Listen online: Pictures for Schools All FM Friday Drivetime interview

I was invited to talk about my Pictures for Schools research and upcoming talk for the Manchester Centre for Regional History at Manchester Metropolitan University on Fiona Ledgard’s Friday Drivetime show on south Manchester radio station All FM.

During our discussion Fiona asked me to read a short extract from an article I have written about Pictures for Schools for the new issue of the modernist magazine.

I also picked some songs for the show, some of them tenuously related to art and artists, including Meilyr Jones, the Velvet Underground, WE, Pins, LoneLady, Sauna Youth, David Bowie and Sacred Paws.

Listen to the show online:

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Mary Fedden in the Guardian

An interesting article in the Guardian about contested ownership and custodianship of paintings by Mary Fedden, apparently gifted to a school in Brent. Fedden, along with her husband Julian Trevelyan, also sold work through Pictures for Schools.


Pictures for Schools in the modernist magazine

12779111_10154014925952495_6407912927554449059_oI have written an article about my Pictures for Schools research for the latest edition of the modernist magazine, which focuses on twentieth century architecture and design. As the issue is themed ‘Forgotten’, I have discussed Pictures for Schools as a forgotten idea and ideal which was once successful and well-regarded but today is all but unknown.

For more information, and to purchase the magazine, visit www.the-modernist.org/forgotten.


Pictures for Schools talk, Manchester Metropolitan University, Wednesday March 16, 6.30pm

MCRH posterI will be doing a talk about my PhD research for the March meeting of the Friends of the Manchester Centre for Regional History.

Pictures for Schools: Bringing art to Manchester’s post-war classrooms

Pictures for Schools was a scheme founded in 1947, which aimed to get original works of art into ‘schools of every kind’ so children could grow up with art as part of their everyday environments.

Between 1947 and 1969, annual Pictures for Schools exhibitions were held in London (with the exception of 1957, when a venue in London could not be found and the exhibition was instead held at Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery). Here, contemporary artworks by living British artists were displayed and sold at prices affordable to educational buyers. Contributors ranged from well-known names such as LS Lowry to students who were obscure at the time but later went on to make a name for themselves.

Local education authorities, education committees and museum services across the country made the annual trip from London to make purchases from the scheme, and extensive collections of artworks were built up in towns, cities and counties large and small for loan to schools. Several schools in Manchester benefited from the opportunity to buy work, and education committees in Lancashire, Rochdale and Manchester were among the regular buyers from Pictures for Schools. Another purchaser was Manchester Art Gallery’s Rutherston Loan Collection for educational institutions in the north of England.

However, over the decades schools have closed, changed name or merged, and local authorities have come under pressures such as boundary changes and financial constraints. Many of these collections have now disappeared with little or no acknowledgment that such a service once existed. Does Pictures for Schools have a legacy in Manchester today, and can these artworks still have any relevance in the twentieth-first-century classroom?

The talk will take place on Wednesday March 16, 6.30pm, in Room 307, 3rd floor, Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University, Oxford Road, Manchester M15.

Free; all welcome

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