Dear George

George Blacklock, Dean of Chelsea College of Arts is retiring.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’   

Margaret Mead

George Blacklock is a painter of renown who has shown extensively in the UK, Europe and America. He has been represented by Flowers East since 1996, and has received awards from the Welsh Arts Council, the Greater London Arts Association and was a prize winner at the John Moores contemporary painting competition. He has work in many collections including the Arts Council of Great Britain’. This is the statement on the University of the Arts London website. It only skims the surface.  George is so much more, he has supported and contributed to the many.

‘George’s practice is at the core of everything he has achieved at UAL. He is unique in being both a Dean and active painter at the same time. This I believe has broadened his understanding of what students at UAL need, he may be retiring but he is still in touch with the ‘youff’. His understanding of the necessity of cultural currency and change in curriculum has been a blessing to Shades of Noir. We will miss having such an excellent ally at Chelsea.’ Andrew Illman, Project Manager, SoN (Chelsea Alumni 2016)

George has been with the University of the Arts London since 1989, starting as an academic at Wimbledon College of Art and progressing to his current role as Dean of Chelsea.  That is 28 years of service.

‘George is the sort of person that I immediately felt at ease with. He is a very warm individual who I just know cares deeply and is committed to helping others and creating  meaningful change. I am personally very sad to see George leave because his warm nature and kindheartedness lights up the room. All the best George.’ Melodie Holliday, SoN Editor & Education Developer  

If you have met George you would say he is kind spirited, jovial and a ‘real’ people person.  Behind the scenes of the business that is University of the Arts London, he has a legacy of supporting change and in his position as a decision maker, stepping aside and empowering others.  This could be said of his support of TrAIN, International Curators Forum, the introduction of the Black Chairs of Art & Design and being physically there at the start of Shades of Noir events in 2011 listening to the staff and students (yes I remember) to support the transformation and for the benefit of this institution.

I may not agree with some of his decisions or views, but I have much respect and admiration for him as he continues to stand forward not in the shadows of injustice.  This commitment to real people has endeared him to me personally.  His advice I treat as mentorship from a friend and ally.  I will miss you.

‘Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.’  

Bruce Lee

I salute you. Best wishes in this new chapter – Aisha Richards