• 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

  • Headshot of Rosie Ram

    Rosie Ram is Visiting Lecturer in MA Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art and Course Leader of the Curating Contemporary Art and Design short course programmes. In 2021, she completed her AHRC-funded PhD at the RCA, Image as Method: Nigel Henderson and the Art of Research. Rosie is a specialist in modern and contemporary visual culture and curating, whose research has been published across print, film and online formats. She has curated displays, taught and programmed events at Tate, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), Central Saint Martins and Chelsea College of Arts. Most recently, she co-curated Vital Fragments: Nigel Henderson and the Art of Collage at Tate Britain (2019–20) and co-convened the international conference and workshop programme Cutting Edge: Collage in Britain, 1945 to Now (2021). Prior to her doctorate, Rosie worked at Chisenhale Gallery in East London.