UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies


UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
School of Slavonic & East European Studies.JPG
FounderR. W. Seton-Watson
Parent institution
University College London
DirectorDiane P. Koenker[1]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Stairway detail
Window detail

The UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES /ˈss/) is a school of University College London (UCL) specializing in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, Russia and Eurasia. It teaches a range of subjects, including the history, politics, literature, sociology, economics and languages of the region. It is Britain's largest centre for study of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and Russia. It has links with universities across Europe and beyond.[2][3]


The school was founded by Robert Seton-Watson in 1915, as a department of King's College London, and inaugurated by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, later President of Czechoslovakia. In 1932 it became an independent institute of the University of London,[4] but it merged with University College London in 1999.


More than 60 staff teach and conduct research in the history, economics, politics, sociology, anthropology, culture, literature and languages of the countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, and Russia. In 2012/2013 the school had over 200 graduate students studying taught MA degrees or undertaking PhD research. The school also has over 600 undergraduate students.[citation needed]


Along with its undergraduate and graduate teaching, the school hosts several interdisciplinary research centres, groups and funded projects aimed at helping to expand research and understanding of its specialist regions.[5]

It is a major centre for training the next generation of regional specialists, through a combination of academic rigour and the skills and knowledge required by employers. It analyses and disseminates information about changes in the region, publishing periodicals, papers and books, holding conferences, public lectures, seminars and briefings, and providing experts to act as advisers to governments, the media and institutions.


The library of some 357,000 volumes of books, pamphlets and periodicals is unique in the United Kingdom for the quantity of research material on open access and the extensive collection of regional newspapers. Its collections are consulted by scholars from all over the world. It has recently taken on a major role in providing electronic and audio-visual material on its area of study. The library moved from Senate House to a new building in Taviton Street in 2005.

The main fields of interest are the languages, literature, history, politics, economics, geography and bibliography of the countries it covers. Subsidiary fields are the arts in general, demography, ethnography and religion. Material is also collected on the former German Democratic Republic (history, political and economic life), the history of Germany and Austria, the Lusatian Sorbs, and Slavonic and Ugro-Finnic studies in general.[6] It houses the Bain Graffy Film Collection of films from and about Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.[7]


In May 2004 the foundation stone of the school's new building on Taviton Street, Bloomsbury, was unveiled by the President of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, in the presence of The Princess Royal, Chancellor of the University of London. The school moved to the building in the summer of 2005 after almost 90 years at Senate House. Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, delivered the keynote address of his visit to the UK at a ceremony to open the building in October 2005. After Klaus's address, the Princess Royal unveiled a stone to mark the formal opening, on the occasion of the school's 90th anniversary.

The building was designed by the architects Short and Associates. The design aims to be "environmentally friendly" not simply with solar panels, but by facilitating the draught of cool air round the building, to avoid a need for air conditioning or other energy-using solutions – a first for the "central London heat island".[8][9]

Notable alumni and staff


  1. ^ a b c "People". UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SEES). University College London. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. ^ "SOLIDARITY/Solidarities PROJECT PARTNERS". European Commission. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  3. ^ "The Bain Graffy Film Collection | UCL Library Services - UCL - London's Global University".
  4. ^ I. W. Roberts, History of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies 1915-1990 (London: School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London, 1991).
  5. ^ UCL (24 July 2017). "Research". UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES). Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  6. ^ "SSEES Library Guide to Resources".
  7. ^ "The Bain Graffy Film Collection". 31 August 2021.
  8. ^ Contractors page for the project.
  9. ^ For an account of the design see: C. A. Short, G. Whittle and M. Owarish, 2006, "Fire & Smoke Control in Naturally Ventilated Buildings", Building Research & Information, 34 (1), pp. 21–54, and C. A. Short, K. J. Lomas and A. Woods, 2004, "Design Strategy for Low Energy Ventilation and Cooling Within an Urban Heat Island", Building Research and Information, 32 (3), May–June, pp. 187–206.

External links

  • Official site

Coordinates: 51°31′31″N 0°07′54″W / 51.5254°N 0.1316°W / 51.5254; -0.1316