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Creative license: from Leeds College of Art to Leeds Polytechnic, 1963-1973

Creative license: from Leeds College of Art to Leeds Polytechnic, 1963-1973

Charnley, James, author

Fin-de-Sixties evokes the lingering end of a decade, a turning point which birthed the new regime, one which now defines how visual art is taught within Universities. 'Creative License' describes what happened next and the continuum leading up to this moment. In this ground-breaking study, James Charnley reveals the personalities and events that ignited an explosion of radical creativity such that a contemporary observer, Patrick Heron, could describe Leeds College of Art as "an unprecedented inventive powerhouse on the national scene". Between 1963 and 1973, Leeds College of Art and Leeds Polytechnic were at the forefront of an experiment in art and education where "all that was forbidden was to be dull". With Jeff Nuttall, Robin Page, George Brecht, Patrick Hughes and John Fox on the staff, students pushed the freedom and facilities offered further than anything before or since. 'Creative License' captures the rebellious trajectory of the 1960s, the emergence of the counter-culture, dissent and later disillusionment. This is a case study of an era when art colleges were well funded and well free and, at Leeds, had a mission to progress the avant-garde project to the next level. Perhaps only now can the consequences of this experiment be assessed and its achievements recognised, and James Charnley sets out to do just that

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English. Electronic books.
Published Cambridge: The Lutterworth Press, 2015
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Details

Statement of responsibility: James Charnley
ISBN: 0718843207, 9780718843205
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: xxiv, 295 pages : illustrations (black and white, and colour)
Subject: The arts: general issues; Art schools England Leeds History 20th century.; Leeds College of Art (1927-1968); History of art; Higher & further education, tertiary education; Art and Design.
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. Askews and Holts. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Other formats: Also available in printed form ISBN 9780718893477

Contents

  1. List of Illustrations
  2. Acknowledgements
  3. Foreword
  4. Introduction
  5. Part 1 Leeds College of Art Rising
  6. 1 A State of Flux
  7. 2 The Ascent of the 'Avant-Garde'
  8. 3 Excavating the Academy
  9. Part 2 Pirates of the Polytechnic
  10. 4 Into the Hangar
  11. 5 More Circus Than Studio
  12. 6 Some Students Observed
  13. 7 Some Tutors Considered
  14. Part 3 The Author, the ICA and After
  15. 8 Delinquent Days
  16. 9 Playing Away at the ICA
  17. 10 The Final Art Show
  18. 11 Conclusion
  19. Appendix A
  20. Appendix B
  21. Endnotes
  22. Bibliography
  23. Index

Author note

James Charnley studied Fine Art and Art History and Leeds Metropolitan and Manchester Metropolitan universities. Much of his life has been spent working in film and television, most notably for the BBC and Granada Television. More recently he has concentrated on painting and writing, pursuits enabled by his professional joinery work.||James Charnley studied Fine Art and Art History and Leeds Metropolitan and Manchester Metropolitan universities. Much of his life has been spent working in film and television, most notably for the BBC and Granada Television. More recently he has concentrated on painting and writing, pursuits enabled by his professional joinery work.

Description

"On the road up to the University, the gleaming new purpose-built Leeds Polytechnic awaited the arrival of the students and staff of the art college. All the latest facilities were in place. The only thing missing was any concept of what to expect."

'Creative License' describes what happened next and the continuum leading up to this moment. In this ground-breaking study, James Charnley reveals the personalities and events that ignited an explosion of radical creativity such that a contemporary observer, Patrick Heron, could describe Leeds College of Art as "an unprecedented inventive powerhouse on the national scene". Between 1963 and 1973, Leeds College of Art and Leeds Polytechnic were at the forefront of an experiment in art and education where "all that was forbidden was to be dull". With Jeff Nuttall, Robin Page, George Brecht, Patrick Hughes and John Fox on the staff, students pushed the freedom and facilities offered further than anything before or since.

'Creative License' captures the rebellious trajectory of the 1960s, the emergence of the counter-culture, dissent and later disillusionment. This is a case study of an era when art colleges were well funded and well free and, at Leeds, had a mission to progress the avant-garde project to the next level. Perhaps only now can the consequences of this experiment be assessed and its achievements recognised, and James Charnley sets out to do just that.

Reviews

The book is far more than a narrow history of a period in the development of a regional art college. The text illuminates a world that is far removed and unrecognisable from any phase of education today. James Charnley writes in a clear style that avoids jargon and any attempt to over-theorise or confuse the reader with esoteric language.

Ted Kennedy, National Society for Education in Art and Design (e-bulletin), 29th April 2015

"In the 1960s Leeds College of Art was at the forefront of experiments in unconventional art education. A new and comprehensive account of its most impressively anarchic years has been researched and written by someone who was there ... For those curious about the development of post-war art education this is an important source book packed with original material and revealing interviews."

The Jackdaw: Independent Views on the Visual Arts, Issue 122, July/August 2015