Our history


BCU Visual communication history The origins of the School of Art were founded in 1843 in the Birmingham Government School of Design. In 1877 the School was taken over and expanded to become the Birmingham Municipal School of Art.

In 1885, the School moved to a purpose-built Venetian Gothic building on Margaret Street. In later years, the School became known as Birmingham College of Art. As the College grew, additional accommodation was created adjacent to Aston University at Gosta Green.

With the founding of Birmingham Polytechnic, the College of Art became known as the Faculty of Art and Design. In 1988 a merger between Bournville College of Art and Birmingham Polytechnic formed the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD).

Around that time, the Department of Graphic Design had an annual intake of around 50 students, with most studying graphics, fewer studying illustration and only a handful photography.

In 1992, Birmingham Polytechnic gained University status, and became the University of Central England. That year that the Department of Graphic Design changed its name to the Department of Visual Communication.

Staff and students at BIAD were consulted in the 2000’s regarding what they wanted to see for a proposed new Parkside Building at Eastside.

Now and next

From September 2014 the School became part of the Faculty of the Arts, Design and Media. The Faculty embodies the strong creative and culture offer of the University and builds on one of our distinctive strengths. The Faculty is located primarily on our City Centre Campus and benefits from a shared use of space and facilities.

Our City Centre Campus consists of three buildings:

  • Millennium Point (home to the Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment and the Birmingham School of Acting)
  • The Parkside Building (home to the Faculty of the Arts, Design and Media)
  • The Curzon Building (home to Business, Law and Social Sciences, and the School of English)