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Reflecting on past international alumni events

People taking part in a life drawing class
People taking part in a life drawing class
UAL East Coast Alumni hosted by Great Bowery. Photos by Josh Wong
Written by
Eleanor Harvey
Published date
28 July 2020

Events can be the best way for University of the Arts London (UAL) alumni to meet contacts, make new friends, and share thoughts with other creatives across a wide range of industries; and our international alumni associations and groups develop, organise, and host a wide range of activities for alumni to take part in.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our communities haven’t been able to host any in-person events over the last few months, so we thought we’d take this time to reflect on past events that have been a particular highlight!

Woman smelling perfume
UAL Germany Alumni perfume workshops hosted by AER Scents. Photos by Nassim Rad

AER Perfume workshop, German Alumni Association, 2019

In October 2019 the German Alumni Association organised two perfume workshops, where graduates from across all six of our Colleges were joined by prospective students who will be joining UAL in September 2020.

The workshops were hosted by AER Scents, an independent perfume house based in the heart of Berlin. They hand blend unique, 100% botanical perfume from the best natural ingredients, sourced from around the world.

At the AER workshop, guests received an introductory talk on perfume; learning how to formulate a perfume, how to work with ingredients and the five main perfume families. After a short break, they went into the lab, where everyone had a chance to use AER’s incredible library of natural perfuming ingredients to construct a base note, heart note and top note, before blending them together into their own self-mixed perfume, which they could then take home.

Find out more about the UAL Germany Alumni Association

Photo of guests in a room with plants
UAL x Theory Alumni Reception hosted in Fast Retailing’s Innovation Centre in Meatpacking District, NYC. Photos by: Alan Barnett Photography

Theory Alumni Reception, US East Coast Alumni Association, 2018

Around 800 of our graduates call New York City their home, many working across the creative industries and taking part in fascinating and inspiring projects. And back in 2018, many of them joined us for an exclusive cocktail reception at the new design headquarters of leading fashion brand Theory, in the heart of New York’s Meatpacking District.

The evening was made extra special as we were joined by Theory Founder and CEO, Andrew Rosen, who took part in a Q&A with questions from Central Saint Martins’ (CSM) Fashion Programme Director Hywel Davies. Both Hywel and the audience where keen hear about Andrew’s impressive career in fashion, his thoughts on the industry and the thinking behind Theory’s exciting Fast Retailing Innovation Center, which guests were able to take a tour of following the Q&A.

Find out more about our US East Coast Alumni Association

A woman and a man talking
UAL Hong Kong Alumni Reception hosted by Lane Crawford

Hong Kong Alumni Reception, Hong Kong Alumni Association, 2018

In April 2018, the Hong Kong Alumni Association hosted a lively panel discussion at design incubation space The Loupe.

The discussion was on ‘New Trends in Education and the Creative Industries’ and was chaired by former Dean of Academic Programmes at CSM, Anne Smith. The panel included:

  • Dr Gino Yu (Associate Professor of PolyU Design, Digital Entertainment)
  • Tanya Chou (President of the UAL HK Alumni Association)
  • Nathalie Melville (CSM alumna and Creative Director of Melville Fine Jewellery)
  • Carrie Pin (Co Director, The Mills Fabrica)

Throughout the evening the panellists were often challenged and questioned by audience members who all came along with their own opinions and experiences from both creative industry and education.

Find out more about our Hong Kong Alumni Association

Group of people chatting
Alumni Reception hosted at ROSSO Arts in Shanghai

Craft workshop, China (East) Alumni Association, 2018 

China is home to UAL biggest alumni community outside of the UK, and back in April 2018, with space generously given by Rosso Fashion & Arts Education, we were able to host two events during a celebratory day in Shanghai.

The afternoon started off with a hands-on creative workshop lead by China (East) Committee President Ash Cheng and Cheng Qian, exploring the crafts and traditions from Dehong in Yunnan Province. The inspiration came from Cheng’s research into mengbanaxi, a form of paper cutting, created by local women across Dehong to show respect for Buddha. During the workshop, guests mixed traditional craft from Dehong with modern materials to create their very own piece of contemporary folk art.

In the evening there was a party like no other; with British themed music, decorations and food, our alumni danced the night away reminiscing and sharing stories of their time studying at UAL and living in London.

Find out more about our alumni associations in China

These events are only a fraction of what our international alumni volunteers organise, and without their support and dedication, UAL wouldn’t be able to provide our international alumni community with regular opportunities to network, share job opportunities, take part in creative projects and make friends in a city or region they might be new to.

If you’ve got an idea for an online event that you think our alumni would enjoy, please do get in touch at

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