Welcome to Rowan

Creating Art, Improving Lives

Rowan is a vibrant and active part of the art community in Cambridge working with people with learning disabilities. We are based on Humberstone Road in Cambridge, and run a number of studios including wood, ceramics, print, textiles and mixed media. We now run regular music and performance workshops. 

Rowan was set up in 1984 to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities through the provision of services and meaningful activities. This was against the background of change that, quite radically at the time, sought to move people out of institutions and into the community.

With grant assistance from the NHS and Cambridgeshire County Council, four Cambridge professionals backed the formation of the charity, called The Rowan Foundation, in 1984. These were economist, Alex Morris, chartered surveyor, John Pocock, chartered accountant, Hugh Lanham and legal executive, Michael Jarvis.

Very quickly art and crafts were identified as a way of enhancing the lives and providing opportunities for self-expression for this minority group. In order to provide studio space and a secure home for Rowan, the current premises in Humberstone Road was purchased in 1993. 

In 2003 a new charity, Rowan Humberstone, was established to provide a strong social enterprise ethos, thereby enhancing the sustainability and future of Rowan for its beneficiaries. We produce work to commission and for sale.

This is the vibrant and active charity you see at work today, which is known simply as Rowan.

Read more about what we do here.