The Guildford School of Art sit-in, which lasted from June 5 to July 29, 1968, was organized as a student protest at the poor quality of teaching and resources at the school. It was the longest ever sit-in at a UK educational establishment and led directly to students being on the boards of all higher educational institutions today. The artist was attending Guildford at the time of the sit-in, and captured these images from the vantage point of a privileged insider.
Untitled #968 (Autumn term after the sit-in ended, students were still fighting for change and the re-instatement of the sacked staff, causing police to be called, 7 November 1968)
From the series Guildford School of Art Sit-in, 1968
John Walmsley is a British documentary photographer based in England. His work is held in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, among others.
In developing his practice, he has always been interested in education and in the everyday. His final year project as a student at Guildford School of Art was published by Penguin Books (1969) as 'Neill & Summerhill: a Man and his Work' with text by Leila Berg, on the well-known 'free school' in the UK.
He built and ran a public darkroom at Digswell Arts Centre and was a part-time lecturer at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London for seven years during the 1970s. He also produced various Arts Bodies funded exhibitions in the UK and Europe, and many projects in schools.
He is currently editing several stories from the 60s and 70s, including a new version of 'Neill & Summerhill: a Man and his Work,' 'But What Do You Do During the Day?' about life as an actor at the Salisbury Repertory Company in the early 70s, with an introduction by Maggie Smith, and 'The Sit-in at Guildford School of Art, 1968.'
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