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London College of Printing to be part of arts university

The Elephant & Castle is set to gain another university following the announcement that the London College of Printing is to form part of a new university of the arts.

The London Institute's five art and design colleges are to become a university of the arts, following the approval of the Institute's application for the title of university by the Department for Education and Skills.

The new first new university of the 21st century, the London Institute will strengthen the position of the arts and design in higher education.

London Institute bosses claim that the transition to university status will enhance London's creative reputation internationally, attract greater business sponsorship and help to enhance the development of the capital's creative industries.

London Institute alumni include the actors Pierce Brosnan, Simon Callow and John Hurt; fashion designers Stella McCartney, Jimmy Choo and John Galliano; Sir Terence Conran; sculptors Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley; artist Gillian Ayres and film director Mike Leigh.

Sir Michael Bichard, the rector of the Institute, welcomed the news, saying: "I am delighted that the first university this century will be dedicated to the arts, design and communication. For over one hundred years, our colleges have developed an enviable reputation for excellence. This tradition will be enhanced as part of the capital's new university of the arts."

Former BBC senior manager Will Wyatt, now chairman of the court of Governors of the London Institute, added: "This is a tribute to the five acclaimed colleges' achievements in teaching and research. It is a great reflection on the commitment of the staff, in particular the Rector and his visionary predecessors."

The London Institute will unveil a name for the new university next year.

The new institution will boost the presence of higher education in SE1, which already boasts South Bank University based in Borough Road. King's College London has medical schools at Guy's and St Thomas's hospitals. King's, the London School of Economics and the University of Westminster all have halls of residence in SE1.

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