Spaces for learning – past, present and future.

I didn’t want to hold the April workshop in a school, but since there wasn’t much of a discussion of other possibilities, we went there. At least it was empty. For me school held too many negative memories although I do remember the art room being a safe haven as a teenager, when a teacher used let me spend my lunch hours there. I was out of touch with the amount of security in place nowadays too: a new perimeter fence, automatic doors, signing in. Reminded me of when I taught in a prison…….

A couple of months ago I went along to an exhibition at Bath School of Art and Design’s new campus in Locksbrook Road Bath. Stepping through a door onto the factory floor was quite an experience, (like entering Turbine Hall at Tate Modern for the first time) a huge empty space – there was art too but I couldn’t focus on that until later. What a place to make art! Speaking to a staff member I outlined my ‘vision’ for the space, it transpired that bore similarities to the proposed design alterations. My response was in part due to the past use of the building, its history of manufacturing and making by a skilled workforce. It would be an interesting experiment to let students use the space as it is at the moment and see how they utilise it to their needs.

Bath Spa College of Art and Design (proposed new campus on former          furniture factory site.)

Frome Art Club (Edventure Frome, former vinegar factory.)

Cosy Club Salisbury (Former Art College, I knew it in the early Seventies – see Mathew Crawford’s Talk on Public Events page.)

Clayhill Arts Bridgwater – new type of learning space for the creative industries. (Former farm. see Public Events page for workshop and talk.)



One of the best things about this project has been age range of the group.

It made me think about what I was doing/where I was at certain times in my life.

It made me think about what might matter to a young person today.

It made me think about how little I really know.

It made me happy to be working along side people whose ages including mine, totalled 327 years.



We had a Prospectus meeting at my studio. Not something to be recommended. The outside world starts to creep in and disturb the atmosphere, an atmosphere you have created. For want of a better word, I called it my sanctuary to the rest of the group. I surprised myself using that word and then a few weeks later I came across this book Sanctuary – British Artists and their Studios. It’s a great book, not just because it affirms my use of that word, but it’s very interesting reading what artists have to say about their working space, what it reveals about them and how it influences their practice.

Re art schools as places for learning Ryan Gander (pg 138) says ….I’ve taught at all the colleges in London, and I don’t think they are that good, if you condense the idea of an art school down to its most basic principle, it’s a warm room; tutors aren’t necessarily important because you learn from your peers more than you do from tutors. The only thing you need are space and time.

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