Sir David Attenborough returns to University of Leicester to officially open new fully-inclusive arts gallery

Posted by ap507 at Dec 21, 2015 11:20 AM |
Sir David will give a free ticketed public lecture on Thursday 28 January 2016

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 21 December 2015

  • Sir David will give a free ticketed public lecture on Thursday 28 January 2016
  • On 29 January he will officially open the new gallery of the University’s Attenborough Arts Centre
  • Watch a video on the new exhibition spaces:
  • Contact to request images.

Media opportunity on 29 January 2016 with Sir David Attenborough. A media operational note will be issued nearer the date.

The naturalist and long-running television personality Sir David Attenborough will be returning to the place of his Leicester childhood to open a new fully-inclusive gallery championed by his brother Lord Attenborough.

Please note that Sir David Attenborough's lecture will now take place in De Montfort Hall. The information below is included for historical reference only.

He will be visiting the campus on Thursday 28 January to deliver the University’s flagship Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture on Beauty in Nature, which is free and open to the public. The lecture takes place in the Peter Williams Lecture Theatre at the University of Leicester starting at 5pm.  Booking opens for tickets to the lecture online at 12 noon on Monday 11th January 2016 (details to follow in the New Year).  Limited spaces are available in the Peter Williams Lecture Theatre.

The following day, Friday 29 January, Sir David will officially open the new £1.5million gallery extension at Attenborough Arts Centre, the University’s inclusive, multi-use arts venue on Lancaster Road.

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Paul Boyle, said: “We are delighted to welcome Sir David back to Leicester.  His family has a strong association with the University and the city and we are proud that he is officially opening the new gallery in the building named after his brother Richard Attenborough.  It is a fitting tribute to the enormous legacy the Attenboroughs have in Leicester.”

The new extension comprises of approximately 530 square metres of new accommodation, increasing the size of the existing building by 50%, and providing three new interlinked gallery spaces together with an external sculpture garden.

The gallery will be the largest contemporary art space in Leicestershire and one of the largest in the East Midlands. It will be open to the general public to showcase the best in contemporary visual art and sculpture.

Originally known as The Richard Attenborough Centre for Arts and Disability, the building was the result of a campaign championed and led by Lord (then Sir Richard) Attenborough. It was officially opened on 27 May 1997 by HRH Diana, The Princess of Wales as one of her last public engagements before her untimely death.

Lord Attenborough was patron of the arts centre for the rest of his life and now the patronage has been handed to his son, theatre director, Michael Attenborough CBE who will also be attending the official opening.

Michaela Butter, Director of the Attenborough Arts Centre, said: “Our centre is a living tribute to the vision of David Attenborough's brother to create an arts centre without barriers to access. Our new galleries open up access to the visual arts to complement our existing programme of performances, courses and workshops across other art forms.

“With over 55,000 visitors each year we offer a welcoming and fun place to enjoy a wide range of arts activity, much of it for free, all year round.”

The new gallery was realised through support from Arts Council England and the Breaking Barriers appeal, a fundraising campaign which raised nearly one million pounds from over one thousand donors.  Supporters included University alumni and parents as well as local philanthropists who understood the importance of Lord Attenborough’s vision.

  • The opening will coincide with the launch of a new exhibition by internationally acclaimed artists Lucy + Jorge Orta, that explores issues around environmental change and its social implications. The exhibition opens to the public on Saturday 30 January and runs until Sunday 24 April 2016, with a preview on 29 January from 6pm – 9pm..

More details of the Exhibition here:

More on the Attenborough Arts Centre here:

Website on the Attenboroughs' connection with the University of Leicester:

Watch videos of the Attenborough brothers receiving Distinguished Honorary Fellowships from the University here:


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Lucy Stevens or email:


Lord Grocott – Chancellor of the University of Leicester

Distinguished Labour Life Peer the Rt. Hon. Lord Grocott is the sixth Chancellor of the University of Leicester.

A former student of the University of Leicester who has devoted his life to public service, he returned to the University as Chancellor - the first time that this has occurred in the history of the University. Bruce Grocott, who is also an Honorary Graduate of the University, was installed as Chancellor at a Degree Ceremony in January 2013. He succeeded Sir Peter Williams who stepped down in 2010 after five years of sterling service.

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