VCAM (Visual Culture, Arts, and Media) Building Project

Artist rendering of eventual interior of VCAM
Artist rendering of eventual exterior of VCAM
Artist rendering of eventual interior of VCAM
Artist rendering of looking down into VCAM from elevated track
Artist rendering of interior of VCAM looking up from the lower level

Set to open in the fall of 2017, Haverford College’s new VCAM facility (Visual Culture, Arts, and Media) reimagines the campus’s Old Gym as a creative hub for students, faculty, staff and the wider community. With a nod to the building’s physical heritage, the space celebrates bodies and minds in creative motion, offering new opportunities for hands-on learning that build visual literacy across the liberal arts. VCAM will support the college’s new visual studies program, cultivating film and digital media projects; curatorial experimentation and arts exhibition; and 3D printing, prototyping, and design. As the new home for the Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities, VCAM will also include a screening room, a central campus lounge and community kitchen, an innovation incubator, and flexible studio/exhibition labs.

Architecture firm MSR Design was selected for its approach to “adaptive reuse,” which preserves and repurposes elements of historic buildings. The building design, highlighting an internal pathway that links the north and south campus, emphasizes community and connection as imagined in the college Master Plan. VCAM will provide new faculty and staff offices adjacent to teaching spaces and year-round programming opportunities, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The College plans to apply for LEED gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.


lmcgrane [at] (Laura McGrane)
Chair and Associate Professor of English
Director, Visual Culture, Arts, and Media (VCAM)
Programs, Grants, Assessment


  • Shayna Nickel

    Innovations Program

    The new Innovations Program, funded through $500,000 in donor support, will develop a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship both on campus and off. Program Manager Shayna Nickel, will work with students, faculty and alumni to move project ideas from concept to completion in workshops, summer intensives, one-on-one mentorship, and close collaboration with area entrepreneurs. Projects will span creative design, social praxis, and business microfinance. Public programming and an annual Hackathon will be held in the new VCAM space in collaboration with our Trico (Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, Haverford) partners.

    Pictured: Shayna Nickel, Innovation Program Manager. Photo: Patrick Montero.

  • Christina Knight

    Mellon Visual Studies Grant

    To sustain the College’s new Visual Studies Program, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Haverford an $800,000 grant over a four-year period to support key personnel and programmatic elements for VCAM, including a tenure-line position in Visual Studies, a full-time VCAM technician for the building’s MakerArts Lab, and a filmmaker.

    Pictured: Christina Knight, Assistant Professor of Visual Studies and Director, Visual Studies Program. Photo: Patrick Montero.

  • Students with film equipment shooting a documentary

    Haverford Documentary Lab (DocuLab)

    The $500,000 DocuLab, funded through donor support, is a five-year pilot program that will develop student-faculty documentary work in VCAM. Students will spend ten weeks both on campus and on site developing documentary projects, working with faculty, visiting filmmakers, and technicians. The lab-style design of the intensive and the diverse resources of the VCAM building will enable the freedom to explore a variety of genres, building on the College’s successful Interdisciplinary Documentary Media Fellows Program (WAKE, Capitalish) and the Hurford Center’s Tuttle Summer Arts Lab (The Pool Movie Project).

    Photo: Hina Fathima '15

  • Students viewing photographs together, discussing the content

    The Philadelphia Area Creative Collaboratives Program (PACC)

    Supported by a $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and sited in VCAM, the new Philadelphia Area Creative Collaboratives Program (PACC) will bring together artists, faculty, students, nonprofits, and other community members for collaborations that blend scholarship, social change, and the arts. Over a four-year period, the program will develop creative alliances that pair local and regional artists with students, faculty and curricular projects to work within community nonprofit and civic advocacy spaces, including co-ops, prisons, environmental education organization, and others.

    Pictured: Stephanie Bursese, Program Manager, Philadelphia Area Creative Collaboratives (PACC). Photo: Patrick Montero.

Project Timeline

Floor Plans