University of East Anglia

From Academic Kids

The University of East Anglia (UEA) is a campus university located in Norwich, Norfolk, England, founded as part of the British Government's New Universities programme in the 1960s.

Academically, it has been one of the most successful universities founded in the 1960s, consistently ranking amongst Britain's top higher education institutions.

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The famous 'ziggurats' of the student accommodation at Norfolk Terrace, photographed in January 2004.

UEA admitted its first students in 1963 in temporary accommodation in Earlham Hall, on the western edge of the city of Norwich about 3 miles from the city centre, while a prefabricated "University Village" was built nearby and used until the early 1980s. The permanent campus was built on the adjacent Earlham Golf Course, principally to a design by Sir Denys Lasdun. The design of the campus consists of rather bleak 1960s concrete (Concrete being the name of the weekly student newspaper founded in the early 1970s, and resurrected in 1992 as a fortnightly tabloid) and can be uninviting in winter when cold winds can blow with little interruption from the Urals.

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The campus as seen from the air in the 1970s.
The UEA campus exhibits some interesting architectural features: the main teaching building takes the form of a continuous wall running approximately west-east. The early student residences built in the 1960s take the form of distinctive "ziggurats", but financial cutbacks by the early 1970s meant that the full original plan for building ziggurat residences had to be abandoned, and replaced by the less inspiring north-south wall of Waveney Terrace. UEA also took over the former RAF/US Air Force barracks at Horsham St. Faith airfield, and used them as residences. This outpost of campus life was known as "Fifers Lane" from the road it stood on, and developed its own unique style of student life. Fifers Lane eventually closed in 1993, when further residences, again in an advanced architectural style, were built on campus.

In the mid-1970s, extraction of gravel in the valley of the River Yare, which runs to the south of the campus, resulted in the university acquiring its own 'Norfolk Broad' or lake (known as simply 'The Broad'). At more or less the same time, a bequest of tribal art and C.20th painting and sculpture, by artists such as Francis Bacon and Henry Moore, from the Sainsbury supermarket family resulted in the construction of the striking Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the western end of the main teaching wall, one of the first major works of architect Norman Foster. In 2001 the campus gained an extensive new sports facility called the "Sportspark", built thanks to a £14.5 million grant from the Sport England Lottery Fund, and a purpose-built theatre.

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"The Square", as seen in September 2002.
Other notable features of the UEA campus are "The Square", a central outdoor meeting place flanked by concrete steps; "The Blend", a rather dated but very popular glass-fronted coffee shop, "Zest" a newly refurbished student canteen and "The Street" which features a 24-hour launderette, the Union Food Outlet, Union Paper Shop, Union Post Office, a sandwich shop called "Mango", branches of NatWest, HSBC and Barclays Bank and a Waterstone's book shop. Connected to both "The Street" and "The Square" is one of the most popular Union venues: the "Union Pub and Bar" which underwent a massive extension and refurbishment at the cost of £1.2 million in 2002. The pub took over "Breakers", a rather low-rent eatery with a scrapyard theme which was briefly turned into an unpopular pasta place. Other bars include "The Hive" (which, due to efforts from the Student Union, was refurbished for the start of the 2004/05 year), and the "Graduate Students Club". In the same building is the large common room (LCR), which is home to the notorious weekly campus discos, as well as the many touring gigs. The students' union also run "The Waterfront" venue off campus in Norwich's King Street.

UEA has had notable successes in terms of courses taught. Malcolm Bradbury for many years taught in the School of English and American Studies and his 1975 novel The History Man is believed to be based on his experiences there, satirising as it does life and work in a modern 1960s-built concrete University campus. The Climate Research Unit in the School of Environmental Sciences was an early centre of work on climate warming.

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The 1970s student newspaper Phoenix, as seen on an advert for the paper on Nexus UTV, the student television station.
Aside from the independent student newspaper Concrete, there is a thriving student media across a range of areas. In the 1970s, there was a highly successful student newspaper named Phoenix, which ran for several years. Livewire, the campus radio station, which transmits to air on 1350AM in the vicinity of the university as well as broadcasting on the internet, was established in 1989.
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The 1970s Nexus UTV logo.
Nexus UTV, the campus television station broadcasting news, documentaries, comedy shows and various other types of programming, shows regularly in the bar and is one of the oldest still-running student television stations in the country, having been established in 1968.

As at 31 December 2003, the university had 10,320 undergraduate students, 1929 postgraduate taught students, and 1061 postgraduate research students, giving a total of 13,310 students, of whom 72.9% were full-time students, 11.9% came from outside the European Union, and 62.5% were female. As at 31 July 2004 the university employed 2421 staff (including 511 academic staff, 357 research staff, 480 secretarial and clerical staff, 153 technical staff, and 266 administrative, senior library and computing staff). In the year ending 31 July 2004 the university's income was £117,669,000. and its expenditure was £116,980,000. (Statistics from the 2003-04 Annual Review.)

Future developments

A new hall of residence, Colman House, will open in September 2005, housing 400 students. This is part of a further development of accommodation blocks around Waveney Terrace, which will provide a further 886 rooms. When the new development is complete, Waveney Terrace will be demolished.

In partnership with the University of Essex, and with the support of Suffolk County Council, the East of England Development Agency, Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk College, and the Learning and Skills Council, UEA has secured £15 million funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England with the aim of creating a new campus in the Waterfront area of Ipswich.

Notable alumni

External links

de:Universitšt von Ostanglien eo:University of East Anglia


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