Thinking Space – mentoring for textile artists with Michael Brennand-Wood

Ref: SWE29557

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About this course

Thinking Space is designed to mentor and substantiate your own practice via individual and group discussion. The aim is that you will return to your own workspaces empowered and with a renewed sense of self belief.

Course Description

The tutor regards courses as stalking horses for ideas. In general there’s often a core theme that we collectively address for example subtraction, re-mixing, surrealism and textiles, bespoke grounds. However, what can be endlessly fascinating on any workshop are the personal areas of research that participants bring to the group. The opportunity to share for a few days the creativity and problem-solving strategies that others employ. Collectively, many have recognised the need for a focused mentoring workshop as a forum to discuss individual work within a wider critical and supportive framework – this worshop aims to offer this opportunity. An opportunity to explore in greater depth the individual and group concerns that artists all face when trying to develop and present new work.

The timetable will have a degree of reactive flexibility but will inevitably encompass the questions we as artists all ask ourselves as to how a core idea is developed. Issues pertaining to scale, media, translation, context, display and presentation. For example, should a work be framed, suspended, sculptural, wall hung, or an installation related to a specific locality, space, or museum collection? Is a work permanent, time-based, temporary or designed to auto-destruct? What strategies do we employ to promote, record, photograph, market and document our work? What are the differences between group, individual, solo and group exhibitions? Are international competitions important, desirable aids to find new audiences or an expensive undertaking? The importance of presentation in relation to commissions and exhibitions. The role of risk and projects that could be defined as continuous education, i.e. research-based with no certainty of any tangible outcome, is that an issue or not?

Thinking Space aims to address many of the above questions and more over a two-day intensive and hopefully enjoyable, exchange of ideas, with a Michael who draws from his own work as an artist and mentor.

Discussions will be based on the work of participants’ – see what to bring below for guidance.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Please bring either artworks, photographs or digital presentation that describes your working methods or illustrates your chosen area of visual research. This could be a sketchbook, photographs, objects, a piece of artwork or idea/inspiration image that illustrates your practice.
  • There is no pressure to bring or discuss only finished works. Ideas, samples and outline projects for projected areas of enquiry would be equally welcome. Mistakes, or work viewed as unfinished or difficult, could make for an interesting discussion. Bring whatever tells your story, in a form that you’re comfortable with sharing.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Michael Brennand- Wood portrait

Michael Brennand-Wood

Michael has an international reputation as one of the most innovative artists working in textiles today. He has lectured at Universities in London, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Poland and USA.His work is represented in collections worldwide, including the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Gallery of Australia.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.