Following the National Saturday Club’s annual London Visit on Saturday 16 November, we would like to say a huge thank you to all of the partners who supported this year’s event.
The day was a great success with more than 1,000 Saturday Club members from across the country coming together for the first time, in their capital city, to experience its museums, galleries and cultural institutions.
The Greater London Authority generously hosted the London Visit at City Hall, famously designed by architect Sir Norman Foster. The Club members, all aged between 13 and 16, gathered in the Chamber for a special video message from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and inspirational speeches from the GLA’s Shonagh Manson, Assistant Director of Culture and Creative Industries; Katie Greenyer, Creative Talent & Network Director at Pentland Brands and Trustee of the Saturday Club Trust; and Lucy Kennedy, CEO of the Saturday Club Trust.
Sadiq Khan encouraged the Club members to “take advantage of the culture London has to offer” and Shonagh Manson reflected on the significant impact the Saturday drawing classes she took as a child have had on her professional career, encouraging the young people to “do whatever it is that you love”.
After the speeches, the young people climbed the spiral staircase, to City Hall’s London Living Room, taking in the 360-degree view of the city skyline. The view was a highlight of the trip for many, encompassing sights such as Tower Bridge, the Shard, HMS Belfast, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. London Blue Badge tour guide Mark King was on hand to share his vast knowledge of the contemporary and historic heritage of London and to highlight some of the must-see landmarks!
As a part of the City Hall visit, Saturday Club members also had the opportunity to view their self-portraits on display in a pop-up exhibition. Every Club had interpreted the self-portraiture project in their own unique way. The exhibition was a wonderful celebration of self-expression and an exploration of identity.
A tutor from the Cornwall College Art&Design Saturday Club commented: “Cornwall College Saturday Club thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our London trip. We loved City Hall and its crazy spiralling walkway leading us up to our exhibition, with the most fantastic panoramas from the viewing platform. We thought the speeches were very inspiring and we felt very proud of our portraits.”
Thank you so much to the Greater London Authority and the Culture Team for hosting this London Visit for the National Saturday Club.
After their visit to City Hall there was even more for the Club members to enjoy. The Saturday Club Trust organised special tours, guided visits and workshops for each Club, hosted by many of London’s leading museums and galleries. The young people had the chance to visit exhibitions and permanent collections at Somerset House, Tate Modern, Design Museum, Westminster Menswear Archive, National Portrait Gallery, Science Gallery London, Fashion and Textile Museum, Barbican, Shakespeare’s Globe, White Cube Bermondsey and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
We are very grateful to all of our cultural partners for so generously supporting these visits, and thank you also to Q-Art for leading guided tours of the Tate’s permanent collection.
The Greater Brighton Metropolitan College Art&Design Club let us know that “everyone really enjoyed the visit to Tate Modern and learnt a lot from Q-Art in how to approach looking at artwork and understanding how it makes us feel.”
Many thanks to the host institutions for organising the trip for their Saturday Clubs.
We’d also like to say a big thank you to our London Visit partner Cass Art for providing art materials for all of the Club members, and to Water in a Box for keeping us hydrated throughout the day!
This year’s London Visit was a great success and, in Katie Greenyer’s words, we hope that the London Visit was “one of those moments that really matter” for all of the National Saturday Club members who took part.