Barbican’t cut it for graduation

A petition to bring back the Royal Albert Hall as the location for Kings’ graduation ceremonies has recently gained traction online.

The campaign, started by Liberal Arts student Charles Gillett, now has over 500 signatures. It surpassed the 150 initially required within the first four hours of being live on the KCLSU website.

Charles asserts ‘several students and I have expressed our dissatisfaction with the Barbican Centre as the prospective graduation venue’.

Speaking to Roar, Charles outlined his passion for starting the petition:

‘I remember noticing that King’s use to hold graduation at the Royal Albert Hall after I had applied and was searching for more information on universities I was hoping to go to,” he stated, “Around the same time that I was reminded about the Royal Albert Hall, from seeing flyers around the campuses and from various Fresher’s emails, I began to note how much KCLSU advocates students taking an active role in changing and bettering their university experience.’

Charles said that it was the Freshers’ Fair that truly enlightened him to the issue of the graduation venue.

‘The Freshers Fair was held at the Barbican Centre. It soon became common to hear in conversation ‘I can’t believe we’re actually going to graduate here’ or, if someone was hearing this for the first time, ‘No way, why!?’ It seemed that anyone I brought it up with agreed.”


[Photo Credit: Man Vyi]

“I can’t believe we’re going to graduate here.”…The Barbican Centre, current home of the ceremonies

When asked why there was such loathing towards the current graduation venue, Charles said, “I think students’ negative reaction to having the Barbican as the graduation venue is a result of the very dour impression it instils. I certainly felt this way, and I when I mentioned to people that I was considering starting a campaign to change the venue, there was only praise and hope it would be successful. So, I decided to research how to start a campaign and I did.”

Graduation had traditionally taken place at the Royal Albert Hall, however, in a shock move in 1992, the College decided to move the ceremony to the Barbican Centre.

The College has not provided a reason as to why the venue was changed, sparking further student outcry as justification is sought after.

Adam Huber, First Year English Student Representative and supporter of the campaign, said, “I think the Royal Albert Hall is a beautiful venue and from what I hear, quite prestigious as well. As soon as I heard it was the graduation location for 100 years, I thought it was a great idea to bring back an old tradition.”

[Photo Credit: Drow Male]

The Royal Albert Hall: Famously home to the acclaimed BBC Proms

Tradition, it seems, fuels the campaign, with Charles arguing, “Graduation is a very meaningful time and often one of the proudest days of a student’s life…while I think that the Barbican Centre is an important and interesting feature in London, the Royal Albert Hall is very much an iconic and much-loved venue, not just in London but around the globe.”

The petition has thus far gained support from a myriad of departments and societies across all branches of the College.

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