Open School East


Assemble worked with Associates at Open School East, a free art school in Margate, to explore how the theme of care shapes their own studios within a Grade II listed townhouse on Hawley Square, but also the pedagogy of the school itself. 

Titled ‘Who Cares?’, the curriculum looked at the eclectic, domestic spaces that traditionally provide an intimate setting for individual art practice within the building, but also create a challenging environment for the production of art alongside and in collaboration with others. 

In reorienting the concept of maintenance through simple acts of care for the building, we asked Associates to investigate how we could we begin to participate in an ongoing, caring relationship with other artists who share the space today along with those that will follow tomorrow.

Testing changes to the material fabric of the building through group based interventions, the Associates developed a culture of repair aimed at inscribing the social and political culture at the centre of a school built on relationships rather than objects.

The library was appropriated as a welcoming space to actively question the significance of the books held within, while the garden was transformed by the simple application of paints made from local chalk and seaweed scavenged on the beach. 

This resourceful, incremental approach supported Associates to assert their rights as individuals to the studio, the room, the building and the garden, with a number of invited guests guiding the interventions, including Amy Perkins, Local Works and Stinsensqueeze who helped to question a wider set of responsibilities as collective stewards of the city and by extension, the planet.