The Institute of Anything presents “The Fabric of Ideas” August 2016

Each year, our young artist programme “The Institute of Anything” runs an intensive and immersive 2 weeks summer programme for young people aged 14-19. The programme is designed to expose young artists to university standard facilities, experiences and tutors and practicing artists to raise aspirations and confidence and make bold work, developing a greater sense of their own interests and ideas for their future pathways.

This year our summer school was titled The Fabric of Ideas, and it was focused on exploring conceptual ideas though materials and three- dimensional works.

We investigated different ways of creating sculptural forms using fabric, woodwork, cardboard, found objects, textile printing and more. Participants had the opportunity to learn practical skills as well as expanding their creative ideas, and individual art or creative practice, through workshops and gallery visits taking place over 2 weeks. The Fabric of Ideas aims to question and reveal the endless possibilities of working with sculpture and how best to convey ideas through the use of materials.

During the programme participants will question:

  • What is sculpture?
  • What is conceptual art?
  • How can we collaborate sculpturally?
  • What is the relationship between form and ideas?

Day 1 Experiments in Sculpture

We explored the basic premise of sculpture. From making 1 minute sculptures, to creating artworks inspired by found objects bought at the local market for £3. We worked with artist and sculptor Karen Tang, looking at basic processes in assembling sculptural forms.


Day 2 Trip: Tate Britain

We visited the ‘Conceptual Art in Britain 1964 -1979’ show at Tate Britain. Students were keen to discuss the works, touring the group around the exhibit to present their favourite pieces. After lunch we visited House of Illustration to see ‘A New Childhood: Picture Books from Soviet Russia’.


Day 3  Design on the Body – Comfort / Discomfort

We worked with CSM’s jewellery lecturer and artist Helmert Robbertsen. The group explored the notion of comfort and discomfort. They listed words that related to these ideas and designed a worn sculpture with these in mind. Participants were given a deadline to make and document them photographically.

Day 4 Textile Print / Surface Design

We worked with Laura Baker, tutor in Digital Textiles, and had access to CSM’s brilliant fabric printing facilities and technicians. They each worked up a digital design learning basic CAD skills and heat pressed their designs onto 1 metre fabric.

Day 5 Working with Wood

CSM’s in house woodwork technician Ian Barratt demonstrated simple techniques like joining, marking and cutting. Later we looked at semantics – the meaning of words, finding interesting ways to represent them through three-dimensional works.

Day 6 Constructing Perspectives

Inspired by the work of various artists that looked at the idea of construction and deconstruction, later creating large-scale collaborative work that presents interesting perspectives and political ideas which interest us personally. We worked with artist and sculptor Karen Tang to make work for The Street Gallery at CSM.

Day 7 Exhibition Planning Day

We will began to collate the work produced and had 1-to-1 tutorials to help participants complete their portfolios. In the afternoon we worked in teams to plan and curate the exhibition, designing marketing materials, a zine style programme and exhibition graphics.

Day 8 Future Pathway Seminar / Exhibition

We finished completing portfolios and work, as well as organising the exhibition in the street gallery. Later former students preseted their work and took the group on a tour of the building.

Each student kept a blog documenting their experiences. These visual diaries will be submitted for an Arts Award Bronze accreditation at the end of October.



Cubitt Education is part of an artist-led organisation based in Islington, London. We work locally with schools, community centres and groups providing a diverse range of artist-led activities.

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