The SU celebrated the opening of the new student space ‘The Studio’, located next to Mooch, on 24th November, with live performances and a chance for students to explore.

‘The Studio’, built to replace ‘The Den’, consists of a combination of study spaces, social areas and ‘Live’, an indoor performance area capable of holding up to 190 people.

The space includes high tables to the right of the entrance which provide a place to study in groups, while further down a number of lower tables and seats allow for relaxation.

While ‘The Fishbowl’, a board-room style space, with a long table and chairs, AV installation with audio, HDMI and power cables, is bookable as a study space, the main space will be free for all for long periods of the day, allowing students to come in and out as they choose.

“It feels more alive – more vibrant, unlike the dungeon-like Den”

Radhika Chand, a fourth year English student and one of the Social Media Managers for Impact, said: “The Studio is an extremely impressive change given The Den’s lack of vibrancy”.

CJ Glover, a third year Law student, added: “It feels more alive – more vibrant, unlike the dungeon-like Den. It didn’t feel very ‘alive’, but this feels much more real”.

Karl Pearce, a third year Geography student, agreed: “The space looks a lot better. It is more open, with a vibrant feel, and is not just one bland grey mess. You can use it as place to chill out, as opposed to just an empty open space just for socials”.

The event itself began with a food and champagne reception for students to enjoy, where they were given a chance to try out the new spaces for themselves.

Performances by the Sri Lankan Society and the Tamil Society marked the opening of ‘Live’, the brand new performance space with a retractable stage, tiered seating and 4-way adjustable lighting.

“It was amazing to perform in the new space”

Tharuka de Silva, a singer from the Sri Lankan Society, said: ‘It was amazing to perform in the new space. It was a really nice experience”.

The formal opening of the space came with the cutting of a ribbon by Chancellor Sir Andrew Witty and Students’ Union Activities Officer Rob Jennings.

Sir Andrew Witty did not give a speech as expected, as performances from societies ran over schedule. However, Rob Jennings did speak publicly about the opening of the new student space.

In his speech, Rob paid tribute to his predecessors, who were also integral in the building of ‘The Studio’. He said: “The renovation project began in 2012/13. It isn’t just something that has cropped up in the last few weeks, so a lot of thanks has to go to the Activities Officers before me”.

“I’m really excited to see how societies are going to use this space”

Angharad Smith, President of the Students’ Union, said: “I think it’s absolutely brilliant, and I’m really excited to see how societies are going to use this space”.

She added: “It is very different to The Den. The space is more open – it’s light, bright, and everyone can feel a part of it. The Den was quite dingy and I don’t think many students knew about it”.

Angharad also praised the launch event: “My highlight of the launch event was the Tamil Society, and I loved their dancing!”

With The Studio open for use by students from Wednesday 25th November, the consensus is that the space is a massive improvement on The Den.

Nellie Khossousi and Connor Higgs

Image: via Connor Higgs

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