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Reading Assembly at Tate Exchange

Every year, students and staff from the School of Arts & Communication Design (SACD) take over Tate Exchange at Tate Modern to deliver a week of free workshops and activities for the public. 

In recent years, as part of the Tate Exchange programme, SACD staged Reading Assembly on the fifth floor of the Blavatnik Building, in conjunction with a range of local and international partners.

“The Department of Art is proud of its forward-thinking initiatives in relation to diversity and inclusion.

"This is epitomised every year by the welcoming and safe space Reading Assembly: Tate Exchange offers to thousands of visitors.”

Dr Anna Kontopoulou, School of Art



Tate Exchange at Tate Modern

Tate Exchange is an ambitious "open experiment" which allows other organisations and members of the public to participate in Tate's creative process. 

Through on-site playful interactive performances to hands on workshops and public discussions on urgent issues of our time, our students are given the chance to showcase collaborative and research-based work to a wide range of visitors.


Working Together

Each year, the themes are approached as on-going collaborative research projects, by our students working transversally across a variety of: 

  • educational spaces (Widening participation/ partner schools, ArtLab and fellow Departments like Architecture) 

  • independent community groups (Different by Design, Bubble Club, Purple Stars etc) 

  • other institutional partners like Reading International, CVAN Network etc. 
It has been a great opportunity to work with Tate on an initiative in which we share so many interests and values, and it has been wonderful working with students and staff from across the School to deliver Reading Assembly. The Tate Exchange floor has been full of varied activities; a particular highlight for me has been watching our partner schools from Reading taking part in ArtLab's collaborative workshops.

Professor John Gibbs, Head of School of Arts & Communication Design


In 2020, the School of Art organised a three day participatory programme of events exploring the meaning of power through a series of crafts based workshops, performances and collaborative games. 

‘Power of conversation’ for example offered a safe zone for intimate conversations around issues of power, while the ‘Wall of Power’ gave a chance to the public to express their opinion on the power of media on our daily lives. 

Students from all across the years joined The Bubble Club and Purple Stars to organise inclusive and immersive club nights co-created by people with learning disabilities.

I found that facilitating and helping to run different workshops gave me an insight into the idea of inclusivity that the Tate Exchange aims to create, with many children and families appreciating the open and welcoming space.

Izzy Davies, BA Art and English Literature

Valuable experience with Reading Assembly

Many of our students are central to delivering the activities which take place. This highlights the University's strength in the creative arts, and provides our students with hands-on experience in collaborating with partners and engaging with the public.

Students learn about the importance of contemporary social practice, as well as the fundamentals of group work, collaboration and knowledge exchange, by producing a very ambitious and diverse programme of engaging activities, addressing wider issues in the world around us.

The programme also offers great work placement opportunities for many of our students.

children interacting with Reading Assembly arts students at the Tate Exchange
Teaching our cohorts at the Tate energises the students as they see what they are doing in a wider and international context. It gives them the opportunity to absorb what is in the Tate over an extended time and the relevance of contemporary art to their work. In working with ArtLab they get 'real-world' experience and see how making art at the Tate is exciting for the school children.

Professor Rachel Garfield, Head of Reading School of Art