The Frederick Douglass Centre

Shaping the future for learning, weaving together social spaces and lecture theatres.

Opened at the start of the 2019-2020 academic year, these state-of-the-art £34m facilities comprise a stunning auditorium for 750, a 200-seat lecture theatre and a range of seminar rooms and exhibition spaces over several floors.

It is a key component of Newcastle University's teaching, particulalry for the School of Computing and the Newcastle University Business School, both located at Helix.

The building can accommodate both the classic lecture teaching as well as enable more organic learning methods, such as breakout groups, self-directed study, and flipped lectures, where the students, not the lecturer, are the focus of attention.

Frederick Douglass Centre auditorium
Frederick Douglass Centre auditorium
Knowledge Square, adjacent to the Frederick Douglass Centre
Knowledge Square, adjacent to the Frederick Douglass Centre
Newcastle University Business School is a short walk from the Learning and Teaching Centre
Newcastle University Business School is a short walk from the Learning and Teaching Centre

On the ground floor, an internal street mediates between the more formal, focused spaces of the auditorium and the social, interactive spaces. The latter includes an exhibition space and café for more informal working. Directly above this are three storeys of learning facilities, including office accommodation for the University’s Business School.

Learning and Teaching Centre reception
Learning and Teaching Centre reception

The building is named in honour of social reformer, abolitionist and activist-author Frederick Douglass. An anti-slavery campaigner – and at that time, a slave himself – Frederick Douglass was in Newcastle in 1846 staying in the Summerhill area adjacent to The Helix site.


At a glance

  • Opened Autumn 2019
  • 750 and 200-seat lecture theatres
  • Range of seminar rooms
  • Cafe
  • 78,300 sq ft

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