Category Archives: Studios

Art Is…

Room 13 International was thrilled to be represented at this event organised by Freelands Foundation and hosted by Tate Modern on Saturday 9th April 2016. Bringing together an eclectic mix of artists, teachers, curators, writers and organisations, the day provided an opportunity to foster unexpected connections and explore ideas about art, education, play and society. Featuring films, talks and a marketplace bursting with ideas and inspiration from a host of organisations who advocate, create and facilitate arts activity and development across the UK.

The 2004 documentary film about Room 13, ‘What Age Can You Start Being an Artist?’ was screened, and found itself in great company, as part of a programme of screenings throughout the day which included ‘Fully Awake’ a documentary about Black Mountain College* and ‘DADA’, Greta Deses’s unique 1969 film about the history and significance of Dadaism.

Mike Fairclough, Head Teacher of West Rise Junior School, took the stage in the main auditorium. His school is not only home to Room 13 West Rise but also a protected marshland complete with bronze age settlement and a herd of water buffalo. For the children at West Rise Junior School, everyday activities include forest school, bronze smelting, caring for the buffalo, sheep and a million bees, construction and maintenance of their very own roundhouse, archery and firearms training. Mike gave an inspirational presentation, explaining how his approach, which involves taking advantage of every possible opportunity to create the most interesting and exciting learning environment in and around his school, has lead to endorsement from OFSTED, Times Educational Supplement and the Health and Safety inspectorate.


Others who took to the stage on the main auditorium included representatives of Ars Aevi Project**, The Foundling Museum, and the Shop of Possibilities.

The day concluded in conversation with Michael Craig Martin and Mark Wallinger, two speakers with years of experience as artists and educators.  They talked of their experiences as professor and student during what could be considered a golden age of art college education. Their discussion included the observation that the most important difference in the study of art is its difference. There is no subject to be studied as such. There is no such thing as a general work of art. It requires an individual to jump in at the deep end on the first day, and grapple with the substance of their ideas and expression on the same terms as their professor, resulting in a specific, very substantial education. So the answer to the question ‘What age can you start being an artist?’ might be – whatever age you take that leap.



* Hidden in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Black Mountain College (1933 – 1957) was an influential experiment in education that inspired and shaped twentieth century American art. Fully Awake: Black Mountain College is a documentary film that explores the college’s progressive pedagogy and radical approach to arts education.

** As Bosnia descended into the depths of war, a group of artists and curators formed Ars Aevi Project as an expression of collective international will. Resisting the destruction of life and culture the group staged a series of contemporary art installations across Europe that focused on bringing the artists together to create and cultivate the heritage of the present day. This resulted in an extensive new collection of contemporary artworks being created and donated by the artists involved. Ars Aevi Project is now engaged in building a new Museum of Contemporary Art in Sarajevo, which will host the collection.

Post Author: Claire Gibb

Adventures of Curiosity and Wonder: the Dundry Slopes


Room 13 Hareclive will be having an exhibition in the LIGHT STUDIO at ARNOLFINI Gallery, Bristol. 
Timed to coincide with their Patron Richard Long’s show, Room 13 Hareclive’s exhibition: Adventures of Curiosity and Wonder:  the Dundry Slopes,  Bristol’s hidden treasure in Hartcliffe is open Tuesday 3rd – Sunday 8th November, 11am – 6pm.

Inspired by the work of Richard Long, a group of Room 13 children, young people and adult artists have been exploring this beautiful but under-used green area on the edge of south Bristol. Through clambering, climbing and walking, talking to people, looking at books and listening to stories and memories, their aim was to re-discover new meaning in a landscape that nobody has named, and to encourage new ways of seeing and using the Slopes for all.

This exhibition documents their collective journey of discovery so far. Poetic yet functional maps will be printed for public use in December.

This project is part of Bristol Green Capital 2015 Neighbourhood Arts Programme. #NAP2015

Nepali students report on Earthquake


These hand written reports by senior pupils from Pokhara region of Nepal are among the updates we have been sent recently on the work we have been supporting with your donations. The students writing the reports have investigated the many issues affecting them and their country as a result of the earthquakes, including; Destruction of life and property, Affected areas, Heavy rain, flooding and landslides, How schools have been affected by the earthquakes.

