be unsafe shall be removed from exhibition without notice.

Student Debt

23. Students regarded as debtors (as defined by the College’s Student Debtor policy) shall not normally be permitted to set up for, or participate in, an event, until such time as the Registrar has confirmed that their debt to the College has been settled.

Sales of Work

24. The College shall permit the sale of work by students within its public exhibitions, subject to requirements of UK Law. It should be noted that students who are student route visa holders may not normally sell work within the UK while holding the visa due to the rules regarding self employment for visa holders; in such cases that College shall not facilitate the sale of student work from its public exhibitions for student route visa holders.

25. The College reserves the right to charge a commission for the sale of work from its exhibitions; the commission rate shall be published in advance to all participants where appropriate.

Intellectual Property and Use of Images

26. The rights of students and the College in relation to the intellectual property of work produced at the College are enshrined in the College’s Ownership, Protection and Intellectual Property Policy.

27. It is the responsibility of students to ensure that any images or other copyrighted material used in their work are properly credited, and that permission for their use is obtained, where necessary. Where allegations of improper use of copyrighted material are made then the College reserves the right to remove the work from exhibition until such time as appropriate permissions are obtained.


28. Participation in any event is subject to the work having ethics clearance. The College reserves the right to prevent the exhibition of any piece of work within its events that do not have appropriate ethics clearance. This includes withdrawal of a piece from exhibition if it becomes clear that appropriate ethics clearance has not been granted, or if any amendments required by the College’s ethics committee have not been made in advance of the output being exhibited.

29. Ethics clearance shall include consideration of any work that may be considered to breach the College’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity. Ethics clearance shall also include any work that places the College at risk of breaching its obligations under the Prevent duty.

30. Ethics clearance may be conditional; in such cases final approval must be obtained in writing or via email by the participant before exhibition of the piece of work in question.

31. No work that includes the use of live animals shall be permitted for exhibition in any College event. This does not apply to pre-recorded outputs, eg video, but ethical considerations may still apply.

32. The College reserves the right to warn visitors to any exhibition that they may find some of the exhibits offensive if, in the judgement of the Show organiser, content may reasonably cause offence to some individuals.


33. The College is not liable for the costs of shipping work included in its exhibitions. This includes any exhibitions held by the College in overseas locations.


34. The College reserves the right to make and/or use images of work exhibited in its events, for its archive, in its publicity and other materials. All such images will be credited appropriately wherever possible. Such content will only be made available for the purposes of learning, teaching, research and for the promotion of individual students and the College in general. They will not be used by the College for income-generating projects by third parties without consultation with the originator. In granting the College these rights, students retain copyright of their work and the ability to license it to anyone else in any context, including commercially.


35. Appeals against decisions related to event participation may only be considered where an arguable case is established that this Policy has not been followed. Any appeal must be submitted in writing to the Registrar, within 20 days of the decision that is the subject of the appeal; the Registrar (or their nominee) may reject the appeal; or refer the appeal to the event organiser with guidance. Exceptionally the Registrar may refer an appeal to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor with a view to overturning any decision on inclusion. In such cases the Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s decision shall be final.

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