The following are organised by OHOS artists, often in partnership with other organisations.
- exhibitions at Brock Keep and elsewhere. These include work from regional, national and international artists, and provide opportunities to meet the artists and learn more about the work on show. Exhibition themes range from contemporary conceptual and performance to more traditional work.
- courses and one-day practical workshops such as drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography. There is currently a short break in these due to building work, but new courses will shortly be offered for January 2015.
- guided tours of working studios are provided in May when OHOS participates in West Berkshire and North Hampshire Open Studios, in September during Heritage Open Days and at other times by arrangement. This enables visitors to meet the artists, see works in progress, and learn more about the processes of making art.
- talks and discussions about both contemporary art practice and art history.
- work with teachers, students and pupils from local schools. School and INSET visits and workshops can be arranged by appointment.
- work experience for volunteers to learn skills needed for running an arts centre, eg exhibition preparation, publicity, admin and health and safety. This is especially useful for mid-degree students to provide work experience and to provide coursework components.
- Individual tuition to young people and adults
Pre-school: some new pre-school sessions are planned for January 2015, pending completion of new ground floor facilities.
Primary: Brock Keep is conveniently situated on bus routes and is within walking distance of several West Reading primary schools. OHOS artists have worked with Springfield Primary School, Wilson Primary School, Oxford Road Community School, Battle Primary School and St Martins Primary School
Secondary: OHOS has a good link with Padworth College, and its students often visit exhibitions. Links with other secondary schools in Reading would be welcomed.
College and University: We are grateful for volunteer help from students from the University of Reading, Bath Spa University and the University of the Creative Arts, Farnham. Students from the University of Reading have presented exhibitions at the Keep, and students from Royal Holloway, University of London have used it as a film shoot location.
Special needs and disabilities: The Keep is 137 years old and its nature presents some problems, but OHOS is committed to helping visitors with particular requirements, especially by prior arrangement. The ground floor of the Keep, where exhibitions are held, is accessible to wheelchairs and mobility scooters, and a new disabled WC is being installed shortly. Unfortunately there is no lift to the studios and existing toilets on the upper floors, and no hearing loop. Some exhibitions have multi sensory possibilities, such as smell, sound and touch.
Adult: classes, talks and workshops are open to all, and are advertised under the Artspeak programme through flyers and posters in libraries, email, websites and local networks and meetings.
Community events: Oxford Road Fun Day, Heritage Open Days, and the Big Draw provide family friendly art activities that are fun and educational.
arjeea21: this independent art group is one of OHOS's partners. It meets on the first Thursday of every month at 7.30pm. It is open to all, supports the development of artists, particularly in contemporary art practice, and organises one or two exhibitions each year. Any one can bring along their artwork for advice and for informal and constructive criticism. www.arjeea21.com
Volunteers and work experience: OHOS greatly appreciates help given by friends and neighbours fom the local community. This contributes useful knowledge about the Keep, its history, and the activities that have happened there. We all learn from each other. In 2014 OHOS was fortunate to have Lisa Barnard as summer Archive and Exhibitions Intern, funded by the University of Reading. Lisa is kindly going to continue to volunteer for OHOS, working with the archives.
Heritage: OHOS provides public access to Brock Keep - a grade II historic building dating from 1877. Since 2011 it has added a heritage learning strand to its activity programme. This includes information about the Keep's architecture and materials used by its rather experimental Victorian designers, and also about the three main periods of its occupation: military gatehouse and armoury (1877 - 1979), homeless shelter (early 1980s) and artist's studios and exhibition space (1980 - present). Visitors often bring in information and stories to add to our knowledge about the Keep's heritage. OHOS is grateful to the Rifles Museum in the Wardrobe, Salisbury and to the REME Museum of Technology at Arborfield for partnership projects that have brought really interesting artefacts to five OHOS exhibitions that have captured public interest.
Research: OHOS much appreciates help provided local historians Mike Cooper, Sid Beauchant, David Peacock, and John Chapman with researching the history of the Keep and its military heritage. Lisa Barnard's help is also much valued in researching the many artists who have made use of the Keep over the last 30 years. OHOS would welcome a volunteer who would like to research the period of the homeless shelter.
Jon Lockhart is pursuing a research strand in the use of digital technology in art, and is currently a PhD candidate at Reading University.
Ingrid Jensen is following a research interest in the use within art of scientific boundary models to explore the human susceptibility to dogma. This is linked to a working relationship with WAM (Weather Art and Music, directed by Pierrette Thomet) and the Royal Meterological Society.