Members of the National Art & Design Saturday Club from Banbury and Bicester College have showcased their work, along with over 1,100 other talented 14-16 year olds, at the club’s sixth annual Summer Show.
In six years, the Saturday Club has become a national movement, growing from just 4 to over 40 universities, colleges and museums running classes on Saturdays across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
And for the first time this year, they’ve introduced another successful model to another subject area, science and engineering.
The Club offers a unique opportunity to explore a huge range of art, craft and design disciplines, from architecture and applique to woodcutting and welding. Conceived and developed by the Sorrell Foundation, the aim of the Club is to nurture talent, build confidence and self-esteem, give young people an insight into student life, show them the pathway into further and higher education and to inspire thoughts of careers in the creative industries.
As part of the year-long programme, young people are inspired by Masterclasses with leading creatives at the top of their game, including Rogers Stirk & Partners, Arup, Jaguar Land Rover, Bob & Roberts Smith and Graphic Thought Facility.
Club members also take part en masse in a visit some of London’s most prestigious museums and galleries including Tate Modern, Barbican, Design Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Photographers’ Gallery and the Courtauld Gallery. For many, this is their visit to the capital and or to an art gallery.
The idea of the Saturday Club came from a post-war government policy which ran throughout the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Saturday morning art classes were initiated by a government concerned about the quality of British design for export. For many of today’s artists and designers, it was the start of their creative and entrepreneurial journeys and alumni include John and Frances Sorrell, as well as John Hegarty of advertising agency Bartle Bootle Hegarty and Helen David of fashion textiles company English Eccentrics.
Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State for Culture commented, “I love the Saturday Club. If it attracts young people into a career in the arts, that’s absolutely fantastic and even those that don’t pursue a career will get a love of the arts from it. We lead the world in industries like video games and film. They all rely on technical skills but they absolutely have creativity at their heart.”
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. Our aim is to offer young people today a 21st century version of that opportunity. 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. Together we can inspire the UK’s next creative generation”.
The Summer Show at Somerset House presented the best work created across all Saturday Club disciplines throughout the past year. Exhibits included swimming costumes designed for Speedo, ceramic tiki vases, giant fish sculptures created for the Hereford River Carnival and lunar robots.