In the late spring of 1969 four members of the teaching staff in the Sculpture Department at St. Martins School of Art in London began work on a project for students who would be entering the new three-year degree programme in the autumn. Their unique pedagogic experiment, which came to be known as the ‘A’ Course, was an extraordinary and inventive teaching programme that had a significant impact on what was taking place in British art education at the time. Because of its highly unorthodox nature the ‘A’ Course was widely known and largely misunderstood; it would not be unfair to say it was notorious.
As part of a process of re-activating the past and involving original participants, MayDay Rooms has been in contact with former ‘A’ Course tutors/staff Garth Evans, Gareth Jones and Peter Kardia and students who have kindly participated, donated and loaned material. This ongoing ‘A’ Course Collection also opens onto other, less well known avenues taken by ‘A’ Course students in the 1970s including the Manydeed Group and the Poster Film Collective.
Many thanks are due to Garth Evans and Andrew Darley for helping to kick-start the process of compiling a full list of ‘A’ Course projects. See below and please feel free to submit any additional information, including corrections, specific dates, documents, photographs to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Kardia (ne Atkins) and Ken Adams in conversation with current CSM staff and students linked the 10th Floor during ‘In Exchange’, a five week process of recovering and activating histories linked to St. Martins School of Art (1962-1980). February – March 2011
Garth Evans description of the 'A' Course
Gareth Jones' description of the 'A' Course
‘A’ Course Mask Project. Still 1972. Reconstruction for Omnibus: A Question of Feeling. Christopher Burstall. First broadcast September 9th 1973
Instructions by Post Project
Area Designated A project
Working Index: Projects
‘A’ Course Projects 1969-1973 - sample of material
September 1969 & September 1970 JBC/ADC/PVC
-Individual Specifications Project
-Combinations of Materials Project. Phase I. November 16, 1970 (intake 2) ADC
-Combinations of Materials Project. Phase II. January 4-13, 1971 (intake 2) ADC
-Sitting Periods Project. Phase I. January 17 – February 22, 1971. (intake 2) ADC
-Sitting Periods Project. Phase II. February 25 – March 18, 1971. (intake 2) ADC
-Notice Board Project
-Bus Journey – 1 Day Project
-Work by Staff Project. September 28, 1971. ADC
-Instructions by Post Project
December 21st 1971 – February 24th 1972. ADC
-Samples Project. May 8 – 26, 1972 (intake 2) ADC
-Area Designated A Project
September 27 – October 13, 1972 (intake 2) ADC
-Student/Agent Project. October 30 – November 9, 1972 (intake 2). ADC
-Essential Equipment Project. November 21 – 27, 1972. (intake 2). ADC
January 23 – April 1973 (intake 2) ADC.
-Mask Project June 1972
Ken Adams Collection
Deposited with MayDay Rooms in September 2010 – historical material linked to the formation of the Fine Art department at Saint Martins School of Art in 1964, the pre ‘A’ Course Documentation Model 1965-1966 and more. Documents selected and scanned and ready for upload. Watch this space.
Andrew Darley Collection
Personal ‘A’ Course archive deposited at MayDay Rooms in August 2012. Material scanned and ready to upload but uncatalogued. Watch this Space
John Burke Collection
A’ Course and Manydeed material on loan to 10th Floor March 2010 – September 2011. Over 200 photos, documents, ephemera scanned and ready to upload. Watch this space.
Tony Hill Collection
Held at maydayrooms.org only and currently unctatalogued. Watch this Space.
David Millidge Collection
Deposited with MayDay Rooms in February, 2010. Currently scanned and ready to upload but uncatalogued. Watch this space
Peter Venn Collection
Historical material linked to the ‘A’ Course and Manydeed Group deposited with 10th Floor and then MayDay Rooms in December 2009. Material due to be scanned and uploaded. Watch this space.