Ravensbourne on the Move

On Friday, I was at the O2 Arena and my attention was arrested by some signage announcing “Ravensbourne is Coming”.

Now, in the late 60s, I was the one and only AV, Multimedia and Film Technician at what was then Ravensbourne College of Art and Design, back when it was in Rookery Lane in Bromley, Kent.

I also worked with the Ravensbourne School of Film and Television in Wharton Road, Bromley, alongside a wonderful man (and a great “luvvie”) Bob Butler.

Apart from working with them, it was there I learned what I needed to know (beyond the merely technical) to later progress my own career in Radio and TV.

Keith Colburn was Principal of RCAD (as it was affectionately known) at the time and I worked closely with him, John Olton, Bernard Denvir, and particularly with Anne Alexander, with whom I did the technical design and operation of a number of multimedia shows – one of which “Search for a Hero” won high critical acclaim and was performed at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs for a week – high praise! It was quite an era in the history of the college.

So, was this the same Ravensbourne, well out of context, here on the windswept Greeenwich Peninsular, or is this a mere coincidence of name? It’s the same one – and it’s on the move to a wonderful new home alongside the O2 Arena.

To quote THEIR WEBSITE: “The new College will feature a layout and series of work spaces that deliberately simulate the environment and working practices that students are likely to experience as creative professionals, with a greater emphasis on shared space and facilities, enabling them to make even more of the collaborative opportunities with fellow students, programmes and other institutions. The move will place our future students even closer to the creative industries of Central London, and provide greater opportunities for collaborations with industry professionals and other Higher Education institutions, allowing them to draw on the wealth of facilities that London offers.

The Greenwich site will give future students:

  • new state-of-the-art facilities
  • new technology, equipment and resources
  • opportunities for collaboration with nearby institutions with an interest in the creative industries and performing arts
  • closer physical links to potential employers and networking opportunities

    Wonderful. But there’s more – it seems they’re planning a reunion sometime this summer-autumn, so if my 900 unique visitors a week give a boost to the College’s profile on Google, and if you’re RCAD Alumni, please do CLICK THIS LINK! (Drop me an email too if you want.)

    Let’s add some former student names here as well: Stephen Hitchins, Eleanor Frost, John Taylor, Julian Kingston, Philip (Gulliver) Barnes, Jill Ingham – more will come to mind once I start thinking about it.

    I am SO pleased to see Ravensbourne moving to it’s exciting new home. Purpose built art teaching establishments are extremely rare. Many thought Chislehurst, to which the RCAD moved in the early 70s would be the last, I’m delighted to see it won’t be!

    And I definitely want tickets to that reunion! :-)

    One small additions to this post; I wrote an email to the Ravensbourne Alumni address their website suggests and guess what? No reply! If they’re teaching their students all about New Media (my speciality) Rule 1 is Internet-speed reasponse! Still love the place though. :-)

  • Bye-bye Netscape Navigator

    Netscape Navigator, now owned by AOL, will no longer be supported after 1 March 2008, the company has said.

    In the mid-1990s, as the commercial web began to take off, the browser was used by more than 90% of people online. Its market share has since slipped to just 0.6% as other browsers such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox have eroded its user base.

    The company recommends that users upgrade their browser to either Firefox or Flock, which are both built on the same underlying technologies as Navigator.

    Netscape was created by Marc Andreessen who as a student had co-authored Mosaic, the first popular web browser. His company Netscape Communications Corporation released the first version in 1994.

    During its halcyon days it really felt like the internet and Netscape were really the same thing. Of course, other companies capitalised on Netscape’s success, notably Microsoft, which began to bundle IE with its Windows operating systems. Although this led to legal wrangles over anti-competitive behaviour, IE now dominates the browser landscape with an 80% market share.

    For the past week Netscape users have been shown a message alerting them to the end of support for the browser. “Given AOL’s current business focus, support for Netscape browsers will be discontinued as of March 1st, 2008,” the message reads. It then suggests users upgrade to either Flock or Firefox. Firefox is the main competitor to IE, particularly in Europe where it has a 28% market share, according to some statistics. The open source browser’s development is coordinated by the Mozilla foundation, set up by Netscape staff made redundant in 2003. It has had more than 500 million downloads worldwide.