Official opening of the KEHS Design Centre

Professor Helen Higson with Principal Kirsty von Malaisé at The KEHS Design Centre
The KEHS Design Centre was officially opened last Thursday at a reception attended by governors, staff, Old Edwardians, students and parents from our current or recent public exam cohorts, friends of the school and representatives of the architects and contractors who brought the vision to life.

The KEHS Design Centre was officially opened last Thursday at a reception attended by governors, staff, Old Edwardians, students and parents from our current or recent public exam cohorts, friends of the school and representatives of the architects and contractors who brought the vision to life.

Guests gathered in the wonderful new gallery space to hear from four speakers, with creativity and space being the central themes.

Principal Kirsty von Malaisé opened proceedings, talking about the project from conception to completion, explaining the thought processes behind the design of the building, and the opportunity the facility provided to introduce GCSE DT and GCSE Computing into the curriculum and have enhanced spaces for Art, all being powerful developments in the context of a girls’ school. She thanked those who had been involved in the project, including former Principal Ann Clark for instigating it, the KEHS staff who led the project, colleagues from KES who provided valuable contributions and advice, governors for their support and external partners.

Old Edwardian Natasha Chetiyawardana (OE 1998), whose career has included creating new business and digital products for huge corporations around the world, was unable to be with us in person but sent her message and best wishes via video. She addressed the importance of creativity, the qualities that someone with creativity has and how these attributes can aid your path and career in whichever direction it takes. She encouraged everyone to keep pushing the boundaries, using creativity to go beyond the status quo. You can watch Natasha’s video below.

Nick Bassett, Head of Art and Design and Technology, highlighted the importance of the everyday habits we adopt, speaking about the skills and attributes required to create a successful culture for learning. He commended students on their resilience, courage, openness and curiosity, especially as much of the artwork on display that evening had been created during the pandemic.

Professor Helen Higson OBE DL, who is Professor of Higher Education Learning and Management at Aston University and Chair of the Ikon Gallery, touched on the importance of mixing academic study with creativity. She challenged KEHS to be an anchor organisation in Birmingham, and encouraged collaboration with other anchor organisations in the city, explaining that we all had a duty to others to promote creativity and working together. Professor Higson declared the Design Centre officially open with the unveiling of a plaque.

The evening concluded with tours of the building and guests enjoyed exploring the building and the work on display.

Development of the Design Centre was a huge undertaking, with much valued contributions from the KEHS Facilities and IT teams, our Art, DT and Computing departments, architects Pinnegar Hayward Design and main contractor Interclass.

You can view photographs from the official opening here.

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