One student determines the effect caused by human beings as a result of global warming. Many expressed their own feelings about the earthquake it has affected them personally. It is extremely rare for pupils in Nepali schools to be given any opportunity for self expression – most learning is by rote. These thoroughly detailed yet creatively presented reports result from ORION Institute’s determination to inspire and educate young people through the medium of arts and creativity. Room 13 International is proud to be associated with their efforts! We hope to continue to support them as they work to set up Room 13 Art Training Center in Pokhara, Nepal.


The relief effort to help communities in Nepal recover from the effects of the devastating earthquakes is ongoing.

Donations and contributions can be made via Paypal using the link below:

Cheques or money orders can be sent to:

Room 13 International, Unit 1, Glenloy Street, Caol, Fort William, Scotland, PH33 7DR.

Please make cheques payable to Room 13 International, and mark ‘Nepal Fund’ on the back.
Thank you for supporting our global community.

A Mosaic for Maddie

Room 13 Aragon have just completed a commission by their school to design, create and install a large mosaic in honour of Maddie Thompson, much loved and missed pupil of the school and Managing Director of Room 13, who died, last October aged just 10.

Maddie's Mosaic (2)  Maddie's Mosaic (3)

The whole school community got involved in the creation of the mosaic and the process is recorded in this short film, which like the mosaic itself is full of joy in celebration of the life of a young girl.


More about Maddie Thompson, and the legacy of her life and death in the community of Aragon Primary School in this piece written by Artist in Residence Louise Frewin in Room 13 studio network blog:

Workshops for Very Young Artists

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Contact us for bookings &  information about Very Young Artists workshops and our Highland Youth Arts Hub programme.

Update from Nepal

Here is a brief update from Nepal with news on some of the community based recovery programmes we have been supporting with funds raised via Room 13 International.

Our colleagues on the ground in Nepal report that the loss of over eight thousand human lives, more than double that number injured, the perishing of over one lakh* animals, destruction of many buildings, rendering several lakh* people homeless, and the damages caused to other property or valuables has been simply devastating. But the earth-quakes and their aftershocks have taken a mental toll as well. (*one lakh = 100,000)

We aim to distribute the funds we are collecting widely, making small amounts available for locally based organisations to invest as they see fit. This way, we are happy that we can support communities to address a range of issues they have identified from physical needs and infra-structure to social and emotional wellbeing.


Here are some of the groups we have provided support to so far:

Shanti Griha, Kathmandu, Nepal

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes, Shanti Griha volunteers and staff organised distribution of tents and temporary shelter to survivors in stricken villages, working their way outwards from their organisation base in Patan, in the Kathmandu valley. They are also providing water and masks in other areas, working to compliment the support provided by ctw (clean the world earthquake response effort) who are also providing food and shelter.

Our support for Shanti Griha will provide relief to lots people directly hampered by the earthquakes.


Orion Training Center, a skills development and vocational training center, Lekhnath, Pokhara, Nepal: Re-Establishment Program for Earthquake-Hit Schools.

Since the government is busy in immediate rescue and relief operations in the most affected regions, they have not been able to provide necessary aids in the schools that have been destroyed.

Orion Training Center aim to re-establish schools in Kaski district by providing temporary classrooms to urge the students to attend their classes. They will combine this with conducting awareness programs to address the trauma and stress resulting from the deadly earthquake.

After visiting the affected places and learning the traumatized condition of the children all across the district, they have come up with a plan to set up temporary classrooms constructed out of local materials like bamboo, mud, stones, timber including plastics and tents. The same classrooms can be used by the villagers as a shelter for their safety in the event of further quakes.

Many parents are still hesitant to send their children to schools, and the children have naturally become more vulnerable to fear, depression and the tendency to get easily frightened, thus losing self-confidence. Orion Training Center has been granted official permission by the District Education Office to launch this program so as to restore the educational activities of the district, and train teachers how best to handle their students traumatized by the quakes by providing psycho-social counseling to help them get rid of the fear and enjoy their time at school.

kaski1 kaski2 kaski3kaski4

Thank you to the friends and supporters of Room 13 International who have contributed in support of these efforts so far.

We are continuing to collect and distribute donations post updates on the activities as we receive them. The recovery process for Nepal will be a long one and we are counting on the wealth and wisdom of our global community to carry on supporting these local initiatives.

Donations and contributions can be made via Paypal using the link below:


Cheques or money orders can be sent to:

Room 13 International, Unit 1, Glenloy Street, Caol, Fort William, Scotland, PH33 7DR.

Please make cheques payable to Room 13 International, and mark ‘Nepal Fund’ on the back.

