The Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at Kingston University has been working with local schools including Thamesmead and Hollyfield to offer children aged 14–16 the unique opportunity to study art and design every Saturday morning for free. Kingston is a recent member of the National Art&Design Saturday Club which was set up by the Sorrell Foundation, a charitable organisation inspiring creativity in young people.
The Kingston classes are run by lecturer and illustrator Hannah Simpson. As well as benefitting from 30 weeks of inspiring classes, club members visit London’s best museums and galleries and exhibit work in their own Summer Show at Somerset House.
The Kingston students were recently given the opportunity to attend a special Masterclass at the office of Arup conducted by Helen Groat, senior engineer on the Endless Stair installation which was installed outside the Tate Modern during last Year’s London Design Festival. Find out more.
One of the children said ‘The Arup Masterclass was very exciting. It was so encouraging to work alongside professionals in a professional workplace; whilst trying something new…I found it so inspiring. I will approach my work differently, the people at Arup were really nice’
The aim of the Club is to nurture the young people’s talent, build their confidence and self-esteem, give them an insight into college life, and show them the pathway into further and higher education and to careers in the creative industries.
The idea of Saturday art and design classes for young people is not new. In the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s there was a post-war policy initiative that encouraged Saturday morning classes for 14-year-olds at their local art schools. For many well known artists, designers and educators it was the start of their creative and entrepreneurial journeys.
The National Art&Design Saturday Club recreates the original idea but, for the first time, joins up all the participants to share knowledge, best practice and inspiration. The new national network provides a programme designed around a local delivery system, joined together by the Sorrell Foundation acting as catalyst and co-ordinator.
There are over 100 colleges and universities with art and design courses that could run Saturday Clubs. Today, the programme involves 35 of them; and hopes to scale up to at least 50 in 2 years’ time, to provide opportunities and offer inspiration for at least 2000 young people each year.
Sir John Sorrell said: “Frances and I were lucky that we could start our careers in a Saturday morning art and design class when we were 14 years old. We wanted to offer young people today the same opportunity we had and are delighted that now there are over 600 talented pupils beneﬁting from the Saturday Club. We have been really impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of both the pupils and colleges alike and believe the Club offers a real pathway for many to develop their skills and conﬁdence to ﬁnd worthwhile and rewarding careers. Just as we did.”
Peter Christian from FADA said ‘We are very pleased offer this opportunity to local school children who might not otherwise consider a career in Art, Design or Architecture. The Sorrell Foundation have made our participation in the network so easy. We are also hoping to further develop our relationship with the National Art and Design Saturday Club through working on a joint research project’
Image: toiles from a recent fashion workshop.