The University of Wolverhampton is celebrating its partnership with a national creative education organisation after delivering a year-long series of Saturday Clubs designed to engage young people across the West Midlands region.
The partnership between the University’s School of Art and the National Saturday Club has delivered the series of programmes for young people in the local community this year.
The National Saturday Club is a national, charitable initiative which gives 13–16-year-olds across the country the opportunity to study subjects they love at their local university, college or cultural institution, for free.
With a particular focus on engaging young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented communities, the National Saturday Club’s established model has proven impact. Across all subjects, the programme develops versatile skills such as imagination, persistence, discipline, inquisitiveness, collaboration, and resilience.
Club members also benefit from the programme’s support for their personal and social development, they grow in confidence, meet like-minded peers, and are encouraged to develop as independent thinkers. The National Saturday Club receives public funding from the Department for Education and the National Lottery through Arts Council England. It is also supported by the British Film Institute, British Fashion Council, Chatham House, and industry partners.
Throughout the year, the School of Art ran two Saturday Clubs covering Art & Design and Film & Media. Using the City of Wolverhampton’s motto – Out of Darkness Cometh Light – the Art & Design Club members were inspired to produce a broad investigation into photography, digital, analogue and ‘cameraless’. The young people had the opportunity to explore everything from pinhole photography, solography, chemigrams, and light painting to stick and ink life drawings, advertising and storyboarding, psychogeography, moving image, sound and casting.
Film & Media Club members experimented with pinhole photography, digital photography and filmmaking as well as storyboarding, sketching, tracing and 3D modelling. Together the Club uncovered brand new ways of communicating with cameras, from the basics to the more experimental. The Club also included Masterclasses from multi-disciplinary artist Tejumola Butler Adenuga, production company Sliced Studio and global design agency, Imagination.
The finale of the National Saturday Club year is the Summer Show at London’s prestigious Somerset House, a public exhibition of work by Club members and a celebration of all they have achieved. Members of the University team included Niki Gandy, Ricky Lynch, Robert Millward and Pritpal Sembi assisted by Charlotte Webb, Julia Foster, Kimberly Barnes, Paul Gallagher, Reuben Wilde.
Paul Allnutt, UK Network Director, National Saturday Club, said: “The University of Wolverhampton has been a valued partner of the National Saturday Club since 2017 and their Art&Design and Film&Media Clubs continue to provide new and inspiring opportunities to young people in the local area. Their dedicated team have made a real difference to the young people who have taken part in the programme, not only through the educational opportunities their Saturday Clubs offer, but also by increasing the confidence and aspirations of these young people at a pivotal time in their lives.”
Niki Gandy, Club Tutor at the University, said: “It’s been a true pleasure to get to know the children who have taken part in our Art & Design National Saturday Club and seeing them pushing their creative boundaries. Our aim has been to introduce our visitors to some ideas and processes that they may not have previously been exposed to, and that the experience they’ve had with us helps them continue further on their creative journey.”
One parent said: “Thanks for giving my daughter this kind of opportunity. Throughout the pandemic it played a massive part to keep my daughter focused and not to be stressed.” Before the Club 57% of Club members were not taking part in other out of school activities, 71% had not visited a college or a university and 43% had not been to London.
Ricky Lynch, Club tutor, said: “It has been such fun seeing so many unique outlooks on the world we live in, but most importantly, seeing how our visitors wished to present it. I hope I gave everyone some of the technical skills to go out there and showcase their imagination, with the understanding of the importance of how to do it effectively and inclusively.”
The University has secured more funding to offer another Film & Media Saturday Club linked to the Creative industries and Screen School from January 2023. ASPIRE to HE is funding another Art & Design Club. Find out more about the School of Art and Screen School courses on the website or visit one of our forthcoming Open Days.