Radical ESSEX




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University of Essex, Colchester

Jess Twyman, curator at University of Essex’s Art Exchange led four tours of the unique and radical Colchester Campus, including a trip up one of the University’s iconic towers. The visit inclduded the architectural exhibition ‘Something Fierce’.

In 1964 something fierce emerged in rural Essex – a new University determined to break with tradition. The University of Essex’s founding Vice Chancellor Albert Sloman, appointed architect Kenneth Capon from Architect’s Co- Partnership, to design the University. ACP believed that architecture should serve a social purpose and change society. They also believed in Brutalism, a major change in direction in architecture. Unlike the first wave of modern architecture in the 1920s with its sleekly rational combination of steel and glass in a graph paper pattern, Brutalists used powerful sculptural forms and raw concrete to create powerful memorable images rather than beautiful ones.

University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ
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Radical Essex is a project re-examining the county in relation to radicalism in thought, lifestyle, politics and architecture. A programme of events will take place across Essex throughout 2016 and 2017, shedding light on the vibrant, pioneering thinking of the late 19th and 20th centuries. The project will celebrate the crucial role Essex has played in the history of British Modernism and its utopian ideologies under the themes ‘The Modernist County’ and ‘Arcadia for All’.

The Radical Essex site is designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio and Alex Rich, developed by Twelve.

Radical Essex is led by Focal Point Gallery in collaboration with Visit Essex and Firstsite. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England it forms part of the country wide Cultural Destinations programme, a partnership with VisitEngland, supporting arts organisations to work with the tourism sector to deliver projects that maximise the impact culture has on local economies.

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If you are a business or arts organisation interested to be involved in the project or learn more information, please contact us here

We gratefully acknowledge the support of our project partners: