Adam Lidgate: The Man, The Teacher, The Baker

It’s not every day that you can find a versatile teacher and yet that is exactly who our Art teacher, Adam Lidgate, is. Read more to see just how multifaceted he really is.

22 May 2019

Growing up on the south coast of England, Adam Lidgate had a knack for art, most likely stemming from his great teachers and art department in the boarding school he studied at. Thus, it was only natural for him to purse art at a two-year foundation course in Bournemouth and a Bachelors in Fine Art  at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London (now known as UAL, the University of Arts London). 

Upon graduation, he knew that he wanted to work as an artist and in order to fund his lifestyle, he found himself working as a chef. It was during this time that he had a four-year stint in the French Alps and just knew that he needed to live somewhere near the mountains, especially to pursue his love for skiing and mountain biking. Back in England, he worked as an outdoor sports leader and eventually transferred to work at schools in Switzerland, more specifically, Zug. It was here that he heard about an opening at our school, Institut Montana Zugerberg, and soon became the new House Father of our Juventus boy’s boarding house and ran our activities department alongside other house parents and sports teachers. 

During this time, he became good friends with a long time teacher and alumnus, Mark Johnson. Mr. Johnson was aware of Adam’s passion for art and encouraged him to teach it to the students. That’s when Adam began drawing with the IB classes and within a couple of years, he eventually took over the whole art department. It’s now been 10 years since Adam has been working as our art teacher and the most rewarding feeling he gets is seeing fulfilled and content students transition through the grades levels, especially from grades 10th and 12th as they exceed the expectations of the IGCSE Art and Design and IB Visual Art courses. On a more short-term approach, he enjoys teaching his students a range of different techniques and seeing them reach their full potential as creative individuals. 

“I believe anyone can be an artist,” reflects Adam. “You have to be open-minded, accept challenges and don’t be demoralised when things come out differently than what you thought of or expected. The final outcomes could lead to a new way of creating work and you should be happy with what you develop. It’s a thing known as ‘happy accidents’; by making mistakes, you learn. Overcoming difficulties and challenges in general are a big part of the IB Diploma Programme and that is something that art teaches you. Above all else, you should enjoy what you do and don’t put too many expectations on yourself.” 

Just as his teaching career came from an unexpected turn of events, so did his newfound passion: sourdough. “For my 40th birthday, my friends got together and bought me a wood-fired oven. We quickly discovered that the root to pizza success is a good base and the best dough is made using a live culture sourdough starter. That led me to making sourdough bread in the kitchen. To keep the starter, or ‘Mother’, alive, you keep adding water and flour throughout its life and the technique of making sourdough bread is really difficult to master, just like art can be. But also, just like art, the more practice you have, the better you get at it. Within three years, I started to successfully make bread day in and day out. In the beginning, we had loads of failures and I say ‘we’ because I refer to my friend Scott, an Australian who also owns a wood-fired oven. I wouldn’t say that our breadmaking ways came from a ‘happy accident’ because I read and watched videos more about breadmaking than anything else I ever studied. I believe that because Scot and I collaborated, we were learning from one another and able to develop our skills through collaboration. If you can work well together with people, you tend to learn faster. It’s just the same with art and something that I try to instil in my students: collaboration gets you results.”

If you’re interested in seeing more of Scott and Adam’s breadmaking skills, be sure to check out @the_sour_bros on Instagram and learn more about sourdough baking from some of the inspiring master bakers who Scott and Adam spend hours reading and watching via  #tartinebakery #opencrumbmastery #trevorjaywilso.

As a lifelong mountain biker, Adam also coaches our Montana Mountain Bike Club which meets every Wednesday, no matter rain, snow or shine, to ride on the amazing trails found all over our campus. Providing our biking students with a healthy hobby for life and a superb sport-lifestyle choice is one of his most passionate endeavours. Adam is also Vice President of the Zug Mountain Bike Club, ‘IG Mountain Bike Zug’ which over the last seven years, has been responsible for the design and construction of the Zugerberg Trail and the forthcoming pump track which will open next year in Cham. “I’m so privileged to be able to go mountain biking in Switzerland, and in the Canton of Zug, we have some truly excellent trails to enjoy year-round,” says Adam. “Riding with Montana Bike Club is extremely fun and I greatly appreciate their dedication. They are also hilarious company to be around after we finished a technical trail and just have an all-around good time.” 

On a final note, Adam states, “One of the things that I get out of painting, which also makes me really happy, is the sense of achievement. It’s a similar feeling I get from baking because you know that you have done something well. People generally are more fulfilled if they know that the thing they are doing is the best that they can do. So, whereas art has a very visual outcome, bread has both a visual and edible outcome and when one or the other comes out well-done, that’s when you know that you have done something which you can be proud of. It’s with anything really: sports, jobs, anything that you work hard at. All I can really leave you with is to be open-minded to opportunities, especially to opportunities that present themselves through meeting other people from a wide range of backgrounds.  This is something I really enjoy at Montana, every day I talk with people who come from all corners of the globe and can bring so much into my life.”

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