Room 13 International represents a growing network of student-run arts studios in schools and community settings worldwide.The story of Room 13 began in 1994, when a group of students established their own art studio in Room 13, Caol Primary School near Fort William, Scotland. They ran the studio as a business, raising funds to buy art materials and employ a professional Artist in Residence to work with them. Slowly and organically, Room 13 has gone on to establish a network of creative studios and a thriving community of young artists and entrepreneurial thinkers that stretches around the globe.
Anything can happen in Room 13! Over the years, our young artists have produced drawings, paintings, photographs, films, collages, sculptures, poetry, dance, drama, music, sound, performance and much, much more. We have philosophical debates, cut hard-nosed business deals, and welcome guests from around the globe, and around the corner. Being part of a community is one of the most important things that we seek to promote in Room 13.
Every Room 13 studio is different. They are run differently by their individual management teams, have different artists, keep different business hours and all have slightly different ways of working. In this way, Room 13 grows and adapts according to the needs of the students, artists, educators and the culture of the host community.
There are just a few core elements of working practice that translate to each and every studio:
Room 13 artists have an international reputation for creating high quality work. Across the UK and beyond, we have taken part in exhibitions, commissions, residencies and collaborative work; and in presentations, films, radio programmes, publications and other media work.
Each artists work is original and unique. In Room 13 artists are encouraged to think for themselves and every artist must think very seriously about what they are doing and why. Every piece of work is a product of an individual exploration of his or her own ideas. Open discussion of ideas, philosophy and thinking about anything and everything forms a constant background to the work in any Room 13 studio.
Each Room 13 is run as a business, generating income to pay for art materials and equipment. There are almost as many money-making ideas as there are studios. Some Room 13s make cards to sell, others run shops selling stationery and other small items, and some take and sell the school photographs.
Some studios provide services, deliver commissions, or raise investment through grants and sponsorship.
With support from their Artist in Residence, the studio management team work together to order art materials, manage the studio space, deal with correspondence, bills and media requests, and make decisions about the studio and its development.
In Room 13, young people have the creative freedom, resources and support to follow their ideas and interests through. Questioning, exploring and constructive criticism are actively encouraged! Room 13 demonstrates that young people can be responsible and achieve things way beyond the usual expectations that people have of them. Young people, students, school leavers, educators, artists and corporate professionals are among the wider public who contribute to and benefit from working with Room 13.
It is this combination of creative thinking, enterprise and arts practice that has been integral to the success and longevity of Room 13.