Friends Week 2015: The highlights

Published 16 June 2015

The inaugural Friends Week at the Royal Academy featured a packed programme of talks and events. If you missed it – don’t despair. Here are some of the highlights.

  • For the first time, Friends of the RA had a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the Academy and the lives of the artists who work here. For a whole week in June, visitors enjoyed a packed programme of exciting tours, talks and events: a life drawing class with RA Schools tutor Mark Hampson, a tour of the John Madejski Fine Rooms with Norman Ackroyd RA and workshops in printing and paper cutting. There was also the chance to chat to Academicians over coffee.

    If you missed Friends Week, we’ve rounded up the highlights of the week in five short podcasts.

  • Stories from an art handler

    Dan Cowap has over 30 years experience in art handling. In this extract from his popular talk – ‘Stories from an art handler’ – he tells of couriering and collecting valuable artworks from around the world, the most memorable exhibitions he has installed at the RA, and the year he finally had a drawing accepted into the Summer Exhibition.

  • Art handler Dan Cowap in the John Madejski Fine Rooms

    Art handler Dan Cowap in the John Madejski Fine Rooms

    Photo: Amy Macpherson © The Royal Academy of Arts

  • Coffee with the Red Collars

    Visitors to the RA may notice the smart uniforms of our security guards. Now known affectionately as the Red Collars – they have worn these since the 1790s – they are experts in all things RA. Here, Chief Red Collar Mick O‘Halloran reveals what it’s like to work at the RA behind-the-scenes, and how sometimes, on a night shift, the gallery can become very spooky.

  • Chief Red Collar Mick O'Halloran (right)

    Chief Red Collar Mick O'Halloran (right)

    Photo: Harriet Baker © The Royal Academy of Arts

  • Jock McFadyen RA, in conversation

    In this informal discussion, Jock McFayden RA tells of his experience of being a member of this year’s Summer Exhibition Hanging Committee, what it was like working with his fellow Academicians as they put the exhibition together, and who was fighting over Jean Samtula’s portrait of Simon Cowell.

  • Jock McFadyen RA in an informal discussion with Friends of the RA

    Jock McFadyen RA in an informal discussion with Friends of the RA

    Photo: Grace Fletcher

  • Rebecca Salter RA on the art of Japanese woodblock printing

    Newly elected Academician Rebecca Salter remembers her time studying ceramics at Kyoto University. While she was there, she met Kurosaki Akira, Professor of Printmaking, who taught her the techniques of traditional Japanese woodblock printing. In this extract, she talks about the history of the Japanese woodblock print, and how she is fighting for its survival today.

  • Portrait of Rebecca Salter RA in her studio

    Portrait of Rebecca Salter RA in her studio

  • Tea with Humphrey Ocean RA

    In this informal discussion, Humphrey Ocean RA discusses with warmth and humour his painting process, from seeing some blossom against a 1930s residential building to trying to capture it in paint.

  • A talk by Humphrey Ocean RA as part of Friends Week 2015

    A talk by Humphrey Ocean RA as part of Friends Week 2015

    Photo: Benedict Johnson

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