Drawing upon the wealth of audio interviews recorded by the Artists’ Lives project with the artists who either taught or studied at the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, between the 1950s and 1960s, this lecture situates Corsham against the context of a shifting post-war landscape of higher art education. The school’s redoubtable first Principal, Clifford Ellis, in collaboration with his equally formidable wife, Rosemary, sought to establish at Corsham ‘a more liberal form of art education than had been possible previously’. Such a vision of curricular breadth proposed a different model of education informed by their intellectual and social belief in art’s role within a general education. Drawing upon archival images, as well as the audio testimony of the protagonists themselves, this lecture argues for the Corsham’s progressive status in its leaders’ politicized belief that a reformed art educational system had the potential to transform society.
Dr Hester R. Westley is the Goodison Fellow at the National Life Stories archive housed at the British Library, where she interviews extensively for Artists’ Lives. Westley is a writer and curator with a particular interest in the history of twentieth-century art education.
£10/ Free to Holburne Contemporaries (includes entry to Anthony Fry (1927-2016) A Retrospective between 6-7pm on the night) Garden Café open 6-7pm