Summer Show, our biggest show ever!

Our 7th annual Summer Show was held over five days at the end of June, when we welcomed over 2,500 visitors to the prestigious Embankment Galleries at London’s Somerset House.

The exhibition featured work by over 1,000 young people, those who attend our 47 Art&Design Clubs, 4 Science&Engineering and 2 Fashion&Business Saturday Clubs around the country. Designed by Dallas Pierce Quintero Architects, the show was arranged over 1,000 square metres.

We have had a fantastic response from Club members, parents, professionals & passers by. “I came across this exhibition purely by chance and boy did it raise my spirits! So much talent, creativity and passion.” Member of the public.

Edmund de Waal OBE (right) and Sir Peter Bazalgette (above) speaking at the private view

With six private views for Club members, families and friends who travelled from all over the UK to see the show and receive their certificates of achievement and yearbooks. Opening the presentation ceremony, ceramicist, writer and Saturday Club trustee Edmund de Waal said: “You’re at the start of a brilliant life of creating and making.”

Club members receive certificates of achievement at the Private View Ceremony

The exhibition celebrates the commitment and achievement of all the young Club members and the talent and dedication of their tutors and student assistants.  A special feature was the Masterclasses given by over 100 professionals, and we were very happy to welcome many of our Masterclass givers, past and present, to the private views.

Frances Sorrell awarded an OBE

Our co-founder Frances Sorrell was awarded an OBE for services to art and design education in the recent birthday honours.

Portrait by John Swannell

Frances began her career at Saturday art classes at her local college, Epsom School of Art (now University for the Creative Arts, Epsom) in the 1960s and went on to run Newell and Sorrell, one of Europe’s most successful design agencies.

Frances set up the Sorrell Foundation with John Sorrell in 1999, with the aim of inspiring creativity in young people.

Over the last 17 years the Foundation has worked with more than 10,000 young people across the UK on a range of programmes including joinedupdesignforschools, the Young Design Programme, Myplace and Design Out Crime and, over the last 7 years, has developed and run the National Saturday Club network.

Frances is Chancellor of the University of Westminster, an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA, Falmouth University and Hereford College of Arts and holds honorary doctorates from the Open University, Coventry University and University for the Creative Arts.

Speaking last week, Sir Peter Bazalgette said “Frances has worked tirelessly to encourage confidence and inspire creativity in young people. This recognition is so richly deserved and deeply appropriate as she is so dedicated to the nurturing of talent and passing on of skills through education”.

Celebrating talented graduates at New Designers

Tour Leaders - Alex Tucker, Emily Dobson, Alaa Alsaraji, Rebecca Marsh & Chris Pierre at New Designers

We’re just back from New Designers, the annual exhibition for graduate creative talent at the Business Design Centre in London.

Our Saturday Club student assistants were guiding schools’ tours to give younger visitors a special take on the show and insights into further and higher education. Special thanks to our guides Alaa Alsaraji, Emily Dobson, Marika Heikkilä, Rebecca Marsh, Eleanor Mutare and Alex Tucker.

Alex is a graduate of the Saturday Club at Grimsby Institute, which he first attended in 2010 aged 15. Alex has learning difficulties and says the Saturday Club has really helped build his confidence. He says:

“The Saturday Club is a great opportunity on your doorstep! It has helped me to realise my talent, made me explore and shown me that I can draw and paint as well as come up with good concepts and ideas.”

A talented young artist, Alex has just completed his Foundation Diploma and hopes to go on to study for a design degree at Grimsby Institute.  He supports the Saturday Club as a student assistant and we’re very proud to have him as one of our guides at New Designers.

The Saturday Club also co-hosted two networking coffee mornings for tutors, with a timely discussion of the EBacc debate in parliament last week, and this week’s insights for employers on helping students to become industry-ready.

Looking ahead

We are very happy to welcome Liz Cowley to the Saturday Club team. Liz joins us as Assistant Programme Manager this month, but will be a familiar face to many as she has worked with us at events and Masterclasses over the last four years.

After a very busy month, we’re now looking forward to welcoming more new colleges and universities to the Saturday Club network.  The Club provides valuable connections between colleges, universities and local communities, helps secure progression and has proven to be an effective way of helping young people from all backgrounds discover subjects they love and make informed choices about further study and careers.

“Thank you so much for the confidence and aspiration you have given my daughter.” Parent of Cambridge club member

If you’d like to know more about joining the Club please contact us: or 0207 845 5860

Photo credits: Matt Jessop, Liz Cowley, Kit Oates & Jo Mieszkowski