Creatives are looking to collect stories and memories to celebrate an art school’s 150th anniversary.

UH Arts + Culture are working with St Albans Museum + Gallery to explore and celebrate the history of the St Albans School of Art, which later became the School of Creative Arts at University of Hertfordshire.

The project brings together alumni, students and teachers, and collates memories of their time at the art school, culminating in a celebration event in September 2024.

Launching with an alumni event at the museum on Wednesday, May 22, the project invites people with memories of the art school to share their stories and work with the Hatfield-based university and the Museum + Gallery to explore the school’s history and its place in the region’s culture.

These recollections will be shared with the public through an event at St Albans Museum + Gallery later this year — laying the groundwork for an exhibition in 2025 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the School of Art.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Students at St Albans School of Art, circa 1980, from the University of Herfordshire archives.Students at St Albans School of Art, circa 1980, from the University of Herfordshire archives. (Image: University of Hertfordshire) 

St Albans School of Art was renamed Hertfordshire College of Art and Design in the 1970s and later merged with Hatfield Polytechnic.

The institution is now known as University of Hertfordshire, where the arts and humanities subjects are taught at the School of Creative Arts. 

Elizabeth Murton, curator and programme manager at UH Arts + Culture, said: “We’re delighted to be working with St Albans Museum + Gallery to discover more about this important Art School, and its legacy, from those who lived, worked and created within its walls.”

Launch Event 

Project organisers are inviting anyone with a connection to the School of Art — whether as staff, student or with a relation to alumni — to join them for a launch event at the St Albans Museum + Gallery on Wednesday, May 22 to hear more about the Living Memories of St Albans School of Art project and to start sharing your stories. 

You can book your place for the launch event at 

Following the first event, participants will be invited to a series of sessions enabling them to record their own oral histories as well as exploring the history of the school through local archives, art collections and through group conversations. 

Sarah Keeling, curator at St Albans Museum + Gallery, said: “Building on all the memories generously shared by alumni in 2021, we’re excited to be a part of this new research ahead of our exhibition in 2025.

"The School of Art and St Albans Museums have been closely connected (in their many forms) for 150 years and we're looking forward to continuing to share our story together.” 

The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, through an award from the University of Hertfordshire’s AHRC Impact Acceleration Account.