A different kind of creative education…
In Room 13, artists of all ages are encouraged to be creative, and to think for themselves. Room 13 offers a different kind of creative education: students have the freedom to pursue their own interests, rather than a prescribed curriculum.
What happens in Room 13?
Anything can happen in Room 13! Over the years, our young artists have produced drawings, paintings, photographs, films, collages, sculptures, poetry, dance, drama, music, sound, performance and much, much more. We have philosophical debates, cut hard-nosed business deals, and welcome guests from around the globe, and around the corner. Being part of a community is one of the most important things that we seek to promote in Room 13.
Every Room 13 studio is different. They are run differently by their individual management teams, have different artists, keep different business hours and all have slightly different ways of working. In this way, Room 13 grows and adapts according to the needs of the students, artists, educators and the culture of the host community.
There are just a few core elements of working practice that translate to each and every studio:
Room 13 artists have an international reputation for creating high quality work. Across the UK and beyond, we have taken part in exhibitions, commissions, residencies and collaborative work; and in presentations, films, radio programmes, publications and other media work.
Each artists work is original and unique. In Room 13 artists are encouraged to think for themselves and every artist must think very seriously about what they are doing and why. Every piece of work is a product of an individual exploration of his or her own ideas. Open discussion of ideas, philosophy and thinking about anything and everything forms a constant background to the work in any Room 13 studio.
Each Room 13 is run as a business, generating income to pay for art materials and equipment. There are almost as many money-making ideas as there are studios. Some Room 13s make cards to sell, others run shops selling stationery and other small items, and some take and sell the school photographs.
Some studios provide services, deliver commissions, or raise investment through grants and sponsorship.
With support from their Artist in Residence, the studio management team work together to order art materials, manage the studio space, deal with correspondence, bills and media requests, and make decisions about the studio and its development.
Room 13 allows a different kind of thinking to take place. Everything begins with an idea. In Room 13, young people have the creative freedom, resources and support to follow their ideas and interests through. Questioning, exploring and constructive criticism are actively encouraged!
In this way, Room 13 is not just about art, but about creativity and learning in its broadest sense. Room 13 demonstrates that young people can be responsible and achieve things way beyond the usual expectations that people have of them.
Outside the classroom, it has applications in training and aspects of industry where creative thinking is necessary. Young people, students, school leavers, educators, artists and corporate professionals are among the wider public who contribute to and benefit from working with Room 13.
It is this combination of creative thinking, enterprise and arts practice that has been integral to the success and longevity of Room 13.
Independent research, including Room13 Case Study Report, Nesta, 2006, confirms the positive impact of Room 13 on children’s lives and learning. Many elements of our approach have been borrowed, adapted and applied by schools and other projects. Room 13 has a part to play in promoting wider applications of creativity in education and is highly influential in the field of arts education and enterprise for young people.
Room 13 remains a subject of great academic interest, and has been the subject of research for many international scholars at undergraduate, post graduate and Phd level. Articles, academic studies and other publications in which Room 13 has been featured or discussed will soon be available on our online archive.