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The Ashington Group

The Ashington Group first came together as a Workers Educational Association class, that, having studied evolution, decided to try something different. In October 1934 Robert Lyon, a lecturer at Armstrong College in Newcastle upon Tyne, then part of Durham University, was invited to discuss the possibility of forming an art appreciation class in the district.

Lyon began by showing slides of Michelangelo's work but had no way of telling what would be the most suitable course to pursue. After a few sticky sessions he hit on the notion of setting examples, making the class members experiment for themselves in different techniques, starting with lino-cutting and progressing to knives and then brushes. Lyon set subjects weekly and members would work out what to paint at home and bring the results in to be criticised by the group. It was soon clear that the work was fit to be shown and discussed in public.

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