Thank you for supporting our global community.



Room 13 Hareclive say it like it really is!

Room 13 Hareclive welcomed members of the public along to their 3rd Open Studio event at Spike Island! They invited visitors to join them in making messages from the heart – creating banners and signs as part of a participatory piece ‘ Say it like it really is’ – inspired by the lead up to the UK general elections.

They had a slot at Speakers Corner where they asked and discussed questions put to Room 13ers by a group of Ukranian students.

They also took the opportunity to get underway with their #NAP2015 Bristol 2015 European Green Capital commission, asking the public: What do you know about Dundry Slopes?

Following on from this, a panel from Room 13 Hareclive interviewed landscape artist Richard Long at Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol – a symbolic and inspiring start to their project on Dundry slopes!


More photos of these events on Room 13 International facebook page.

Room 13 is 21!

On 30th April 2015, we will be celebrating 21 years since the children of Caol Primary School founded their own art studio. Since 1994, successive groups of young people have kept the studio running without ever falling behind with their class work. Working with 4 different adult Artists in Residence over 21 years, generations of children at Caol Primary School have achieved truly remarkable things.

They have mounted exhibitions in Tate Modern, The National Galleries of Scotland and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. They have commandeered a global company’s corporate social responsibility programme with an ambitious plan to bring creativity to under privileged children throughout the world. They have raised funds to travel the world, and to employ adults to run a global operation on their behalf. They have taken thousands of photographs, sent millions of e-mails, hosted hundreds of visitors. They have even, on occasion, found time to clean the studio sink.


Out of this first Room 13, our worldwide network of studios has grown. The charity, Room 13 International was set up to support a worldwide community of art studios run and managed by the people that use them. Room 13 studios now exist in a range of school and community settings across Scotland and throughout the world.

Celebrating Room 13’s 21st Birthday, we will be joined by members of the current Room 13 studio management team, along with members of the Caol Primary School community, and hopefully some familiar faces from years gone by.

Room 13 21st Birthday Celebration 3 – 6pm Thursday 30th April 2015

Hosted by Room 13 International, Unit 1, Glenloy Street, Caol, Fort William, Scotland, PH33 7DR

Adventures of Curiosity and Wonder

Room 13 Hareclive has been awarded a Bristol 2015 European Green Capital commission (Neighbourhood Arts Project).

Inspired by Bristol artist of walking and place Richard Long, and building on previous socially engaged arts practice in the community, Room 13 Hareclive will deliver a collaborative exploration and re-imagining of Dundry Slopes, where the interests, questions, wonder, curiosity, imagination and pioneering spirit of local children will lead the way.

Room 13 Hareclive presents… Adventures of Curiosity and Wonder: the Dundry Slopes

Through dialogue with local people and organisations that know and use the Slopes, and through discovering nature and our own physical and visual responses to the area, Room 13 Hareclive will produce 3 functional yet poetic discovery maps that we will print as one beautiful fold-out map. They will also choose one of the maps to reproduce as a bronze plaque to go on the Slopes themselves. The work will be exhibited and publicised locally and in Bristol via several key exhibitions. Together, the maps and work will open up new ways of seeing and interacting with the Slopes for all ages.


**Room 13 Hareclive will once again be participating in Spike Island Open Studios event from Friday 1st May to Monday 4th May.
Room 13 artists will be opening their studio on site, as well as running pop up sessions for the public on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd May, 11am – 2pm.**

Donations for Nepal

Nepal is a country very close to our hearts. Room 13 HCMC in Kathmandu was the first Room 13 studio to be set up overseas, marking the beginnings of Room 13 International Studio Network.

Several youth expedition teams from the community of Caol have visited the country over the years to support and develop the Room 13 studios in Nepal.

As a result we have many friends and colleagues in Nepal, and close links with charitable organisations and communities who have worked to establish Room 13 projects and bring arts and creativity to the youth of Nepal. In the aftermath of these recent devastating earthquakes, Room 13 International will be collecting donations on behalf of these locally based organisations, which we will send directly to help their efforts to recover and rebuild their communities.

Donations and contributions can be made via Paypal using the link below:

Cheques or money orders can be sent to:

Room 13 International, Unit 1, Glenloy Street, Caol, Fort William, Scotland, PH33 7DR.

Please make cheques payable to Room 13 International, and mark ‘Nepal Fund’ on the back.

Donate for Nepal

Thank you for supporting our global community.