UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies

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.

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

The School teaches a wide range of subjects including the history, politics, literature, sociology, economics and languages of the region and is the largest centre for the study and research of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, and Russia in the United Kingdom. It has links with universities both across Europe and globally.[2][3]


The School was founded by R.W. Seton-Watson in London in 1915, as a department of King's College London, and inaugurated by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, who later became President of Czechoslovakia. In 1932 the School became an Institute of the University of London, no longer connected to any college.[4]

In 1999, the School merged with University College London (UCL).


More than 60 academic staff work at the School, teaching and conducting 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. In addition, the School has over 600 undergraduate students.[citation needed]


Along with its undergraduate and graduate teaching, the School hosts a number of interdisciplinary research centres, groups and funded projects which aim to help us expand research and understanding of their specialist regions.[5]

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


Comprising around 357,000 volumes of books, pamphlets and periodicals, the School's library is unique in the UK for the quantity of research material on open access and for the extensive collection of newspapers from the region. Its collections of books, periodicals and archives are consulted by scholars from all over the world, and it has recently developed an important role in the provision of electronic and audio-visual material relating to its area of study. Central to the School since its founding, the Library moved from Senate House to the new building on Taviton Street in 2005.

The library is one of the leading research collections in Britain for the study of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The main fields of interest are the languages, literature, history, politics, economics, geography and bibliography of Russia and the western Republics of the former USSR, Poland, the Czech Lands, Slovakia, former Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Austria, Germany and Italy. Subsidiary fields of interest 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]

The Library also 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 in 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 nearly 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. Following Klaus's address, the Princess Royal unveiled the stone to mark the formal opening of the building, on the occasion of the School's 90th anniversary.

The building was designed by award-winning architects Short and Associates. The design of the building aims to be 'environmentally-friendly' not simply through the addition of elements such as solar panels, but by facilitating the passage of cool air around the building and so avoiding the need for air conditioning or other expensive, energy-using solutions – a first for the 'central London heat island'.[8][9]

Notable alumni and staffEdit


  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. ^ http://www.ssees.ucl.ac.uk/
  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 (2017-07-24). "Research". UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES). Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  6. ^ "SSEES Library Guide to Resources".
  7. ^ "The Bain Graffy Film Collection".
  8. ^ Contractors page for the project.
  9. ^ For an account of the design see: Short, C.A., Whittle, G., Owarish, M., (2006) "Fire & Smoke Control in Naturally Ventilated Buildings", Building Research & Information, 34 (1), pp. 21–54 and Short, C.A., Lomas K.J., Woods, A., (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 linksEdit

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