Shrewsbury College Art Exhibition at Attingham Park

In the Mansion this year we’re exploring how the Shropshire Adult Education College (based at Attingham from 1948 to 1976) shaped women’s lives after the Second World War with new educational opportunities. We’re proud to be working with students from Shrewsbury College who are creating vocational level artwork in response to the stories of the ‘Women of the College’ for display inside the Mansion at Attingham.

Learners from 16 years of age upwards from Shrewsbury College have produced work across a variety of media to help shine a spotlight on women’s history from this era at Attingham.

‘Leaves’ (earthenware clay), created by Shrewsbury College Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design students
Earthenware clay leaves, part of a piece of artwork created by Shrewsbury College Students
‘Leaves’ (earthenware clay), created by Shrewsbury College Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design students
" Attingham has always been an important place for learning and wellbeing and the Adult Education College played an important role for women in post-war Britain. As well as seeing the artworks in place, visitors can explore stories about the staff (office and domestic), students, family members and courses offered in this co-ed college."
- Claire Tafft, Visitor Experience Manager, Attingham Park.

Working together: creating the exhibition

Learners spent two days at Attingham in November 2017 where they were immersed in the stories, building and landscape to get a sense of what the students coming to the Adult Education College, started in 1948, would have experienced at the time.

Students in the Picture Gallery at Attingham, c1950.
Two women seated in the Picture Gallery at Attingham c.1950
Students in the Picture Gallery at Attingham, c1950.
Tutors from Shrewsbury College recreating a photo taken c.1950 of tutors from the Shropshire Adult Education College sitting on the portico steps at Attingham.
Tutors from Shrewsbury sat on the portico steps at Attingham Park
Tutors from Shrewsbury College recreating a photo taken c.1950 of tutors from the Shropshire Adult Education College sitting on the portico steps at Attingham.

Staff and volunteers showed students the highlights of the site. They also recreated archive photographs of the first students studying and living at Attingham to aid students putting themselves in the original learner’s shoes.

After that, groups of students returned to Attingham to focus on specific areas of interest, and the team from Attingham visited the college to see the artwork as it progressed.

'Be fearless in the pursuit of happiness', ceramic teacup by Shrewsbury College student Rebecca Lea.
A ceramic teacup created in response to Atitngham's 'Women of the College' theme, by Shrewsbury College students.
'Be fearless in the pursuit of happiness', ceramic teacup by Shrewsbury College student Rebecca Lea.
" Our Vocational Art Courses place a great deal of importance on learners gaining as much experience of working as artists and designers as possible…This project is a very important opportunity for our learners to gain valuable experience of working with the National Trust, they are currently working hard to generate Art work designed to help the Trust to unveil another layer to the history of Attingham Park and therefore enrich the visitor experience."
- Helen Morgan, Level 3 Art & Design Course Leader, Shrewsbury College.

Contemporary art in an historic setting

Thirty of the most appropriate pieces were selected for display at Attingham and tutors will begin installing works in the Mansion from Wednesday 14 March before the exhibition opened on Friday 30 March. The students artwork will be on display in rooms throughout the Mansion until Sunday 3 June 2018.

'Eye' reflecting the stories of the 'Women of the College' by Brooke Coxill .
A photograph taken by Shrewsbury College student in response to the Mansion's 'Women of the College' theme.
'Eye' reflecting the stories of the 'Women of the College' by Brooke Coxill .

Find out more

Find out more about the ‘Women of the College’ at Attingham in our article below.

College tutors in front of the Mansion at Attingham c.1950

Attingham Park: Women of the College

Discover the roles and opportunities the Shropshire Adult Education College afforded women between 1948 and 1976, in the Mansion at Attingham this year.

The National Trust is shining a spotlight on the roles and stories of women across the places it cares for this year. Find out more about these stories in the Midlands

For further information on Shrewsbury College and the courses they offer please visit their website here