Cascade Communications were appointed in February 2017 to lead all political stakeholder and community engagement in support of the RCA’s expansion plans as it embarks on an exciting transformation into a STEAM University.

The proposals designed by international award-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron deliver new studio spaces, teaching workshops and incubator units critical to support the College’s future growth and to maintain its position as the world’s leading art and design university.

Our role

Battersea has been home to the RCA for over 25 years and in this time it has undergone extensive expansion in the area. Although, the overwhelming number of residents and stakeholders were supportive of the College’s presence in the area, many were unclear of the work and activity the College undertakes locally. Consequently, boosting the College’s community engagement message formed an essential part of the communications narrative throughout the duration of the project.


As an academic institution, there were a number of consultees to consider including students, staff and local stakeholders. Further challenges included the 2017 General Election to avoid the application becoming politicised, as well as the need to adhere to a tight and rigid programme in order to ensure the completion of the building in the 2020/21 academic year.

Cascade devised an extensive consultation programme to promote the application, including over 30 hours of public consultation events, meetings with local residents’ groups and working closely with the RCA’s press team to manage and respond to media queries.

The application generated considerable local interest, acting as a catalyst for the formation of several local groups, vocal in calling for amendments to be made to the design of the scheme. Cascade provided strategic advice on how to manage and respond to objections, including close monitoring of the activities of these groups, facilitating meetings and producing a post-submission newsletter. In January 2018, Wandsworth Council’s Planning Applications unanimously approved the proposals, despite the application attracting more than 200 objections and an online and physical petition presented by local residents.