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City of Oxford College inspires young people to design and make furniture on a free Saturday club

Aspiring young designers and furniture makers will get the chance to learn how to craft furniture within the renowned Rycotewood Furniture Centre at City of Oxford College – all for free!

18 December 2019

Aspiring young designers and furniture makers will get the chance to learn how to craft furniture within the renowned Rycotewood Furniture Centre at City of Oxford College – all for free!  

The new, free course which is being launched in partnership with the National Saturday Club gives young people aged 13-16 years old, the unique opportunity to study the process of designing and making furniture on a Saturday morning for 12 weeks, starting on 11 January 2020. 

The unique course is open to all abilities and is also designed to help build skills and confidence, as well as providing young people who are interested in furniture design more information about how they can study it further and have a career in this industry. 

Harriet Speed, teacher of course

Returning student set to take on teaching role 

Rycotewood alumnus Harriet Speed, founder of This Girl Makes, will be teaching the course and she said she aims to provide young people with a safe space to build their self-esteem and confidence by exploring their identity and talents. 

Since graduating from Rycotewood Furniture Centre with a first class honours degree in Furniture Design and Make in August 2018, Harriet has gone on to work as a Design Engineer for Ercol Furniture, in addition to managing projects and workshops as part of This Girl Makes. 

Harriet’s design talents have previously been recognised when she won the Best in Show at the 2018 Young Furniture Makers Exhibition and awarded the Creative & Design Prize at Oxford Brookes University’s Fuel Awards 2019.   

She said: “I am really excited to be back in a teaching role as part of their first ever National Saturday Club!  

“It's a great opportunity for anyone who wants to learn about designing and making with wood. I encourage anyone who might be interested to come along and give it a go, what have you got to lose?" 

Rycotewood Furniture on display

Inspiring the next generation  

Chris Hyde, Director of Curriculum for Creative Industries at Activate Learning, said: “We are delighted that Harriet, our Rycotewood Craftsperson in Residence, will lead this exciting new Saturday club. Our thanks also go to 'The Furniture Makers City Livery Company' for sponsoring this course.  

“It is so important that we teach our younger generation how to make, think and collaborate by doing crafts.  

“We look forward to seeing what they have learnt at our end of year shows in Oxford and London.” 

The National Saturday Club is a UK-wide network run by the Saturday Club Trust, supported by Arts Council England and the Department for Education. In 2018-19, there were 78 Saturday Clubs across the UK and 1600 young people took part.  

Find out more about the Furniture Saturday Club available at Activate Learning or contact us on 0800 612 6008.