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Changes to glass and ceramics programming

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Published on 22 March 2024

National Glass Centre
National Glass Centre

The University has been exploring the option of relocating a restructured glass and ceramics programme from the National Glass Centre (NGC) to Priestman Building on City Campus, as part of its work to find alternative locations for activity based in the current NGC building.

We commissioned an external project team to produce a feasibility report to assess the scope and viability of relocating, and to provide a high-level cost estimate. The report concluded that moving equipment and undertaking the necessary changes to the building – for example, ventilation and extraction facilities – would cost in the region of £9.4 million.

Based on this report, and considering the number of glass and ceramics students, the University’s Board of Governors has concluded that relocating glass and ceramics is not financially viable.

The Board has therefore decided that the University’s glass and ceramics academic programme should close in summer 2026. This will allow current students to complete their courses at the University. The University will also stop recruiting to the undergraduate glass and ceramics course due to start in September 2024.

Consultation has begun with all staff affected by this decision. The University has also triggered its Student Protection Plan and informed the Office for Students (OfS).

The University remains committed to providing a range of courses in the arts and creative industries.

In addition, we want to ensure that we have a forward-facing outlook as an institution and can exploit the possibilities afforded by new developments such as the Crown Works/Fulwell 73 film production studios which will be built in the city very soon.

This announcement does not have an impact on our work to find alternative locations for other activities based at the NGC. The University remains in active discussion with its key partners, Sunderland Culture and Sunderland City Council, including on the potential to take space in the Culture House.

In the meantime, the National Glass Centre building and the activities within it remain open. 

No decisions have been made regarding the future of the site beyond summer 2026.