- Date: 16 October 2009
- Artform: Visual arts
- Region: South West
Room 13 Hareclive is an independent artists’ studio, based within the grounds of Hareclive Primary School, Bristol.
Set up in 2003, it was the first Room 13 studio in England. The original idea started in Caol Primary School in Fort William, Scotland, over 10 years ago and there are now Room 13’s in South Africa, India and several other countries.
Room 13 employs a professional artist-in-residence who helps facilitate the work of younger artists, providing an exchange of ideas, skills and experience across the ages. The studio is democratically run by the young people that use it and every year a team of students aged 9 – 11 is elected onto a management committee. Working as equal team members alongside adults, they make decisions about the studio, run a shop, raise their own funds for materials, sign all cheques, pay the artist’s salary and develop Room 13 and its work outside of the school.
Senior Room 13ers now at secondary school also come back to use and help the studio. Room 13 has an open door policy to all children, of whatever age or ability. Students can come to the studio during lunch and break times on the days it is open and, importantly, students can also use the studio in class times.
The only criteria are that children must want to come, must negotiate any time off with their teacher and must ensure that all class work is up to date. Together, these things mean that in Room 13, children are given the freedom and space to be creative, the incentive to be responsible and to work hard, and the opportunity to learn about running a project and a business.
During Architecture Week, Room 13 Hareclive officially launched their new studio. The building (still on the school site) is the first purpose-built Room 13 in the world and won a 2007 RIBA award (presented to selected buildings that have high architectural standards and make a substantial contribution to the local environment).
Part financed by the European Union, the studio was designed by local architects, Mitchell Taylor Workshops.
Young artists were involved in the design and planning of the new building and they documented the different stages of its development as an arts project.
A grant from Arts Council England, South West enabled Room 13 Hareclive to employ a fundraiser as it desperately needs to maintain funding in order to continue its existence. Hareclive Primary School will continue to provide heat and light for the room, but the project must continue to be self-funding. The Hartcliffe project is therefore looking to develop an artworks loan scheme amongst Bristol businesses, offer a design service and take on commissions.
Anyone interested in supporting Room 13 Hareclive or finding out more should email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Room 13 was highly praised in an independent report, commissioned by NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) and Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate Galleries, has called it “the most important model for artistic teaching in school we have in the UK.”
It is perhaps best described by one of its members, Zoe, aged 11, who explains “when you step into the room you feel a boost of energy and a new world opens up full of art.”