• 16 November 2018
  • 1:00 – 2:00 pm
  • Paul Mellon Centre

Between 1949 and 1955, the London County Council Central School of Arts and Crafts appointed a remarkable roster of tutors, including artists Eduardo Paolozzi, Nigel Henderson, Richard Hamilton and Victor Pasmore, architects Alison and Peter Smithson, and critic Reyner Banham. Reflecting on the cross-pollination of practices at the Central School during this period, the Smithsons describe the art school as an ‘informal nucleus’ of collaborative activity in post-war London. Despite this, the Central School has suffered critical neglect in the literature, and its role in shaping the collaborative practices of the tutors it employed has received little in-depth analysis. Drawing inspiration from both its Arts and Crafts lineage and from the Bauhaus, the Central School encouraged modes of collaboration that were oriented toward industry. Visits to factories, workshops and offices were stipulated in the school’s curricula, and teaching staff were cast ‘not as professors of aesthetics, but as workers in the arts’. This presentation will focus on a body of silkscreen prints made at the Central School in the early 1950s. I will suggest that these prints evidence modes of collaboration that both invoked and transgressed the policies and pedagogy of Central School. By tracing the migration of these prints through a network of collaborative projects that encircled the school during this period, I will show how the production of these prints was conditioned by the collaborative ethos of the Central School and yet deviated from it. In doing so, I will suggest that these objects indicate collaborative practices within the post-war Central School that simultaneously occupied and evaded the official structures of the institution.

About the speaker

  • Rosie Ram_Photo cropped

    Rosie Ram is an AHRC-funded PhD student at the Royal College of Art. Her thesis focuses on collaborative art practices in post-war Britain, 1945-65. This doctoral research draws on her ongoing work as archivist for the Nigel Henderson Estate. In 2019, she is co-curating a Spotlight display at Tate Britain with Mark Hallett, Director of Studies at the Paul Mellon Centre, and Elena Crippa, Curator of Modern and Contemporary British Art at Tate, which will examine Nigel Henderson’s collage work. Rosie is co-convenor of the Paul Mellon Centre's Doctoral Researchers Network 2018/19. Her research has been supported by an AHRC International Placement Scheme fellowship at the Yale Center for British Art. In 2017, Rosie curated a research display and public programme, titled ‘In Collaboration: Eduardo Paolozzi at the Central School’, with the Central Saint Martins Museum and Study Collection. Prior to her doctorate, she worked as programme coordinator at Chisenhale Gallery.