Room 13 – visual arts, creativity and stuff that matters.

I like duckrabbit. Because its all about storytelling, and art. But mainly because its about teaching those things too. Thats what’s really important. Good art can affect people, but learning how to create art can change people’s lives. Its powerful stuff.

Room 13 Hareclive School, Bristol


Room 13 anyone? Heard of it? Yes! Great.

Not heard of it?

Well Room 13 started in my home town of Fort William back in the 90’s. It grew out of the work of an artist mate of mine who worked with some children in a slightly run down and otherwise unremarkable primary school in the village of Caol – no names, because Room 13 has not ever been about the adults, and all about the developing artistic vision of the children who embrace the experience that Room 13 offers.

From that one classroom, Room 13, has grown into an international network of Room 13’s, all run by children, for children, and making a bigger impact in the development of the appreciation and practice of the visual arts amongst young people than many major publicly funded bodies I could name.

The list of Room 13’s around the world is worth looking at.

For me Room 13 embodies everything art should be about for people – inspiring, educational, engaging, life-affirming, and life-changing. There will be a great many adults wandering about whose lives have been enriched by the creative experiences they had as children in Room 13, such as the pupils of Hareclive School in Bristol.

So, anyone who has a Room 13 near them, please give them your support. (Anyone in Nepal? There’s more than a dozen Room 13’s in that country alone)

Art matters. And art for, and by, young people matters immensely.

Art matters!

(ps their blog is offline for some reason, and their website is not as up to date as it might be but dont let that put you off, behind that unassuming facade there’s a lot going on).

Author — John Macpherson

John MacPherson was born and lives in the Scottish Highlands. He trained as a welder in the Glasgow shipyards, before completing an apprenticeship as a carpenter, and then qualified as a Social Worker in Disability Services. Along the way he has cooked on canal barges, trained as an Alpine Ski Leader & worked as an Instructor for Skiers with disabilities, been a canoe instructor, and tutor of night classes in carpentry, stained glass design and manufacture, and archery. He has travelled extensively on various continents, undertaking solo trips by bicycle, or motorcycle. He has had narrow escapes from an ambush by terrorists, been hit by lightning, caught in an erupting volcano, trapped in a mobile home by a tornado, kidnapped by a dog's hairdresser, rammed by a basking shark and was once bitten by a wild otter. He has combined all this with professional photography, which he has practised for over 35 years. He teaches photography and acts as a photography guide & tutor in the UK and abroad. His biggest challenge is keeping his 27 year old Land Rover 110 on the road. He loves telling and hearing stories.

Discussion (5 Comments)

  1. Thanks John, What a great project..thanks for enlightening me.

  2. duckrabbit says:

    Terrific stuff. Thanks for sharing. Just goes to show for some, many, 13 is a lucky number.

  3. JKaranka says:

    Sounds great, I actually know a couple of photographers who regularly travel to Nepal, I’ll tell them about it.

  4. JimJ says:

    V.interesting, thanks for sharing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.