Over 26 years Beaconsfield has grown as an artist-led centre of excellence, led by charitable objectives to advance public education in and through contemporary art. To fulfil these objectives through its own unique vision, Beaconsfield offers the remaining wing of the historic Lambeth Ragged Schools 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.
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.
Supported by Arts Council England and the government Department of Culture, Media and Sport for its role as an experimental art laboratory, the charity has developed its cultural centre, supported by self-generated income, private donations, Trusts and Foundations.
Beaconsfield has a unique place in London’s cultural landscape. It is distinguished by its history of providing a forum for extraordinary events and exhibitions, stimulating passionate, candid and robust debate about art’s production and its ideological underpinnings, as well as providing a much-needed locus for the thriving artistic community in which it sits. Sheena Wagstaff, Chairwoman of Collections at Metropolitan Museum’s New Modern and Contemporary Art Department, New York.
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.