The Advanced Training Scheme started in 1985. The Scheme exists to provide a structure of tuition, support and guidance for those calligraphers who want to develop their work in a more personal direction. It’s not a teaching course. It’s a programme which encourages students to find their own way ahead, and the tutors are very skilled in helping you do just that.
The framework gives students time and the necessary help and diversity of guidance to develop their own ideas, skills, imaginations and ways of working, with the great advantage of working with a group of people at a similar level of skill and with similar objectives.
The Scheme has come a long way since its beginnings. Back in 1985 students had just two days a year for review and discussion of their work. Now the scheme comprises two residential weekends of study each year for three years with two different teaching Fellows working as a team for each year. Each year new entrants form a group which stays together through the three years’ membership of the Scheme.
The weekends are held in the Spring and Autumn.
Applicants are invited to attend a selection day in London in early January and to bring a selection of work in progress and completed pieces. Writing is not taught on the scheme (although there is some practical work in year two) so when you join the Scheme you will already have reasonably good writing skills. The important requirements are potential, commitment and enthusiasm. The more work you can do over the three years the more you will get out of the experience, and almost as a by-product, the better your writing will get.
The tutors are Year 1, Jilly Hazeldine and Cherrell Avery, Year 2, Ian Garrett and Angela Dalleywater, Year 3, Juliet Bankes and Tim Noad.
If you would like to know more, the administrator of the scheme is Helen Hayman, email@example.com She will be able to answer most of your questions. The course currently runs in Spring and Autumn at High Leigh Conference Centre, Hoddesdon, Herts. and Keele University, Staffs. It is open to all members of the Society.
If you would like to join the Scheme, please contact Helen Hayman firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications should be submitted by the beginning of December.
A recent student’s view
Being on the SSI’s Advanced Training Scheme has given me a great number of things.
The first is that it has helped me to discover my own unique calligraphic voice. Secondly it has provided me with a set of inspirational tutors and last, but by no means least, it has given me a group of wonderful calligraphic friends that I will always treasure! If you are considering applying for the ATS I would highly recommend it. You will be challenged, encouraged and inspired in equal measure.
Prior to the ATS, I’d felt jaded and knew that I needed inspiration to travel back into the wider calligraphic world. I needed to update my skills and wanted a course that would inspire me. I discovered the ATS on the SSI web site and knew straight away that it was exactly what I needed. The list of tutors was impressive and the fact that you had two different tutors each year sounded exciting. I decided to apply and began as a member of Group 26 in April 2012.
My main reason for joining the ATS was to find my own calligraphic voice. The ATS helped me to do this but has been so much more. I have been fortunate enough to be with a wonderful and talented group of calligraphers with a variety of skills and we gelled as a group right from the first day at the interview. We will continue to meet annually and I know I can rely on their support.