News about Grant-supported Projects

Publication: The Locked Room: Four Years that Shook Art Education, 1969–1973

  • 22 May 2020

The Locked Room: Four Years that Shook Art Education, 1969–1973 edited by Rozemin Keshvani and published by MIT Press is now available to purchase. This book was supported by a Paul Mellon Centre publication grant.

Book cover In 1969, four tutors at Saint Martin's School of Art in London undertook a radical experiment in the teaching of sculpture. Students in the 'A' Course were placed together in a large white room, locked from the inside. They were given projects that specified only what they could not do, not what they were required or assigned to do. Students were not permitted to speak to each other or to their instructors while in the Locked Room. Instructors gave students no feedback or evaluation. Discussing the course outside the Locked Room was discouraged. Not surprisingly, this approach was controversial. Fifty years later, in this book, students and staff from the Locked Room come together to explore, reflect upon, and reveal what really happened in the white room.

The Locked Room includes interviews, conversations and writings from participants alongside never-before-published photographs and archival documentation. It presents more than thirty student projects, spanning four years of inventive instruction by its four tutors, Peter Atkins, Garth Evans, Peter Harvey and Gareth Jones, as well as student-initiated games and actions – including an account of the infamous extracurricular 'boxing match' organised by students.