Since 1994 Beaconsfield has been a laboratory dedicated to the exploration and evolution of experimental art. An uncompromising space where open-minded artists and audiences come to challenge themselves and their understanding of what art can be. A supportive space for taking risks and exploring new ideas. A liberating space where people come together and ask themselves “What if?”.
Over the years the results of our experiments have surprised, shocked, delighted, inspired, disgusted, amused, terrified and mystified those who have encountered them.
We are based in the remaining wing of the historic Lambeth Ragged Schools that we offer as a resource for artists and audiences to experience high quality (‘beacon’), challenging, new art works in a wide range (‘field’) of contemporary visual art media, through commissions, group exhibitions, performances, publications and cultural events that contribute to the public understanding of key debates and developments in contemporary art and culture.
Our custodianship of the heritage building continues in the tradition of its original purpose as an educational community resource. We provide reflective spaces in which people of all ages and abilities can adjust their perspective through the surprising ways in which we deliver art and culture.
Beaconsfield acknowledges the legacies of British colonialism and its contemporary expressions in systemic racism. We contribute towards dissolving borders between race, class, gender and disability by nurturing relationships with a diverse range of artists, audiences, participants and co-workers.
We put into practice our belief that sustainable energy and global parity are principles of utmost importance by working with recycled products where possible, running a café using Fairtrade products and recycling our waste. The venue has been running on alternative energy since 2000 – probably the first arts organisation in London (perhaps the UK) to be powered by 100% green electricity.
Beaconsfield is not only a gallery but a making space, and commissioning new art works is our core activity. The facility to offer large, physical spaces for material experimentation has been one means by which we produce ground-breaking contemporary art: It was like being allowed to fly! Judith Dean, artist.
Current development priorities aim to fulfil our potential as a National Centre for the Research and Development of Contemporary Art: There are only a handful of art organisations where the considerations of the artist are as fully understood and supported as at Beaconsfield. It has consistently pushed the boundaries of art practice and assisted in the real development of artists’ work. Beaconsfield enables experimentation in the creation of work and is a rare, fully supportive exhibiting environment for artists. Matt Hale, artist.