growing up in the new age

Following on from an Arts Council England award in 2010, Marjolaine received a new Arts Council Grant in 2012 for an artists' book.

The Artists' Monograph 'Growing up in the New Age' is published by Daylight Imprint and distributed by DAP, 2013.


Marjolaine Ryley ' Growing up in the New Age
Hardback, 8.25 x 10.25 in, 152 pages, 111 colour photographs
ISBN 978098323231684
Essays by Malcolm Dickson, Brigitte Ryley, Peter Ryley, Val Williams. Additional photographs by Dave Walking.

'Daylight' is a non-profit organization dedicated to publishing art and photography via our book, magazine, and multimedia programs. By exploring the documentary mode along with the more conceptual concerns of fine-art, Daylights uniquely collectible publications work to revitalize the relationship between art, photography, and the world-at-large.

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Growing up in the New Age
was shown as part of Glasgow International at Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, 2012, and at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery, 2012.. The exhibition also included a range of images and materials from the project archive, featuring the work of Dave Walkling.

» Glasgow International
» Street Level Photoworks
» Wolverhampton Art Gallery

- Installation images, exhibition guide and the publication from the exhibition can be found at the below research website.


Research website:

“In a tumble down house in Kirkdale, people work laugh play, weep and wail, it’s so full of fools you might call it a school, but by no stretch could you call it a jail”

Poem by Clive Davidson a former Parent

Growing up in the New Age is a project exploring the ideology and belief systems that led to the founding of Kirkdale School by a group of alternative thinking parents in the 1960’s. The school is a place that I myself attended from 1976 – 1987 and is one of several free schools in the UK the most famous of which is Summerhill (founded by AS. Neill). Kirkdale was unique in that rather than existing in a rural community, it was based in inner London. My practice often uses autobiography as a tool for investigating my subjects, and this is the starting point for this project. As a child my experience of education was shared with only a small number of children and I believe we experienced a unique ‘social and ideological’ experiment in education. As a society we face increasing difficulties in our state education system and it seems an apt time to look at Kirkdale and the philosophy that made it such an interesting experiment.

I am currently working with photography, film, archival materials, text and objects as well as creating an on-line project to exploring this intriguing subject and its relevance in today’s society. My current research has taken me on a journey through the fascinating subject of alternative education and philosophies of the 1960’s, 1970’s and early 1980's including pacifism, anarchism, counter-culture, left wing politics, women’s rights and ‘new age’ philosophy!

I am also working on the project with both my parents who were actively involved with the school. Looking back at the events in their lives that developed their philosophies and beliefs is intriguing, I am exploring how they met in a commune in the south of France and the early formulation of their own ideologies against the backdrop of political and cultural happenings of the late 1960's and early 1970's.

Images copyright Tamsan Barratt and Dave Walkling