Special Works School


During the First World War, a corner of Kensington Gardens was fenced off from public access and turned into a replica of Flanders, filled with trenches, shell holes, fake trees and decoy tanks. It became the home of the Special Works School, established by the Royal Engineers as a place to teach, display and experiment with new techniques of camouflage. Following the end of the First World War, the Camouflage Park was dismantled – but did it ever really go away?

Heather Ring and I refounded the Special Works School in 2011, as a collective of artists, writers and designers who wanted to engage critically with this secret history. In August 2011 we edited and published a Preliminary Report, which gathered together field observations, speculative proposals, historical images and capsule essays by the collective.

With contributions from: Tom Chivers, Sally Davies, Simon Elvins, Lily Ford, Synnove Fredericks, Alex Haw, The Henningham Family Press, Manu Luksch, Mike Massaro and James Trefor-Jones, Vahakn Matossian, Sophie Nield, Christian Nold, Mark Pilkington, Heather Ring, James Wilkes, Hannah Wood, Patrick Wright, Liam Young.

UPDATE: my contribution, ‘Runners and Risers’, was republished in 3:AM Magazine (without the original photos by Sally Davies)