The Art Schools of North West, England: Exhibition of photographs and texts

Matthew Cornford, John Beck

Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition


The art schools of the North West were a product of the region’s industrial power during the nineteenth century, institutions aimed at meeting the needs of industrialists, workers and civic leaders. Many art schools grew out of Mechanics’ Institutes and other mutual improvement organisations that provided education and training for workers. Support for industrial training was good business, but the rising middle class also had cultural ambitions and art schools, along with galleries and museums, were often conceived as agents of aesthetic cultivation.

This combustible mix of the practical and the creative, of working- and middle-class aspirations, made art schools often contradictory sites of cultural exploration and social change. The names, locations and functions of the art schools have shifted, turned and turned again with the seasons. John Beck and Matthew Cornford have anchored their survey with information dug out of the archives, but the record remains patchy and incomplete, scattered, buried or unwritten.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLiverpool
Size32 Framed photographs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2018


  • art, design and cultural history
  • photograph
  • Architecture


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