School of the Damned

London, Class of 2016

From 2015-2016 I was a member of the School of The Damned. The school was established out of a desire to create a free alternative to further education for artists after tuition fees were tripled in the UK. Each year a new class of students was formed, based on an open call. The school was a form of protest and operated without money. Free friends, free education.

Each month students met at ‘The Function Room’. An art gallery above a rough pub in Euston which I liked to think of as a community centre for the local alcoholics. Turning up around 10 or 11 in the morning, the pub was always open. No matter how early it was, an old geezer would no doubt be propping up the bar with a pint of Guinness. A black cat lay stretched out in front of a blazing open fire stoked with old pub furniture.

Day long crits consisted of students presenting their work to the group. We invited different guest tutors to join us, who set a text for us to read each month. In exchange for their time, tutors were paid for through a labour exchange, whereby students offered services such as helping to move house or installing exhibitions.