Stepnell Appointed to Create £1.5m Contemporary Art Gallery at University of Leicester


Stepnell has been appointed by the University of Leicester to build a £1.5 million new gallery and courtyard at the Richard Attenborough Centre, the University’s inclusive arts centre.

A ground-breaking ceremony this month (February) officially celebrated the start of work by Stepnell on the new development which will create a major new contemporary art gallery.

The ceremonial event was performed by Michael Attenborough CBE. He is the son of the late Lord Attenborough after whom the university arts centre is named and who is an honorary graduate of the University. The new extension continues to realise Lord Attenborough’s dream of providing maximum access to the arts for people from across the community, regardless of ability.

The new extension, designed by GSSArchitecture, is set to be completed in autumn 2015. When open, it will increase the Richard Attenborough Centre’s size by more than 400 square metres, split over two levels. The sustainable new building in Lancaster Road, Leicester, will feature a double-height gallery, two additional spaces and a landscaped courtyard.

Creating one of the East Midlands’ most extensive gallery spaces for contemporary art, it will offer a wide range of exhibitions and events bringing local, national and international contemporary art to Leicester.

Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University, says: “We are here to change lives through innovative research and teaching. In addition, the University is committed to providing cultural and educational inspiration for all and hence this wonderful facility will be open to the public. It will provide a showcase for talent and will allow us to connect with diverse audiences across the region. The public has supported the development of this facility and we are very proud to announce the start of construction on this prestigious project.”

Stepnell director Bill Haynes comments: “Our team is thrilled to be bringing its expertise in delivering high-quality public buildings to this exciting project. We are delighted to have started construction on the new development which is set to establish a major new cultural landmark for the East Midlands.”

The £1.5 million cost of the new gallery is being secured with major support from Arts Council England, the Garfield Weston Foundation, and other grants and individual donations raised by the University of Leicester through its Breaking Barriers Appeal. Deputy Development Director Ave Vinick commented: “While over £1.4 million has already been raised from nearly 1,000 generous donors, we are still urgently seeking additional support to complete the Appeal.”
The public is encouraged to support the award-winning work of the Centre and help fulfil Richard Attenborough’s original vision to improve access to the arts for all. Contributing to The Breaking Barriers Appeal will ensure ongoing opportunities for even more people by creating a fantastic new gallery space. For more information about how to donate, please contact Ave Vinick at (0116) 252 2176 or or make a gift on line at

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