Research blog – making connections: Circ

Sometimes I wonder about the purpose of having a PhD blog and who, if anyone, is my audience, but I recently received a worthwhile email from another researcher in a related area, based at the University of Brighton, who had come across my blog and sent me some interesting links.

Joanna Wedell is researching the Circulation Department of the Victoria & Albert Museum,  known as Circ, and its post-war activity circulating items from the museum’s collection, along with exhibitions and art demonstration sets, to institutions in regions across the UK, including secondary schools, art colleges and museums. I had read about the V&A’s circulation department in issues of the Society for Education through Art’s journal, Athene, dating back to the early-1940s when they were calling for a nationwide scheme to get artworks into schools and discussing the schemes which already existed. However, Joanna informed me that the V&A phased out shows for secondary schools post-war, after an initial government plan to extend the scheme was dropped, although the Keeper of Circulation from 1947-60, Peter Floud, was particularly interested in children’s art education.

Something of particular interest was a video clip Joanna sent me showing the ceramicist Emmanuel Cooper talking about being influenced by seeing ceramics whilst he was at school (in a Circ exhibition): I was intruiged to hear Derbyshire mentioned as Derbyshire was also a council which made extensive use of Pictures for Schools and still has a county art collection for loan to schools.

Another article related to Essex artist Edward Bawden, known as being a pioneer of printing methods such as linocut and creating distinctive images of Britain’s landscapes, both rural and urban. In addition to being represented in Circ, Bawden was a regular contributor to Pictures for Schools. A former war artist, Bawden’s many public and private commissioned ranged from packaging and advertising designs to murals for public places such as the Festival of Britain and Cunard liners.

One Comment on “Research blog – making connections: Circ”

  1. […] the success of the project can be evaluated; whether I had looked at similar schemes such as the Victoria and Albert Museum’s ‘Circ’ collection, and notions of engaging with art through schemes such as Pictures for Schools and how this […]

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