New kids on the art block

Bath just didn’t know what was about to hit it when – as the 60’s made way for the 70’s – a new youthful way of looking at community art burst onto the more high-brow cultured scene.

A new book, Bath Arts Workshop: Counterculture in the 1970s provides a fascinating, candid and often hilarious behind-the-scenes story of how a group of performers, artists and ecologists made their creative mark.

Fifty years on seven of them have got together to compile the story of how they lived and worked and prove that their achievements explored the power of community creativity, enterprise and environmental activism.

The book refutes the convenient idea that the 1070s counterculture was little more than a trip into hedonism, drugs and despair.

There are a lot of memories here for a lot of local people. I was lucky enough to catch up with Phil Sheperd who co-founded the Arts Workshop and is one of the contributors to the book.

Phil Shepherd in 1970.

If you listen through his memories of those heady days you will understand how apt it was we met at the Museum of Bath at Work which – incidentally has – and still is – hosting an exhibition on the Workshop’s history.

The book is also available to buy at the Museum of Bath at Work.

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