Your Union

We are an arts union for arts students.

Our aim is to help each student make the most of all the life-changing experiences open to them as they study and develop their creative practice.

Every single UAL student is automatically a member of one of the UK’s most innovative student unions.

Anyone can sign up to a student-run society, play for a sports team, campaign to improve their college, or simply enjoy low-cost refreshments in our not-for-profit cafes and bar.

We know that you are more than your studies - and during your time at UAL, Arts Students' Union is the place to find other students, learn new skills, have fun and become who you plan to be.

How students run your Union

Every spring, students across UAL vote in student elections to elect their representatives for the following year. The elected student - otherwise known as a Sabbatical Officer - then works with students to improve their courses, get better facilities, or change university policy.

Arts Students' Union has four full-time student officers and they look after student campaigns, student activities, student welfare, and education.

We are independent from the University and the Colleges which means that we are on the side of students, in every scenario. Students hold us accountable and inform our strategic aims.

Arts Students' Union reports to a Trustee Board, a Student Executive, a Democracy Scrutiny Committee, and employs staff who support students throughout the year. Arts Students' Union is obligated to observe the rules in the Memoradum & Articles of Association, and be guided by four by-laws.

Big changes to the way your Union works are decided through all-student votes.

For example, in recent years UAL students voted for a student council structure, and replacing the Arts Students' Union President role with a Campaign Officer role.

Arts SU organisational rules

Memorandum & Articles of Association (pdf)

The four supporting by-laws

All Student Vote


Student Council

Union Representatives

Trustee Board

Made up of elected students and external professionals, the trustee board are responsible for making sure the union's finance's are all in check and that all activities benefit all students. It includes four Sabbatical officers, three students and two people appointed for their expertise.

Student Council

When nearly 40 students meet to talk about the lives of students at the University. There are representatives from societies, sports clubs, liberation groups, course reps and the colleges. They set the strategic political and representative direction of our students' union. On a day to day basis they will be meeting with college staff, students and external partners to help make the lives of students better.

The four Sabbatical Officers (Activities Officer, Campaigns Officer, Education Officer, & Welfare Officer) are elected and paid for one year, and are allocated one college each so they work directly with the four College Officers to help course reps and students make the college, and the university, better.

Members of the Student Council are elected for a maximum of one year, unless they get re-elected.


Every March students get to vote for most people on the Student Council. Most students can stand in any of these elections, and they can also put their name forward for one of the three student positions on the Trustee Board.

Working with others

It is through working with other organisations and groups that we are able to have the greatest impact for our members.

  • Abortion Rights to help students have greater control and choice
  • AdviceUK to ensure our staff are able to keep up to date on the latest advice developments
  • Arts Emergency work with those most able to benefit from but least able to access higher education
  • British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the governing body for university sport and our students regularly compete in their competitions
  • London Cycling Campaign (LCC) campaigns for cyclists in London, seeking to ensure that every cyclist has a voice in London
  • National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) brings together voluntary and community sector organisations to ensure we know the latest policy developments and can improve what we do
  • National Union of Students (NUS) represents over seven million students and so we’re able to help shape the national agenda for students
  • Trade Unions including GMB and UCU to ensure that workers have access to support and resources to better influence their workplace

We’re a registered Charity and a Company Limited By Guarantee, as well as being registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).