London’s cultural venues open their doors to 13–16-year-olds from across the UK for the National Saturday Club London Visit

28 November, 2023

The London Visit brings the national network together at the beginning of the academic year and provides an opportunity for Club members to visit their capital city. At a welcome event generously hosted by Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, Club members also hear from inspirational speakers and see their creative self-portraits exhibited alongside those of their peers from across the network.

Cultural visits are arranged for each Club, with world-leading museums, galleries and performance spaces opening their doors to provide special access and bespoke workshops including: Autograph, Barbican, The Courtauld Gallery, The Design Museum, Hayward Gallery, London Transport Museum, London Zoo, Makerversity, National Theatre, The Photographers’ Gallery, Science Museum, Somerset House, Tate Britain, V&A, and Whitechapel Gallery.

For some Club members, this is their first trip to London or their first visit to a gallery or museum. A Saturday Club member from the 2022 London Visit commented: “I had never been to London before or to a proper art gallery. The fact that my work was included in the pop-up exhibition at our London Visit was amazing and boosted my confidence”. Danielle Sterrenberg, Saturday Club coordinator at Activate Learning commented: “London brings another layer of excitement to the programme, opening eyes of young Club members to another world filled with opportunities and cultures.”

Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons, OBE said: “The arts have the power to entertain, inspire and ignite imaginations, and the National Saturday Club London Visit will give young people from a wide range of backgrounds the chance to experience our capital’s most loved cultural institutions. It is more important than ever that young people get access to the arts and culture, and the brilliant Saturday Club will inspire our next generation of creatives as we build a more prosperous city for all Londoners.”

Lucy Kennedy, Chief Executive of the Saturday Club Trust, said: “The London Visit is a critical moment at the beginning of the National Saturday Club year. It opens doors and provides a significant moment of access for young people from across the country to immerse themselves in the world-renowned cultural offering of their capital city. We are hugely grateful to our cultural partners and to Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London for welcoming and hosting the National Saturday Club’s members.”

The London Visit is a key feature of the National Saturday Club’s free, extracurricular education programme and it has a transformative impact on Club members. 95% of Club members value the cultural visit and 82% find the guest speakers inspiring and motivating. In addition, 12% of Club members have never before visited a museum or gallery, and 74% haven’t previously visited their London Visit cultural destination.

In the National Saturday Club’s recently published Annual Review, Emmie Kell, Director of Museums and Property at Arts Council England commented “For most young people access to cultural opportunities outside of school […] is too dependent on their social background. This must change. We see the success of the National Saturday Club as a critical part of the solution, to help ensure that all […] young people in this country can develop their creative potential.”

In celebration of the National Saturday Club’s annual self-portrait project, there will be an exhibition of Club members’ work at Central Saint Martins. This project launches the National Saturday Club year, introducing Club members nationwide to ideas of self-expression. As a collection, the work produced celebrates young people’s individuality – their diversity, imagination, and unique perspectives. Explore the self-portraits online:

Click here to find out more about ‘What’s On’ for this year’s National Saturday Club London Visit

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