In the news - Michael Carberry

28th May 2010 at 01:00

Who is this?

Michael Carberry is head of art at Bridgewater School in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. This half-term he will leave the school for Cove Park, an artists' retreat in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. He is the first school teacher to be accepted on the eight-week residency.

Are you running away from the kids?

"No, I have got a new job for September as head of art at Princes Risborough School, in Buckinghamshire," says Mr Carberry. "I am very much looking forward to the retreat, though. I have been working at Bridgewater for nearly five years and I wanted a break. This opportunity arose, I applied and luckily got it. I had to write a proposal, go up for an interview and deliver a presentation."

Sounds gruelling ... how did you do it?

"As an artist, I specialise in making jewellery. Cove Park liked this, but they also liked my passion to develop my work as sculptor. I was shortlisted to do a similar programme at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and once you're shortlisted there your name gets around. The idea is to go to Cove Park, get away from it all and stay there for the whole eight weeks with no distractions."

So you're completely disappearing?

"Well, my wife and children will be coming to visit me halfway through. Initially they weren't happy about it, but they've come round to the idea. The big advantage is that others who will be there doing the same thing will be full-time artists. We can inspire each other."

Were you a creative child?

"Funnily enough I was a jockey as a teenager, until I became too heavy. I had some friends who were sculptors, so when I was 21 I got into art with them. I started making jewellery, with my own staff and studio, and then went to work for the art department in Hereward House School, in Hampstead. I got my PGCE there, and then moved to Bridgewater."

What will the retreat achieve?

"I want to sit and think about things. It will give me a chance to have some breathing space and give me a new direction in work. There is the possibility of developing large-scale sculptures and exhibitions. Ultimately, I would like to bridge the gap from jewellery to sculpting."

What do your pupils make of it all?

"I think they're excited for me and can see it's a great opportunity to do something different. From my point of view, I always tell the pupils to do different things to inspire them. Hopefully I will be able to teach some projects that I have developed while being up there. And at the new school I will be introducing a jewellery club."

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