Every Saturday, thousands of 14-16-year-olds across the UK indulge their academic and artistic interests at The National Saturday Club. Colleges, universities, museums and galleries throw open their doors for study courses in subjects in the creative and scientific industries. Young people can try their hand at a mind-boggling range of free classes, from fashion to film-making, creative writing to vehicle design, colour theory to pharmacy.
Over 54 venues take part, including Goldsmiths University, The Victoria and Albert Museum, University of East Anglia, and Coleg Sir Gâr. Tutors at each university create their own curriculum, based on their specialisms and facilities, and many augment their programmes with visits to local cultural institutions and by running projects with local practitioners. Adam Twells, a tutor at Coleg Sir Gâr says, “The Saturday Club is an excellent way of experiencing STEM and helps Club members decide what their next step should be. It also helps parents see alternatives for career progression.”
In the spring term, each Club receives a Masterclass from a leading creative professional. This year’s mentors included architect Yasmin Al-Ani Spence of Wilkinson Eyre; structural engineers Arup; artist Barnaby Barford; designers Sebastian Conran and Ella Doran; artist Holly Graham; creative director of Montblanc International Zaim Kamal; Matt Jones of Google Creative Lab; Creative Director of Pentland, Katie Greenyer; Heatherwick Studio; and Nick Wade, children’s animator. Rachel Dawson, a tutor at Bolton School of the Arts says, “The Masterclass is inspiring for the Club members and allows them to realise that their dreams can come true.”
The Saturday Club year culminates with the Summer Show when all Club members’ work is displayed at London’s prestigious Somerset House in an exhibition that attracts over 3,000 visitors every year.
Sir John Sorrell CBE, co-founder of the National Saturday Club Trust says: “My wife Frances and I were able to ignite our careers when we were 14 years old, in Saturday morning art and design classes provided to all children for free by the post-war government. These led to our successful careers in design. We believe that, like us, every child in the country should have the opportunity to study subjects they love on Saturdays at their local college or university, free of charge. They can discover their talents, grow in confidence and find careers they will enjoy.”
The idea of the club excites us immensely. It’s an ideal way to supplement conventional schooling with practical studies, or to explore specialisms not available to those pursuing the home education path, and, as the classes are free, they’re accessible to kids from all walks of life. More at saturday-club.org
CREATIVE CLASSES AND GROUPS FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Tate Collective Join other young people aged 15–25 years in London and Liverpool to plan activities and events for other young people and help out with creative projects. Past activities have included organising three-day festivals and after hours events. tate.org.uk/learn
Collabor-8 Collective Helping steer one of the most innovative centres for art in the country, Nottingham Contemporary, Collabor-8 meet regularly to work on events and creative workshops and ways to connect with young people. nottinghamcontemporary.org
Ashmolean Creatives Panel Go behind the scenes, give feedback about the museum and develop new skills at Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology. Help plan events and meet other 16-18-year-olds interested in museums and the arts. ashmolean.org