"It was a rather idyllic set-up" – David Manley remembers Falmouth in 1973
19 April 2022
Artist, curator and educationalist David Manley received a Diploma in Art & Design from Falmouth School of Art in 1973 and went on to become Director of Cultural Development at University of Derby. Here, David writes about his relationship to Falmouth and his memories of life here.
That which goes around comes around...or so it's often said. In a 'portfolio' career, I spent some time in Art & Design higher education, first as Assistant Dean and then Dean of a Faculty at Derby University. In fact, although I didn't start until age 43, it turned out to be my longest employment stint of some 14 years.
For a period, I was fortunate to engage the services of Emma Hunt who became one of my Assistant Deans before she went onto Huddersfield as Dean of their Art & Design School. This is all a preamble to her desire in her first year as Vice-Chancellor of Falmouth University to celebrate 120 years of Art & Design education in the town. And hence my interest in assisting with the task.
Looking back over these posts, I'm realising how few images of the school I have. Sadly Allan Green, the guy who shot the majority of the B&Ws here, was much more of a people person as regards his images. Most of what I do have relates to the work I made. So, here's a few, not because the work is of any interest! But more to give a context of the place itself.
It was a rather idyllic set up. Kerris Vean, an old Victorian house at the top of the road spilled down towards the beach through gardens that extended beyond the plot of scrub behind the painting studios. It was on this 'backlot' site that my pal Jimmy Whitehead made one of his Spirograph pieces using up the substantial amount of pigments that lecturer Bob Organ had assembled in a small room to allow for the making of oil paint!
Oddly enough, the immaculate lawn above also suffered the indignity of another Spirograph effort where lawn fertisiler was deployed...it didn't entirely come off but the faint difference in tone was noticeable from the upper floors of Kerris Vean...not least from Principal Michael Finn's office!
It's amusing to think how such pranks (sorry serious artworks...) would be handled today inside a substantial institution like Falmouth University! Back then though, the entire art school I am fairly certain counted for perhaps 300 or 400. Certainly the painting department comprised only 60 or so students and seven staff.