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About your Virtual graduation

Photograph of an orange haired model underwater, swimming towards the light
Photograph of an orange haired model underwater, swimming towards the light
Zoe Sujin Lee, 2021 BA Fashion Design with Marketing, Central Saint Martins, UAL | Photograph: So Yuul

From 19-23 July 2021 we will be hosting Virtual graduation for the Class of 2020 and 2021. Find answers to frequently asked questions about the virtual celebrations.

How Virtual graduation works

Why is graduation happening online this year?

We are unable to host an in-person ceremony this year due to scheduling challenges with our partner venue, the Royal Festival Hall, Covid-19 safety measures, and ongoing uncertainty around travel, particularly for international students.

Who can join a Virtual graduation ceremony?

All graduating students have been sent an email with a link to their ceremony. Anyone you share your link with can join the event.

Can 2020 graduates join this year’s Virtual graduation celebrations?

There is a ceremony specifically for the Class of 2020 on Friday 23 July at 9.45am.

How long is the ceremony?

The ceremony is around 1 hour long. Please ensure you join at the correct the time, as listed in your email invitation.

Ceremony details

Is the ceremony free for my guests?

Yes, it’s completely free to view for you and your guests.

Will you be sending a breakdown of the ceremony in advance?

You will receive a series of emails before Virtual graduation begins with information on what to expect and how to join.

Who will host the ceremony?

The event is hosted by Vice-Chancellor James Purnell and Chancellor Grayson Perry, with appearances from Deans, Heads of College, PVCs and students.

Will my course leader be there?

We have written to all staff encouraging them to attend and hope many will join us throughout the week.

Were students involved in designing the event?

We consulted with students on the format and content of the event and many familiar faces from across the university will appear in the ceremony. Due to the timing of the event preparation (coinciding with assessments and the end of term), we worked with professional agency Yellow Fish on the development of the virtual platform and our in-house Brand team on the look and feel.

Will any students feature in the ceremony? How can I get involved?

Students from across UAL feature in the filmed elements of the ceremony following callouts for volunteers.

The best way for you to get involved is to take advantage of the interactive elements on the Virtual graduation platform and look out for the tie-in competition we’re launching soon.

Will there be graduation merchandise available to buy online? 

There will be links on the Virtual graduation platform to Arts SU, not just a shop, Campus Clothing and Grad Bears. You’ll be able to purchase UAL branded items such as hoodies, personalised teddies and beautifully designed items by UAL students and graduates.

Will there be an opportunity to take a graduation photo in a gown?

We are offering BA and MA graduates from any College the opportunity to be photographed in a cap and gown at Central Saint Martins between Monday 12 July 2021 and Friday 16 July 2021. Find out more about photographs.

Will students have the chance to post congratulatory messages?

There will be a live comments box during ceremonies where you can interact with fellow attendees.

Technical details

Do I need to register?

No, you do not need to register to attend Virtual graduation.

You should have received a link to the Virtual graduation platform by email on 16 July 2021. This link will allow you to access the ceremony and its interactive features.

Friends and family can use the same link to join the event if you share it with them.

Do I need to download any software?

No, you can join the ceremony and experience Virtual graduation using any web browser.

Will my name appear on screen?

Yes, as long as you have ticked that you are a graduating student when you enter the Virtual graduation platform. This will ensure that your name appears on screen throughout the ceremony.

Will I be on camera and/or able to turn my microphone on?

Throughout the main ceremony attendees will have their camera and mic turned off. When you enter the virtual photo booth with friends and family, you will be able to turn these features on.

There will also be a comments box in the main ‘auditorium’ where you can post live messages during the ceremony.

Can I watch the ceremony on social media, the UAL website or on my phone?

We will be sharing highlights on social media throughout the day, but the ceremony will take place on the Virtual graduation platform via the link sent to you.

For the best experience, we recommend joining on a laptop or computer, although a phone will also work.

Will there be captioning during the ceremony?

We have worked hard to ensure that the ceremony is fully accessible for as many people as possible. Captioning is available for those with hearing difficulties.

There is no lengthy text for those with difficulty reading from screens.

Will the ceremony be accessible across the world?

The ceremony will run on your chosen internet browser so should not be blocked.

At the time of development, the platform was accessible across the world. We cannot guarantee this will not change before the platform goes live.

If you do experience issues, you can watch the ceremony on demand shortly afterwards.

Will the ceremony be available on demand if I can’t watch live?

Yes, if you can’t join at the time, the ceremony will be available to watch on demand shortly afterwards and will be available on the Virtual graduation platform until 30 July 2021 at 11.59pm (BST).

If a technical issue disrupts the event will it be rearranged?

The ceremony will be hosted on a robust platform and we don’t expect any technical issues. You should have received a support email address as part of the email that contains your event link. You can use this to get one-on-one help if you experience technical issues on the day.

After the ceremony

Will we get a recording of the ceremony to keep?

A recording of the ceremony will be available to watch on demand following the event. You will also receive a commemorative digital programme which is yours to download and keep.

Will there be any after-ceremony online events?

There will not be any official after-ceremony events, but you are welcome to arrange these in your classes.

How long after my ceremony can I access the Virtual graduation platform?

You'll have access to the Virtual graduation platform until 30 July, 2021 at 11.59pm.

Can you tell me more about the social media competition?

From Monday 19 to Friday 23 July, you can share your photos, videos and screenshots from Virtual graduation on Instagram Stories for a chance to win a £50 voucher for not just a shop. There’s 1 prize up for grabs each day.

The competition is open from 9am on Monday 19 July to 12pm on Friday 23 July. Entries must be posted on Instagram Stories, tagging @unioftheartslondon and using #UALGrads to be eligible. By entering, you give your permission for your entry to be reposted on the UAL Instagram Stories channel.

Winners will be chosen at random at 6pm each day. Entrants must be following UAL on Instagram, as winners will be contacted via Direct Message.

This competition is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram.

If I attend the virtual ceremony, can I still attend a future in-person one?

Yes, you are invited to join us at a future in-person graduation ceremony. This offer will be open for the next 5 years.

We will share more information on how you can get involved in the future.

Will the future in-person ceremonies go ahead regardless of numbers?

Providing it is safe to do so, we will increase the capacity for future ceremonies. Planning is ongoing and more information will be communicated to you in due course.