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Education, research and development

At ACA, we have a lengthy history of facilitating and leading research projects and educational residencies. We work both on-site in Allenheads and remotely, collaborating with international arts organisations.

We have experience with pupils and students of all ages and abilities – from local primary schools and a regional Pupil Referral Unit to university students studying for their BA, MFA and PhD. We have also run programmes for recent graduates and early career artists as well as those seeking to continue their professional development.

Our knowledge of the local area and experience in running a rural arts organisation means that ACA has a unique take on the intersection of art, nature and science. We provide a relaxed yet stimulating environment for education and actively encourage participants to interact with the natural environment of the North Pennines and its fascinating history. Whether it be through our on-site observatory, out on the fell, or in the labyrinth of disused lead mining tunnels under our feet, our approach removes students from their busy lives and allows them to reconnect with their surroundings.

Our level of involvement is tailored to the needs of the specific group and we work with organisations on an individual basis to develop a programme that suits them. We can design a bespoke course for you or simply help facilitate your own programme.

We will work with you to make your experience here as engaging and memorable as possible, whether you visit for a day or a week.

We welcome inquiries to discuss your ideas for an educational visit. Please contact us here.

We can provide: 


Our educational experience includes:

Residencies for Universities and Art Schools;

  • Dartington Arts and Place

  • Central St. Martins, London - MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies

  • Newcastle University - Fine Art

  • Newcastle University - Creative Digital Practice, Culture Lab

  • Loughborough - Human Geography

  • Cumbria, first year drawing residencies

  • Massey University's College of Creative Arts, New Zealand


In 2020 we will continue to work with Newcastle University MA and BA students, 

+ new projects with Manchester University and Dartington Arts School.

Internships and work placements;


We have a long track record of offering work placements to students studying at 

Durham and Newcastle University and Erasmus trainee-ships through Utrecht University.​

​Creating projects in collaboration with Nida Art Colony, Lithuania;


Residencies for Artist Led Groups:

Beyond Fieldwork, a two day workshop led by Laura Harrington in conjunction with the BXNU Institute Experimental Studio at BALTIC 39. An investigation into the notion of ‘fieldwork’ in non-urban areas. With Charles Danby & Rob Smith, Jo Joelson (London Fieldworks), Simone Kenyon and Alison Lloyd. ‘Thank you so much for making ACA the perfect base for us to hold our conference. You enabled the day to work in a context that felt right, meaningful and respectful. I know people really enjoyed being there and hearing your insights and journey to and within ACA.’

Laura Harrington. (2019)

Road-mapping Future Strategies: Innovation for Artists, Makers and  Creatives.  

A Two-day residential CPD course for artists, led by Rebecca Prescott of Creative Fuse,

exploring innovation tools to help creative practice. (2018)

Power in the Land, artist Bridget Kennedy ran a residential weekend for 10 artists to

develop ideas that engage with issues of nuclear energy and the land. (2017)


​​Community and school groups;

  • Pinhole photography workshop, Aline Bouma

  • Chocolate Box Allenheads, Linda Rodenheber

  • ‘Beyond’ children’s workshops by Bridget Kennedy, Linda Garrard, Carole McCourt

  • Wet plate photography by Kyna Ray

  • Writing the Future, adult and children’s writers workshop led by Tracey Warr and Rob La Frenais

  • Writing for Performance, by Mike Garry

  • Exoplanet to Beyond, robot drawing with Zoe Benbow

  • Cosmic orbits and gravity fields, Queen Elizabeth High School with Tod Hanson

  • Exploring The Tempest, Allendale middle School

  • Video and animation projects with Pupil Referral Unit, Cumbria.

  • Bespoke Astro sessions for family and community groups

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