This week Tate Modern launches a temporary school that aims to highlight the ‘systematic assault’ on arts education in Britain.

Developed by Central Saint Martins’ students, alumni and staff, This is An Art School will offer the public free studio workshops, lectures and art classes.

It is the first event of Tate Exchange Associates, a bumper programme featuring over 100 events from 53 Tate Exchange Associates taking place over the next six months that will highlight the importance of art to society.

Anna Cutler, Tate’s director of learning, said: “This is an exchange between what the public brings and what we bring to the conversation. Our visitors carry their own culture with them and can use museums and galleries as creative spaces for exploring what that means.

“Using art in its many forms, the public and Tate Exchange Associates will shine a spotlight on the challenging issues facing the contemporary world.”

Highlights from the wider programme include an open project on migration organised by Counterpoints Arts with Loughborough University, the Open University and the University of Warwick. In addition, homelessness will be examined through workshops drawn from the personal experience of ex-servicemen and artists, organised by the Museum of Homelessness.

The public can also experiment with textile techniques throughout January with the City and Islington College. Meanwhile, Bristol’s Spike Island will run a two-day pop-up exploring the ideas contemporary artists are focusing on. Royal Holloway University will also be running a children’s workshop exploring art, theatre and puppetry. This includes two workshops: Art and Theatre Inside Suitcases and Heroes, Clowns and Monsters Puppet Workshop.

Elsewhere, themes of community, marginalisation, commerce and carnival will be seen from the perspective of former coalmining communities in Wales and Kent. The ‘Fairground’ project has been organised by Valleys Kids, Canterbury Christ Church University, People United, the Whitstable Biennale and the University of Kent.

Tate Modern director Frances Morris said: “We are very excited to have, for the first time at Tate Modern, an open and accessible forum for visitors from a broad diversity of backgrounds to explore for themselves how art can inform and enrich our understanding of the world.”

A series of Tate Exchange Associates events are also taking place at Tate Liverpool.

Tate Exchange’s founding associates include charities, universities and healthcare trusts as well as smaller organisations that include a range of disciplines involving, among others, architects, writers, health professionals and musicians.

The list includes: Art on the Underground, Arts Emergency, Counterpoints Arts, Engage, Kettles Yard, Liverpool Biennial, Peckham Platform, Plymouth College of Art, Shape Arts, Touretteshero, Vital Arts, W Project and Whitstable Biennale amongst others.

The Tate Exchange programme is supported with funding from the Freelands Foundation, Arts Council England and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

For full details of the programme visit:

1. Tate Modern Switch House level 5, Complaints Department, Guerrilla Girls. Photo: Tate Photography
2. Gil Mualem Doron, The New Union Flag
3. Finding Art and Theatre in Suitcases

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