Yorkshire Sculpture Park holds Masterclass on sculpture in the landscape for Art&Design Saturday Club

Club members from our Art&Design Saturday Club took part in a Masterclass earlier this year, organised by Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture. Founded in 1977, YSP was the first sculpture park in the UK and is the largest of its kind in Europe.

The Masterclass in February brought together National Saturday Clubs from the University of Leeds, Bradford College and Hull College to investigate how art can help us connect to nature and enhance wellbeing.

Person making marks on a large piece of paper

A Club member exploring mark-making. Image courtesy of National Saturday Club.

Club members explored sculpture in the landscape on an interactive artist-led tour of the park, focusing on works which use natural materials and the surrounding environment to create meaning. This included taking part in creative activities outside such as mark making and using chalks to depict changing scenery.

This was followed by a reflective thinking exercise in the James Turrell sculpture, Deer Shelter Skyspace – a chamber containing only seating, lighting and an aperture in the ceiling through which to view the sky.

People visiting James Turrell's sculpture, Deer Shelter Skyspace, at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Art&Design Saturday Club members visiting sculptures at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Image courtesy of National Saturday Club.

After lunch, Club members took part in group activities where they used reclaimed and sustainable materials to create their own outdoor sculptures. The sculptures were created in response to words the Club members had used to describe the art they had encountered so far in their visit to YSP – words such as ‘space’, ‘vast’ and ‘everlasting’.

Their collaboratively created sculptures were then presented, with titles and meanings, to fellow Club members. These ranged from sculptures designed to create conversations whilst moving around the structures that replicated a campfire, to abandoned swings that charted Club members’ memories of the day.

Sculptures made from sticks and other natural materials

Sculptures made by Art&Design Saturday Club members. Image courtesy of National Saturday Club.

Club members described the Masterclass as fun, stimulating, interesting and thought provoking. Many said that they valued the ‘instructiveness’ of the day and the opportunity (and creative freedom) to learn new things through making their own sculptures. Some of the feedback about the day at YSP included:

“I valued the part where we were given a chance to create our own sculpture – I enjoyed the creative freedom and teamwork.”

“My favourite part was building our own sculptures – it gave us freedom and it was really fun being creative outdoors making sculptures.”

“I loved using a range of techniques and new ways of viewing art and art making activities.” 

Sculpture made of natural materials in an outdoor green space

Sculpture made by Art&Design Saturday Club members. Image courtesy of National Saturday Club.

“The sculpture making was really fun and made me think.”

“My favourite part of the day was the teamwork because I made friends with others.”

“Collaborating and creating pieces as a group was my favourite aspect of the day because it allowed us to explore, reflect on and develop personal creations with varied interpretive meanings.”

Sculptures made of natural materials such as wood placed on grass

Sculptures made by Art&Design Saturday Club members. Image courtesy of National Saturday Club.

The School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies has been running the University of Leeds Art&Design Saturday Club since 2017, as part of a national network created by the Sorrell Foundation and coordinated by the Saturday Club Trust.

The Club gives young people aged 13 to 16 the unique opportunity to study art and design on Saturday mornings at their local college, university or museum, free of charge.

The aim is to nurture the young people’s talent, build their confidence and self-esteem, give them an insight into student life and an understanding of new opportunities that further and higher education can offer, as well as helping to improve their school work.

Person drawing shapes on a sheet of paper

Club members responding to their surroundings and experiences of the day. Image courtesy of National Saturday Club.

The Art&Design Saturday Club hosted by the University of Leeds offers members the opportunity to access the range of facilities in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, and to work with academics, artists, students and staff from across the university, as well as arts organisations from across the region.

Club members also take part in national events including Masterclasses with leading industry professionals and the Summer Show, where Saturday Clubs nationwide exhibit their work in a public exhibition.

Line of drawings on paper placed on the ground

Drawings created by Art&Design Saturday Club members. Image courtesy of National Saturday Club.

Dr Rebecca Starr, Art&Design Saturday Club Coordinator and Lecturer in History of Art in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, said:

“Our Art&Design Saturday Club members attended a brilliant Masterclass at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park earlier this year.

“Club members had the opportunity to form friendships with young people from across the National Saturday Club network whilst exploring the relationship between sculpture, landscape and nature.

“They created a number of artworks, including working together collaboratively to present thought-provoking and innovative sculptures that engaged with the landscape.

“It was a great day and so inspiring to see how creative our Club members are!”

Sculpture made from natural materials in an outdoor space with a person next to it

Sculpture made by Art&Design Saturday Club members. Image courtesy of National Saturday Club.

Across the National Saturday Club’s wider network, the Masterclasses programme takes place in the Spring term and connects Clubs with industry experts, showcasing the way in which the skills developed at a Saturday Club can be applied in the real world.

For many members, their Masterclass experience is the moment they realise that their passions and interests have the potential to develop into fulfilling and rewarding careers. 

Feature image

Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Courtesy of National Saturday Club.