Learning is at the heart of the Stradling Collection

We welcome visits by groups and individuals to study the Collection. We provide workshops and curator-led tours. We partner with universities, colleges and secondary schools. We also have study rooms, which are available for hire. For Ken Stradling MBE, an appreciation of design should be an integral part of everyone’s education. “Learning to look” he said, “can be just as creative as making.”

Ken Stradling created the Trust because he wanted to share his collection of domestic ware for everyone to appreciate the value of good design. The Stradling Collection offers access to this nationally important collection of C20th and C21th domestic design artefacts so that participants can appreciate the many decisions a maker has made to produce an item, from the inspiration to the materials and production.

Our learning programme inspires designers and makers by extending their learning through exploration and examination of the objects in detail. It was Ken’s belief that to fully appreciate an object you have to touch it, to hold it, to feel the weight and texture.


• Opportunities for students to exhibit work developed though inspiration from the Collection
• Drawing, exploring the Collection with the rare opportunity to handle objects of museum quality
• Art design history workshops
• In-depth tours of the Collection, sharing stories about the objects and their makers.

Inspiring makers and designers

For artists, collectors and the curious we provide workshops, and work experience or hire the space to deliver classes, as well as exhibition space. There is a regular programme of workshops, courses, talks and events. These are provided by working in partnership with experts, teachers, tutors, collectors and makers.

For course leaders and students we can provide support for whatever the theme or topic. We will have objects in the collection that will enhance your project needs. You can hire the space and collection to deliver your class or buy in one of our specific engagement activities we have designed to help teachers and students get the most out of this fantastic resource.

“The Collection is a really valuable resource. It means we have a bank of stimulus that can be used by all our students, moving them away from the internet and secondary sources.”

Tom Machin, Bedminster Down School

Learning programme exhibitions

Browse our previous exhibitions of work produced as part of our learning programme.

My Family and Other Objects 2022

10 September - 8 October 2022 My Family and Other Objects is a project by our Learning Programme inspired by A Lifelong Passion for Design: Ken Stradling at 100, which tells the story of Ken Stradling's life and[...]

Picturing Lockdown 2021

The Pandemic Diaries and other projects A selection of the wonderful range of Pandemic Diaries produced by local students. In November 2020 at the start of the second lockdown our Education officer David Beech began to meet with students[...]


“As the sessions with David progressed and I got to work with the Collection I realised I was gaining valuable knowledge about how to truly observe artwork, and later, how to confidently present myself and my work to an audience. Because of your guidance I was able to devise a great workshop for my classmates, and although it was nerve racking, I was able to tackle it thanks to what I learned with you.”

Omar Ceesay, Foundation Diploma Art and Design and Media, SGS College

“The exhibition was a fantastic success. The students came back buzzing with excitement and were so proud of the opportunity to meet visitors and talk to them about the value of the Collection and how it has acted as a catalyst for their ideas.” Duncan Ayscough, Cardiff School of Art and Design

“Students learned from their objects and explored the history behind them, and also exercised their creativity when colour, design and surface texture were introduced, In the lessons they were encouraged to analyse them not just form photographs, but as real live object that they are responsible for, thus creating a sense of responsibility and appreciation by means of mutual trust.”  Laura P

“I really enjoyed being able to study items from the Collection ‘up close and personal’ and learning how to really look at them. While at the V&A recently I recognised some names, I felt really pleased that the names and pieces in the V&A had more meaning to me but also that I’d actually touched similar pieces. I wasn’t just looking at them through the glass from one viewpoint; it made my connection to the maker more real.”

Liz Dymond, Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media, Bristol School of Art

Photo: woman looking through the handle of a hand-thrown jug

Enquire about our learning programme

Photo: Some of the pandemic diary 'zines from our exhibition Picturing Lockdown: The Pandemic Diaries and Other Projects in 2021

Some of the pandemic diary ‘zines from Picturing Lockdown, our exhibition of work in 2021 responding to the pandemic, run and curated through our learning programme.

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