Room 13 Shikshayatan

Resident Artist(s): Various
Main Studio Artform: Painting and Craft Skills


featured image for Room 13 Shikshayatan

Shikshayatan School is an independent school in Tamil Nadu, South India.

The ideals of Room 13 are integral to school life here. Shikshayatan School opened in mid-1994 admitting 15 three-year-old children to the first class. All of the children came from low income, scheduled caste families in which they were the first generation to receive any education.

Within this community, the founders of the school have spent the last two decades exploring and experimenting with new methods of early childhood education.

In 2004 they met with Room 13 and were inspired by a presentation given by two youngsters from Scotland. Confident by this point in their ability to instil the skills of literacy and numeracy in their pupils, they felt intrigued by an approach to arts education that appeared to sit so comfortably with their own methods. From this point Shikshayatan enthusiastically embraced Room 13.
Room 13 Shikshayatan became an art studio in November 2007 with the arrival of Emma Conder as the first Artist in Residence.  Room 13 Shikshayatan operates as a club that all students aged between 5 and 11 will attend for between 2 and 15 hours each week.

In their own words:

“Our studio ‘Sruti’ has been customised with a sun visor, some boards and newly painted cupboards to keep paints and paper, space to keep artwork safe and flat (if it was of that nature originally!) We use the school pump to collect water for painting and to wash pots, brushes, hands and on occasion school uniform!

The Management Team implement a rota and choose monitors from each group that uses the studio in the day. These monitors are responsible for their own group’s materials and cleaning, leaving the studio ready for the next group who are outside fresh and raring to go. The eldest group, which includes the management team, have together created an excellent creative and relaxed environment. There is much collaboration and all studio users are constantly inspired by each other.”

At a glance

News from Room 13 Shikshayatan


Shikshayatan celebrates 20 years of free education

Today is the 20th anniversary of Shikshayatan School, now home to Room 13 Shikshayatan. Aruna and Raghavan, who founded the school in 1994, held the first classes around their kitchen table. They are to be congratulated for their energy and … Continue reading


Global Enterprise

Room 13 Mallaig have learned to make these fantastic bags made from used plastic. The technique was picked up by their artist in residence who spent some time working with Room 13 Shikshayatan last year. This is an excellent example of studios … Continue reading

Carbon Neutral Challenge Trophy

Carbon Neutral Challenge Trophy

Congratulations to TBWA\ Moscow, winner of the 2009 Carbon Neutral Challenge. Their achievement is marked with this beautiful trophy commissioned by TBWA\ and designed by the young artists of Room 13 Shikshayatan.