Primary/Bristol: Hannah More Primary School

Marcus Jefferies, Hannah More Primary School, Bristol, 2015. Photo © Max McClure, Courtesy of BCC and Arnolfini.


The redevelopment of Hannah More Primary School is part of Bristol City Council’s Primary/Bristol series of artist commissions for primary schools commissioned as part of the Primary Capital Education Programme. As part of the development Bristol based artist Marcus Jefferies was commissioned to develop a sculptural installation for the school front, incorporating seating, a teaching/play area and shelter.


Working closely with pupils, and school teaching staff Marcus’ artwork was developed to improve and enliven the schools underused front playground and entrance, and to create a space for contemplation, play and shelter. The schools front yard had degraded over time with a series of unusable timber seating structures, and uneven tarmac. The space however benefited from a series of mature birch trees that provide shelter and punctuate the space, providing a green element.

Jefferies decided to work closely with the school, initiating workshops that explored the changing nature of the surrounding inner city area.  The artwork was born out of the ideas discussed with the pupils and head teacher, incorporating a practical need for a new seating area with an imaginative installation that promoted a sense of play.

The final artwork which was installed in summer 2015 consists of a series of five sculptural timber structures based on geometric architectural forms. Triangular and round in form the structures can be used by children, staff and parents, and incorporate a number of species of plants. In addition a new shelter has been created in steel and Plexiglas providing shelter for children and parents at the end of the day which is furnished with a series of 12 colourful seats by designer Martino Gamper.

Jefferies interest in modernist design and architecture featured strongly in the choice of colour and form of the structures, combined with a mirroring of the schools impressive Victorian façade which is a rich terracotta brick. The colour palette of the work is dominated by a rich red complimented by a series of 4 other accents colours.

The commission also included the removal of a series of timber structures attached to the school façade that masque the schools original signage and name, and the resurfacing of the entire tarmac surface to unity the space and create a setting for the new works.

This project has been made possible through funding from Bristol City Council as part of the Primary Capital Education Programme

Marcus Jefferies

Marcus Jefferies was born in Bristol, UK, and studied fine art at Wimbledon School of Art, London. He currently works and lives in Bristol and is based at Spike Island Studios. Jefferies maintains a diverse practice that incorporates model making techniques, painting, sculpture, installation and design. Each field of interest informs the other to create intertwining relationships. The built environment often forms a backdrop to his work where new narratives are made through the exploration of site, scale and memory.

Recent exhibitions include: The Kiosk Project: collaboration with Colin Higginson for Art Weekender – Bristol & Bath (2015). Test Space Open (2014) Spike Island, selected by Ruth Claxton, Marie-Anne McQuade and Edwina Ashton. Perpetual City (2013) collaboration with Colin Higginson, commissioned by Spike Island for Spike Open. Sub Woofer with Ancient and Modern (2012) curated by Sacha Waldron, Spike Island.


Arnolfini is one of Europe’s leading independent, contemporary arts organisations, welcoming more than 500,000 visitors annually. Since its foundation in 1961, Arnolfini has built an international reputation for commissioning and presenting innovative, experimental work in the contemporary arts, always with a strong emphasis upon audience engagement. Many thousands of artists and performers have been involved with Arnolfini during this time, often gaining their first opportunity before going on to long-term success. The fully accessible converted warehouse situated on Bristol’s historic harbourside also contains one of the country’s best arts bookshops as well as a café bar serving the best in local and seasonal produce.


  • Commissioner

    Bristol City Council

  • Produced by

    Arnolfini / BCC

  • Partners

    Primary Capital Programme (BCC, Skanska, LEP)

  • Supported by

    Bristol City Council, Hannah More Primary School