Monthly Archives: March 2014

Confessions of a campus completist

Completist n. A collector or fan who tries to collect every example within a particular field. Often displays obsessive behaviour.

The term ‘completist’ was introduced to me by the track Tonight Matthew, I’m Going to be With Jesus from Half Man Half Biscuit’s album, Voyage to the Bottom of the Road. The protagonist of this song is leaving behind his former existence as a ‘Factory completist’ – i.e. someone whose aim it is to collect the entire output of the Factory record label (and not some technical shop floor function, like machinist, as I’d assumed). The word accurately captures my approach to UK university campuses. Yes, I am coming clean as a campus completist. My aim is, by the time I retire, to have visited every UK university at least once. Think of it as higher education’s version of the urge to visit all of the grounds in the football league, to ‘bag’ the Monroes (why would anyone want to do that?) or visit all the stations on the London Underground. Here are the rules:

  • each institution in the list must be visited
  • any site of the institution counts as a visit
  • any predecessor of a merged institution counts as the new institution (e.g. my visit to the University of Wales, Newport, counts as a visit to the University of South Wales)
  • only universities, plus constituent colleges of the federal university of London, count. Other higher education institutions are excluded, unless they subsequently become universities

So far, all of the visits have happened as part of my job or while I happened to be passing – I haven’t gone anywhere with the sole aim of visiting the university. It looks like I’ll have to do that eventually to get around Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in particular. So, here’s the list. How does it compare to yours? The institutions in italics are those where I have a forthcoming visit already arranged. But there’s still a long way to go… Tellingly, there are only two members of the Russell Group which I have not visited – one in Northern Ireland and the other to be visited shortly. That suggests something interesting about where higher education events are held. (List updated 1 February 2015)

Not visited Visited
Aberystwyth University Aston University
Anglia Ruskin University University of Birmingham
Bangor University Birmingham City University
Bath Spa University University of Bradford
Bishop Grosseteste University University of Bristol
Bournemouth University Brunel University
Buckinghamshire New University University of Cambridge
Cardiff Metropolitan University Canterbury Christ Church University
Central School of Speech and Drama Cardiff University
Courtauld Institute of Art City University
Coventry University Cranfield University
Edge Hill University De Montfort University
Edinburgh Napier University University of Derby
Falmouth University Durham University
Glasgow Caledonian University University of East London
Glyndŵr University University of Edinburgh
Goldsmiths, University of London University of Essex
Harper Adams University University of Exeter
Heriot-Watt University University of Glasgow
Heythrop College University of Gloucestershire
Institute of Cancer Research University of Greenwich
Keele University University of Hull
Leeds Trinity University Imperial College London
London Business School King’s College London
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Lancaster University
Middlesex University University of Leeds
Newman University Leeds Metropolitan University
Norwich University of the Arts University of Leicester
Queen Margaret University University of Lincoln
Queen’s University Belfast University of Liverpool
Regent’s University Liverpool Hope University
Roehampton University Liverpool John Moores University
Royal Agricultural University Birkbeck, University of London
Royal College of Art Institute of Education
Royal Holloway, University of London London School of Economics
Southampton Solent University Queen Mary, University of London
St George’s, University of London Royal Academy of Music
Swansea Metropolitan University School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Swansea University University College London
The Arts University Bournemouth London Metropolitan University
The Open University London South Bank University
The Robert Gordon University Loughborough University
University of Aberdeen University of Manchester
University of Abertay Dundee Manchester Metropolitan University
University of Bedfordshire Newcastle University
University of Bolton University of Northampton
University of Brighton Northumbria University
University of Buckingham University of Nottingham
University of Central Lancashire Nottingham Trent University
University of Chester University of Oxford
University of Chichester Oxford Brookes University
University of Cumbria University of Plymouth
University of Dundee Royal Veterinary College
University of East Anglia University of Salford
University of Hertfordshire University of Sheffield
University of Huddersfield Sheffield Hallam University
University of Kent University of Southampton
University of Reading University for the Creative Arts
University of St Andrews University of Bath
University of St Mark & St John University of South Wales
University of Stirling Staffordshire University
University of Sunderland University of Strathclyde
University of Surrey Teesside University
University of Sussex University of the Arts London
University of the Highlands & Islands University of Warwick
University of the West of Scotland University of the West of England, Bristol
University of Ulster University of Westminster
University of Wales, Trinity Saint David University of Worcester
University of West London University of York
University of Winchester York St John University
University of Wolverhampton University of Portsmouth

Note: you may notice that one or two ‘universities’ are missing – to understand why, see here.

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