Snowflakes (Oasis John Williams Academy)

Anna Barriball, Snowflakes, 2013. Photo Max McClure.


Snowflakes is a new permanent public artwork for Oasis Academy John Williams by Anna Barriball which was commissioned as part of Bristol City Council's Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. The artwork uses 720 paper snowflakes made by students and staff and painted on the ground in the front and back of the Academy.


As part of the development of the new school, Bristol City Council commissioned Situations to lead on the selection of an artist and the development of a work for the building / landscape.

Anna Barriball was appointed in 2010 and developed the work over that last 2 years, working closely with the school development team, comprising the school head, staff, pupils, and other stakeholders. The final work, 'Snowflakes', is a transient work across the schools public realm featuring an entire school year group, with 720 unique hand made paper snowflakes, transferred using spraypaint to the physical space of the school yard and public realm.

As well as the painted snowflakes, the project produced two books with images of all the flake templates with the names of the person who made them. One book is held at the Academy, the other is in the collection of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. A limited edition poster map was also made for everyone who took part in the project, showing all the locations of each contributors’ flake.

To read more about this commission visit Situations, UWE the producers of the commission at

Anna Barriball

Anna Barriball’s work often involves minimal interventions through drawing and sculpture. Much of her practice explores and depicts the accretion of time – from the length of time it takes for a candle to burn down to the repetitious activity of taking graphite rubbings from objects that bare the traces of their use or function. In her hands a map of the world is transformed into a strange expanse of shimmering substance, or the bounce of a rubber ball on a piece of paper creates the effect of a cosmic explosion. Her interventions produce objects that combine a minimalistic rigour and the seemingly endless endeavour to make sense of the world of objects by empirical study. Anna Barriball's is represented by Frith Street Gallery, UK.

Oasis Academy John Williams

Oasis Academy John Williams is part of a family of Oasis Academies across England. Oasis Community Learning was set up in 2004 with the express purpose of developing the Oasis Academies. Its roots are strongly based in Oasis UK.

The vision of Oasis Academies is to create both outstanding schools and community hubs. The aim is to provide access for both the students and the community to facilities such as adult learning programmes, fitness suites, sports courts and out-of-hours youth activities.

The work of Oasis Community Learning is motivated and inspired by the life, message and example of Christ, which shapes and guides every aspect of each of our Academies. This is foundational to our belief that all people are created and loved by God as equal and unique beings, and to our commitment to model inclusion and compassion throughout all aspects of the life and culture of the Academy community.


Situations is an art commissioning and research programme which operates from a University base, but produces artworks, events and publications outside the academic context. The programme was initiated in October 2003 by Claire Doherty, who is Senior Research Fellow in Fine Art at the University of the West of England, Bristol. From the start, the programme’s guiding principles were to combine the ambition of a commissioning agency model with the critical rigiour of an academic research centre. We believe that artists have the capacity to bring something we might never have imagined to a particular place and we are committed to realising those dreams. Curating is far more than project management to us. It is a creative, critical and often passionate undertaking where we seek to understand the best possible means through which to support an artist to make an outstanding work of art in response to a specific situation.


Situations on Film: Snowflakes by Anna Barriball:

Journey through 720 hand crafted snowflakes

Viewing Snowflakes

This artwork is within the grounds of Oasis Academy John Williams and public viewing of the work is restricted. If you would like to see the artwork please contact Situations to arrange a date and time.


  • Commissioner

    Bristol City Council

  • Produced by

    Situations at the University of the West of England

  • Partners

    Building Schools for the Future (BCC, Skanska, LEP)

  • Supported by

    Bristol City Council