Christoph Lindner has been appointed as president and vice-chancellor of the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London, one of the most prestigious posts in arts academia. Lindner replaces Paul Thompson who was appointed chair of the British Council earlier this year. Thompson led the RCA for more than 15 years.
Lindner will join the RCA in April next year from his current role as dean of the Bartlett, University College London's (UCL) faculty of the built environment. He has also served as professor of urban studies at UCL. “Since joining The Bartlett as Dean in 2019, his focus has been on two main areas: equity, diversity, and inclusion at UCL and across the global design and built environment fields; and taking action on the climate crisis,” a statement says.
Lindner was previously Dean of the College of Design at the University of Oregon and Professor of Media and Culture at the University of Amsterdam, where he created and led the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis.
According to the college’s annual report for 2021-22, the vice chancellor’s salary was £256,538. The same year, the institution received £89.5m in total income with the RCA ending the “financial year on 31 July with a modest 1% surplus”, Thompson said.
In the report, the RCA outlines its strategy for the next four years. The document says: “We’ll focus on areas of expertise that only the RCA can offer including some big-bet propositions where we have the appetite for well-managed risk and we are prepared to enter new ventures with new associates.”
A focus on "increasing the diversity of the student body” through various philanthropic awards such as the Apple diversity scholarships has also been a highlight of recent years. “Thanks to this philanthropy the College has gone from zero to nearly 100 scholarships specifically targeted at those from under-represented communities in the last two years,” the RCA annual report says.
The RCA has been rated the world’s top art and design university for the past eight years by QS World University Rankings. Founded in 1837, the college is the world’s largest institution for postgraduate art and design studies, with 2,300 students. Its high-profile graduates include artists Tracey Emin, David Hockney and Henry Moore. Last year it unveiled a £135m campus development in Battersea, south-west London.