The role of art as a form of political protest has been brought vividly to life for over 100 London schoolchildren, thanks to a National Art&Design Saturday Club masterclass with Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller.
The 14 and 15 year olds from schools across London spent a day with Deller creating large painted protest banners on issues including war, the environment, and education.
The day also included a Q&A session with Deller on his work and career as an artist and a musical portraiture game, which saw students from three different UAL National Art&Design Saturday Club groups get to know each other by making three-minute drawings of each other to a soundtrack they had created collectively. The day concluded with a procession of the banners through the main street of UAL’s campus for Central Saint Martins at King’s Cross.
The event aimed to raise students’ awareness that art is part of their everyday life and can be a powerful way to make your voice heard.
“I learned that it isn’t only drawings that are art, but also things like a poster or a piece of music,” commented one student. Another added: “I learned that designs don’t have to be complex to get your message across.”
“It was genuinely a pleasure to give the masterclass,” said Jeremy. “A very thought-provoking day all round.”
Explaining the importance of art and design masterclasses, Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor of UAL, added:
“The UK is renowned worldwide as a creative nation, and our creative and cultural sector is a huge generator of exciting job opportunities for young people. We want everyone with an enthusiasm for art and design to be able to develop their talent and take advantage of the incredible variety of careers that the creative industries offer. With these subjects increasingly falling out of squeezed school curricula, Saturday clubs are a tremendously important way of supporting creative learning. We are hugely grateful to Jeremy Deller for giving his time to inspire the next generation of creative innovators.”
The visiting students are all taking part in UAL’s Saturday Drawing Programme, a 16-week course that brings them to UAL every Saturday morning to work with UAL tutors and students. It is built around the UAL Awarding Body’s Level 2 Award in Drawing, and is part of the University’s widening participation programme and the Sorrell Foundation’s National Art & Design Saturday Club.
Sir John Sorrell, co-founder of the Sorrell Foundation and Chair of UAL’s Board of Governors, welcomed the students by telling them that his distinguished career in the creative sector was kicked off by Saturday morning classes at Hornsey College of Art.
The Sorrell Foundation now facilitates Saturday Clubs in 33 art and design colleges across the UK, which provide young people aged 14-16 with the unique opportunity to study art and design every Saturday morning at their local college or university for free and culminate in an exhibition of work by all students involved at London’s Somerset House in June.
The Sorrell Foundation is a charity set up by John and Frances Sorrell in 1999 with the aim of inspiring creativity in young people and improving lives through design.