Lord Puttnam opens new Bath Spa building

President of the Film Distributors’ Association, Lord Puttnam CBE, last night (Thursday 6 June) officially opened ‘Commons’ at Bath Spa University’s Newton Park campus.

He has a long and illustrious career as an independent producer and his films have won ten Oscars, 25 Baftas and the Palme D’Or at Cannes. His films include The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle.

The new Commons building.
The new Commons building.
Lord Puttnam at the opening ceremony.
Lord Puttnam at the opening ceremony.


A large number of the University’s staff, students and distinguished guests attended this celebratory launch event, with over 30 staff and student collaborative projects animating the building and demonstrating the wide range of talent and expertise at the University.

A number of performances, exhibitions and installations were on display throughout the evening including:

· Performances from Shakespeare’s The Tempest,
· Liquid nitrogen ice-cream project,
· Creative ‘tea-party’ including poetry and performance,
· ‘My story’ by Olympic swimmer and Bath Spa student Lizzie Simmonds.

During the opening event Lord Puttnam showed for the first time a brand new seven minute film made in collaboration with Duncan Kenworthy OBE – ‘100 Years of British Cinema’. Other highlights included a digital installation by award-winning visual artist Julian Opie on the building’s impressive 6.85 meter high media wall; and a sculpture, ‘L’Âge d’Or (Green)’ by British artist and Bath Spa Professor of Art and Design Gavin Turk in the landscaped grounds surrounding Commons.

The opening ceremony underway.
The opening ceremony underway.
Commons - the new media centre building at Bath Spa University
Commons – the new media centre building at Bath Spa University

Professor Christina Slade, Vice-Chancellor at Bath Spa University said: “I was delighted to see so many staff, students and distinguished guests attend the opening of our exciting new academic building ‘Commons’.

“The student experience is at the heart of Bath Spa University and we have been through a significant period of investment and development over the last few years to ensure our students benefit from outstanding facilities as well as academic expertise.

“I am extremely grateful to Lord Puttnam for officially opening the building and I know students and staff alike enjoyed meeting him and showing him around our fantastic teaching facility. We look forward to welcoming Lord Puttnam back in the future and demonstrating the quality of work that our students produce.”

Lord Puttnam CBE added: “Having walked around Commons, the facilities are absolutely stunning. All of a sudden and for the first time in long time, I wanted to be 18 years old again and going to university, it is quite remarkable.

“I left the movie industry when it was still analogue and where you could look through the film, but this is a wonderful digital facility which is going to produce a lot of talented people.

“This is the sort of facility that any university anywhere in the world would envy.”