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Middlesex takes art and design to the community

21/06/2021
Thirty teenagers from local schools to try different kinds of art and design, from ceramics to graphic design to life drawing during each annual 16 week programme

MDX is offering 30 places to 13 to 16 year olds in the community on an annual programme as part of National Art and Design Saturday Club (NADSC). The University has been involved for the past six years but the programme was paused because of the pandemic.

NADSC is a new model but not a new idea. Between the late 1940s and 1970s, art schools across the country opened their doors on Saturdays to give young teenagers a taste of what it would be like to study art after leaving school. For many of today’s artists and designers, it was the start of their creative and entrepreneurial careers. The initiative was the inspiration for the National Saturday Club.

The Club’s co-founders, John and Frances Sorrell, both started their professional journeys by attending these Saturday art classes. John and Frances ran an internationally successful design business, Newell and Sorrell, before setting up The Sorrell Foundation in 1999, with the aim of inspiring creativity in young people. After 10 years of developing pioneering educational programmes, the Foundation launched the first National Art & Design Saturday Club in 2009.

Young people around the country are spending Saturday mornings at their local university, college or museum discovering subjects they love. Saturday Clubs are open to 13–16 year olds and free to attend. Joining the National Saturday Club is a chance to meet exceptional people, learn new skills and find out more about further education and rewarding careers.

"What's been wonderful is to see some of those who participated in earlier years apply to Middlesex to study the creative arts here. Investing  in young  people's creativity not only nurtures their talent for future careers and interests but is also a great way to boost confidence and mental wellbeing." Beverley Speight, Middlesex

Commenting on the programme Beverley Speight, Programme Leader in 3D Design and Visual Arts Foundation Programmes at Middlesex said:

“We recruit students from local schools. The enthusiasm for this programme is overwhelming and we could easily fill all thirty places with just one school but we limit the intake to five places per school. What’s been wonderful is to see some of those who participated in earlier years apply to Middlesex to study the creative arts here.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for young people use the amazing facilities at MDX and to learn about different aspects of art and design and find out what they enjoy most such as photography, 3D design, life drawing, ceramics, print, illustration and graphic design.

"Investing in young people’s creativity not only nurtures their talent for future careers and interests but is also a great way to boost confidence and mental wellbeing.

“Our photography sessions are extremely popular as we cover both studio and darkrooms. In the print rooms we introduce the students to dry-point printing which is a method not often covered in the school curriculum. Life drawing is a new experience to most, and in the ceramics workshop we explore techniques such as slip casting and transfer printing.”

Each year the programme runs for sixteen weeks and culminates in an exhibition as well as a day dedicated to an industry-related masterclass. This one-off session features an established artist or designer from industry sharing their experiences and setting a creative task.

Third year MDX students from the Faculty assist over the sixteen weeks. These students usually have a desire to pursue a teaching career following their BA programme so this gives them valuable experience. The NADSC students enjoy talking to the MDX students as they share their university experiences and give an insight into the BA programmes.

Find out more about creative arts courses at Middlesex

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