BCU celebrates 175 years of art education in Birmingham

Did you know that BCU's roots date back to the foundation of the Birmingham Government School of Design in October 1843? This was the forerunner of the Schools of Art, Visual Communication and Architecture & Design within ADM. To mark the occasion, BCU are running a series of events in September to November 2018, beginning with opening the School of Art to the public this Saturday as part of the Heritage Open Days programme. 

 Marion Richardson in the early years of her teaching career

Marion Richardson in the early years of her teaching career

A selection of items from one of our collections will be on display at one of the proposed events, a seminar at the Medicine Bakery and Cafe on Tuesday 30 October that will be led by artist Cathy Wade, Course Leader of the MA in  Arts in Education Practices at Margaret Street. It will focus on Marion Richardson, a former student (1908-12) who went on to become internationally known for her innovative methods of teaching art.

In the earlier part of Marion's career, the penal reformer Margery Fry encouraged her to work with women and young offenders in Winson Green and Holloway prisons. We have a number of  private letters and papers about this work that will be shown alongside Lucy Orta's Procession Banners, an exhibition of work she made in collaboration with women prisoners at HMP Downview. They designed 30 banners to mark the centenary of British women winning the vote. More than a thousand suffragettes were imprisoned in Holloway during their struggle to achieve this: perhaps Marion Richardson met some of them?  

Either way, it'll be interesting to explore the synergies between Marion and Lucy's work. Why not come along to the seminar to find out more?