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Royal College of Art appoints Professor Christoph Lindner as new President and Vice-Chancellor

Following an extensive international search, the Royal College of Art today announced that Professor Christoph Lindner will be its new President and Vice-Chancellor. Professor Lindner is an interdisciplinary scholar of cities and visual culture with over 20 years of experience at top universities in the United States, Europe and the UK. His leadership work has focused on advancing educational access and equity, intercultural understanding, and environmental sustainability in the art and design fields. 

Professor Lindner will join the RCA in April 2024 from his current role as Dean of the world-leading Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London, where he is also Professor of Urban Studies. Since joining The Bartlett as Dean in 2019, his focus has been on two main areas: equity, diversity, and inclusion at UCL and across the global design and built environment fields; and taking action on the climate crisis. Achievements during his time include maintaining The Bartlett’s position as the world’s leading institution in the architecture and built environment field (QS World University Subject Ranking 2023); achieving the highest overall results in the UK for the built environment subject area in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework; launching The Bartlett Promise Scholarship programme to diversify the pipeline of graduates entering the design and built environment professions; and introducing a suite of new interdisciplinary degrees in sustainability.

Before joining UCL, he was Dean of the College of Design at the University of Oregon, where he led a comprehensive reorganisation that created the College and three interdisciplinary schools: the School of Art and Design, School of Architecture and Environment, and School of Planning, Public Policy, and Management. Prior to Oregon, he was Professor of Media and Culture at the University of Amsterdam, where he created and led the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis, co-founded the Amsterdam Centre for Globalization Studies, and directed the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis.

He has been a visiting professor at New York University, The New School, University of California-Berkeley, University of Edinburgh, University of Freiburg, Queen Mary University of London, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, and the University of London Institute in Paris. His scholarship addresses the interrelations of cities, visual culture, and social-spatial inequality, and he is the author or editor of 15 books.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, RCA Pro-Chancellor and Chair, said of the appointment:

“The role of Vice-Chancellor of the Royal College of Art is one of the most exciting in the creative sector, and we were keen to find someone of exceptional talents and vision to continue to keep us at the forefront of art and design education. Professor Lindner stood out to us because of his international standing, his breadth of experience across art, architecture and design and his understanding of interdisciplinary teaching and research. Importantly his empathetic leadership, commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and his championing of the student experience reflect what we know our staff and students also want from a leader. I look forward to working with him towards the continued success of the RCA. I would also like to thank our departing Vice-Chancellor, Dr Paul Thompson, for everything he has achieved in his time leading the institution.”

Dr Paul Thompson, current President and Vice-Chancellor of the RCA, said:

“I am delighted by the appointment of Christoph and am certain that with his international track record he will lead the RCA with real flair, wisdom and judgement.”

Professor Christoph Lindner added: “As a place of boundless imagination and bold experimentation, the Royal College of Art is home to one of the most creative communities anywhere in the world. I am deeply honoured to be joining the RCA and excited about working with students, staff, and the whole RCA community, including alumni and supporters, on realising their ambitions. As a global leader in art and design, the RCA is uniquely positioned to mobilise the transformative power of creativity and interdisciplinary practice to address society’s most pressing challenges.”  

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