Beaconsfield was founded in 1994 by David Crawforth, Angus Neill and Naomi Siderfin with the aim of providing a streamlined resource for the development and presentation of contemporary art and a desire to “fill a niche between the institution, the commercial and the ‘alternative’”.
In 1995 the limited company was awarded charitable status, with trustees Dr Margaret Garlake, Professor Alastair McLennan and Colin Whittington and took the lease on the former Ragged School in Newport Street, Vauxhall, opening the refurbished building to the public in September with what was to become a signature live residency, Plein Air.
Beaconsfield’s artistic agenda was initially formed from the experience of its predecessor Nosepaint (an organisation co-directed by David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin that presented monthly art events between 1991 and 1994, in the context of a self-sufficient club) combined with the expertise of Angus Neill who is now the Director of Felder Fine Art.
Beaconsfield is co-curated by David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin who also constitute Beaconsfield Artworks. Beaconsfield Commissions solicits new work from visual artists at all stages of their careers, working in any discipline. Beaconsfield Research assists artists in developing their ideas, offering a public platform for work in progress with an emphasis on experiment. Society is an intimate members club which hosts a variety of critical and social arts activities and Mother of all Parties is an interdisciplinary, occasional event on a larger scale. Beaconsfield editions and imprints are published on a project specific basis.
Beaconsfield recognises its responsibilities as a promoter and facilitator of the arts, which are a potent channel of communication. The charity aims to reflect the diversity of London and the large number of communities that make up the Borough of Lambeth and to represent a variety of cultural positions. Beaconsfield believes that the arts should be a guardian of free speech, diversity of expression and democracy. It regards its work as contributing to this principle. The charity's artistic policy promotes dialogue locally, nationally and internationally and seeks to contribute to social and cultural integration.
Beaconsfield believes that sustainable energy and global parity is of utmost importance; recycles its waste, works on recycled paper, runs a café selling Fairtrade products and is probably the first and only arts organisation in London to be powered by 100% green electricity.