Will Shannon's public workbench

New art installation unveiled in Loughborough’s student village

Each year LU Arts invites a different artist to spend a year developing a new work for the University’s art collection, which takes inspiration from the University’s Handicrafts history.

Last year the artist in residence was Will Shannon and his finished work, a public workbench, was recently installed in the student village on campus. What makes this such an exciting addition to the collection is that it’s a functional piece that can be used and enjoyed by students and staff as well as enhancing the campus environment.

Will was inspired by Loughborough’s former handicrafts unit, established in the 1930s. The unit was led by Peter Waals and Edward Barnsley, famous proponents of the Cotswold School. Students were trained in furniture making and many of the items made are still used at the University. Often, they would carve their initials into the finished pieces and Loughborough Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Allison’s father’s work was discovered amongst the collection.

Loughborough also has a reputation for self-sufficiency with students historically being involved in the design and construction of key features of the campus. Some of these remain today, with the cricket pavilion being one such example, but they also built an open-air swimming pool, a chicken coop and a radio station, with students working on everything from design to build.

Inspired by this rich history, Will Shannon collaborated with current students during Co-Lab week to design a public workbench.

Traditionally, a workbench is a place to develop skills and share knowledge and this one will be no different. It will act as an open workspace with no set use, but it has the facilities to be used for furniture making, bicycle repair, ad hoc exhibitions or as shelter from the rain. The workbench is equipped with a vice and a selection of simple tools and students and staff are encouraged to make use of this workspace as and when they need to – no need to book, just turn up. LU Arts is looking forward to making use of the workbench in their programme over the coming year. Anyone who would like to find out more or is interested in using the workbench for a particular project or event should contact LU Arts at luarts@lboro.ac.uk.

More information is available here.