The Royal College of Art (RCA) today announced the launch of its new Sir Frank Bowling Scholarship. The Scholarship will support 24 UK MA and MRes students and 1 PhD student every year from Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage, or mixed Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage, across MA, MRes and PhD study, from 2022.
The scholarships will be worth £21,000 each, covering tuition fees and contributing to living expenses, and are supported by a donation from the RCA’s own funds. Scholarships will be awarded each year, to support an increasing number of students, and will apply to all areas of the RCA’s postgraduate study – arts and humanities, design, architecture and communication.
Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor at the RCA said:
“As the world’s leading university for art and design, we want to continue attracting creative, innovative and talented students, regardless of their background. The College is proud to be committed to establishing a multicultural community which is inclusive for all students and staff, and this scholarship is an important piece of work in growing that community. We’re particularly delighted that it can carry Sir Frank Bowling’s name, as one of our most famous alumni, who has himself made such a huge contribution to painting and visual culture internationally . ”
Sir Frank Bowling is an RCA graduate and one of the finest artists of his generation. Widely acknowledged as a modern master, he has been experimenting with paint and extending the language of abstraction for more than six decades. Born in British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1934, Bowling arrived in London in 1953, graduating from the Royal College of Art with the silver medal for painting in 1962. By the early 1960s, he was recognised as an original force in London’s art scene with a style combining figurative, symbolic and abstract elements. For many years, Bowling divided his time between London and New York and visible in his work are the legacies of both the English landscape tradition and American abstraction. Bowling became a Royal Academician in 2005 and was awarded the OBE for services to Art in 2008 and a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2020. His work is represented in fifty collections worldwide and has been exhibited in over 160 group and 100 solo exhibitions.
Sir Frank Bowling OBE RA said:
“Being accepted to The Royal College of Art changed the course of my life. It was the first time I had the freedom to do what I wanted to do, and it gave me an opportunity to pursue a career as an artist. My success at the College was down to the confidence that Carel Weight, then Professor of Painting, had in me; he recognised my talent, helped with funding, and became my mentor. I had the most marvellous experience at the College and I’m honoured and delighted that these scholarships will enable further generations of artistic pioneers to reach their full potential.”
As part of its commitment to making postgraduate study open to people from all backgrounds, the number of scholarships available to RCA students experiencing financial hardship is set to increase. For the academic year 2022/23, more than 180 scholarships, awards and prizes will be available to RCA students, with an overall value of approx. £4m.
This growth has been supported by gifts from a large number of foundations, individuals and commercial organisations, including:
The Burberry Design Scholarship, which targets UK students on a broad range of courses, to enable them to unlock their potential regardless of financial circumstances, with preference given to students from underrepresented communities
The RCA Logitech Scholarships, which provide scholarships for students on any course from underrepresented communities and facing financial hardship
The Charlotte Fraser Scholarship supporting UK MA Ceramics and Glass students
The Orla Kiely Scholarship which supports UK MA Textiles students
The Tony Snowdon Scholarship, which supports students from any programme with a physical or sensory disability