Ben Cain and Janette Parris

Studio Art 04: Open Field

Open Field event, Central House (2017)

Studio brief

The Open Field studio provides insight into how artists actually ‘practice’, how they work. One of the key reasons for establishing this studio is for students to be able to share in and observe resident artists’ working processes - the practical and the theoretical development of an artwork and that artwork’s contextual hinterland.

Open Field events are included in the BA Fine Art and MFA Fine Art’s timetable. A small group of students from a range of the Art studios will be assigned to Open Field for each residency period. The assigned students will work as artist’s assistants, will take part in the Open Field parallel program alongside their regular studio work, and will be responsible for helping to organize Open Field events.

Open Field sets out experimental learning scenarios which privilege collective practical investigation, work-related learning and methods of working which are sensitive to context. That’s a responsive and dexterous form of education for The Cass art students. At the same time it offers the chance to learn about professional practice in creative industries through first-hand experience. For the artists ‘in-residence’, Open Field offers time and space for re-evaluating an art practice and for considering ways in which contact with our Fine Art course might influence their work as artists and teachers, as well as access to highly skilled technicians and sophisticated production processes.

Open Field at The Cass is unique within Fine Art courses in the United Kingdom and represents a serious interest in investigating the future of learning within this field. What’s particularly progressive about Open Field is its commitment to supplementing the student experience through direct contact with practicing artists, and the unique opportunity to observe and take part in the development of their practice in the studio.

The parallel program will include workshops and seminars that are specifically tailored to the concerns of the artist in residence.

During each residency period Open Field will host the following events:

An introductory artists’ talk by Open Field residents.

Two participatory events for BA/MFA students.

Parallel program events run by The Cass staff.

A residency closing event during which residents present the work developed during the residency period.



Course Fine Art BA (Hons)
Painting BA (Hons)
Tutor Ben Cain
Janette Parris
Where Calcutta Small Annex, CS3-05
When Monday and Thursday

Fine Art

Studio Photo 01: The Subjective Eye

Ania Dabrowska and Mick Williamson

This photography studio concentrates on developing your professional practice within a fine art context, preparing you for your career within photography and the visual arts. Understanding the meaning of photographs beyond its immediate subject matter will help you to access the full power of the medium, where subject, author and audience come together.

Studio Photo 02: Beyond the Surface

Paola Leonardi and Heather McDonough

Beyond the Surface is a photography studio that shows you how to mix art with work and use your own contemporary imagery towards a career in photography. Get your aesthetic identity right - join this studio!

Studio Art 03: The Hole in the Screen

Patrick Ward and Jonathan Whitehall

The Hole and the Screen is a lively contemporary art studio focused on how negative space works in moving image in art theory and in art practice. Video, film, sound and photography all play their part. All-comers welcome!

Studio Art 04: Open Field

Ben Cain and Janette Parris

Open Field is a very special art studio dedicated to providing art students with hands-on work-related learning alongside artists as they undertake art residencies at the Cass. All Year 2 art students will pass through this studio for one of the residencies.

Studio Art 05: I Love Painting Things

Bob and Roberta Smith, Andrea Medjesi-Jones

This art studio is aimed at art students who want to paint! That’s any aspect of paint, not just formal work on canvas, but also painting sculptures, ceramics and using paint in performance. This is the one for you!

Studio Art 06: Making the Stone Stony

Rosemarie McGoldrick and Peter Fillingham

We love art, talking about art and making it! If your work is about “the life of stuff”, how artists relate to ‘things’ differently from objects and non-objects, then Making the Stone Stony is the studio for you.

Cass studios archive by year