As UCL starts the countdown to its bicentenary in 2026, a new research and engagement project puts students and alumni at the heart of the history of UCL.

‘Generation UCL’ explores 200 years of student life in London, turning institutional history upside down to suggest that the first students of 1828 should be seen as the real ‘founders’ of UCL. Generation UCL will establish the first major collection of oral history interviews with UCL alumni and support the deposit of students’ union archive material with UCL Special Collections.

Planned project outputs include an open access book with UCL Press, an Octagon exhibition and a programme of impact and engagement activities to involve the whole UCL community.

The project builds on the revised and updated The World of UCL (UCL Press, 2018) and a now outdated account of the students’ union, which celebrates 130 years in 2023.

Generation UCL is led by Professor Georgina Brewis (IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society) and John Dubber (Students’ Union UCL), with Dr Sam Blaxland as Generation UCL Research Fellow. The project is a partnership between the International Centre for Historical Research in Education at IOE, Students’ Union UCL and the Office of the Vice-President (Advancement).

News and events

Curating student life – planning our Octagon exhibition
In the last few months the Generation UCL team has spent a lot of time identifying documents, images and objects for inclusion in our Octagon Gallery exhibition exploring the history of student life, which will open in September 2023.
Reflections on 50 oral history interviews for the Generational UCL project
I have now been working at UCL for a year.
Creating a queer history tour of UCL
I spent summer 2022 undertaking an Education, Practice and Society Undergraduate Research Fellowship supervised by Professor Georgina Brewis as part of the Generation UCL project.
UCL’s Queer History: A summer research project
Molly Edwards, a BA Education Studies student, reflects on their summer research fellowship with Generation UCL. 

UCL has shaped the lives of generations of students, and in turn those generations of students have shaped UCL, London and the wider world. Students have played an important role throughout UCL's history and the ‘Generation UCL’ project will help uncover the enormous impact of student culture at UCL through the stories that connect us all.

Osman Teklies, Students’ Union UCL Union Affairs Officer