C. IN WHICH THE PRESS STRONGLY SUPPORTS THE NOTION THAT GOOD FOUNDATION COURSES ARE MORE VITAL THAN EVER.
Each year the dynamic of the Press is shaped by a changing cohort of University of Sunderland Foundation students. Once a week during term-time, the Press works with students in ‘production meetings’ to complete printing jobs or explore experimental approaches as a group. Profits generated from printing are put into student projects and the resources of the risograph studio. The ambition is to build students’ independent editorial and design skills whilst also challenging their methods through working with visiting artists or participating in off-site projects or public events.
5. The Foundation course is a preparatory Art & Design course in the UK which works to build basic visual and creative knowledge in students prior to studying a specialist subject at degree level or in industry. The course (conventionally lasting 1 year) aims to provide students with systems for independent and self-reflective production – endorsing an interdisciplinary and collaborative view of the creative fields.
6. Foundation Press is particularly inspired by several foundation courses that ran in the 1960s/70s such as the Groundcourse set up in 1963 by Roy Ascott at Ealing College of Art (and later in Ipswich) or the courses led by Eric Atkinson (with input from Canadian Fluxus artist Robin Page) at Leeds College of Art and by Tom Hudson at Cardiff College of Art. Characteristics of some of these courses included the use of role-play and performative tactics designed to encourage students to question who they were and how they related to wider society (as well as the roles of teacher and student).
7. The Groundcourse was a two year foundation led by Roy Ascott at Ealing College of Art (1961-64) and then at Ipswich School of Art (1964-67). An experiment in radical pedagogy, Groundcourse methodically applied cybernetic theories concerning systemic relations, communication, interactivity, participation and feedback to an everyday art school environment.
8. The courses at Ealing, Ipswich, Leeds and Cardiff built upon the earlier teaching model called ‘Basic Design’, pioneered by artists Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton in Newcastle University and Harry Thubron and Tom Hudson in Leeds. Basic Design was a programme inspired by Bauhaus and the theoretical writing of Herbert Read where, instead of teaching specific skills associated with particular disciplines of art and design, visual literacy was taught in terms of the use of colour, the establishment of form and the construction of space. Harry Thubron originally began his teaching career at Sunderland School of Art (now the University of Sunderland).
9. In April 2017, Foundation Press presented ‘Colour Experiment’ at Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff — a 3-day workshop inspired by Tom Hudson’s performative colour workshops taught at Cardiff College of Art in the late 1960s. Tom Hudson originally studied Fine Art at Sunderland School of Art.
10. As of September 2017, Foundation courses were still free of charge to 18 year old students leaving school.