A Place to Experiment

Learning from Art School in UK Nations and Regions 1962-1992

St Petersburg 1917 / Bradford 1967: An October Carnival. Art students re-stage the Russian revolution in the streets of West Yorkshire, 1967. Photo: Peter Holdsworth

A Place to Experiment will be the first large-scale project to critically assess the importance and legacy of teaching and learning in art schools across the UK’s nations and regions in the late twentieth century.

Spanning thirty years of educational developments between two significant acts of parliament (1962 Education Act; 1992 Further and Higher Education Act), the project will undertake carefully selected case studies of post-1960s institutions and departments of art across the UK to examine how state-wide policies and local educational developments worked in tandem to create the pedagogic, social, cultural and economic conditions for experimental arts initiatives with lasting cultural impact into the 21st century. Set against the current crisis of art education within the marketized, nationally-harmonised and increasingly employment-oriented university sector in the UK, this research project will critically assess the limits and possibilities of an historic system of education in visual art that was marked by regional variety and pedagogic and social experimentation.

The project is being developed by Gavin with performance scholar and curator Heike Roms.