Colchester School of Art

Over 130 years of history

At Colchester School of Art we are proud to have a history dating from 1885, the year the original Art School was founded.

As well as being witness to the many great developments and upheavals of the twentieth century, the Art School has adapted to the increasing pace of change in contemporary art and design practice.

© Opening ceremony of the original School of Art in 1885

Today we strive to maintain the integrity of our courses, at the heart of which is a desire to develop concepts, designs and objects that will challenge and inspire. We believe in skill, traditional or otherwise, as a basis for understanding how ideas can exist.

Let your creativity thrive

We believe that people learn best when they work together, engaging in the process of debate and dialogue, instruction and construction. Our focus is on developing an environment where your imagination and creativity can flourish, in studios and workshops that are equipped to offer you the opportunity to express and realise your ideas and ambitions.

Deciding where to study and invest in your future is an important decision. At Colchester School of Art you learn in small groups, with regular quality contact time with your tutors. Our students, past and present, speak highly of the support, encouragement and advice they receive from our dedicated and experienced staff. We invite you to visit us to see what we do, meet our staff and students and to view the excellent work being created by them.

Study with us

The creative industries continue to make a significant and growing cultural and economic contribution to our society. Colchester School of Art, part of Colchester Institute, will help you develop the skills and attributes that you need to be successful in those industries. We have an expanding, well-equipped and vibrant study environment, with access to a high ratio of tutorial and contact time.

Our courses are modular in structure. They provide a broad educational experience in relation to the theoretical and practical aspects of art and design study. We strive to achieve this using the very best of contemporary and traditional approaches.

An artist’s paradise

We offer a range of contemporary and traditional technical resources that include: Mac suites; photography studios and darkrooms; a printmaking workshop with facilities for etching; silkscreen and letterpress printing; ceramics and glass; wood, metal and plastics; fashion and textiles workshops; as well as dedicated course studios with your own individual space to work in.

The Hay Gallery within Colchester School of Art displays works created by our students and exhibits work by visiting artists. At the end of the year, you will exhibit your work in our summer showcase. There are also opportunities to exhibit in London shows.

Our students

With around 800 students studying art and design with us each year, we are able to provide a supportive and vibrant environment. We encourage our students to debate and work collaboratively, sharing their experiences and knowledge. Many of our students continue their education with us at a number of levels, often starting at further education level and continuing through to degree, and postgraduate, study.

With a range of courses from post GCSE to postgraduate, and a range of subject disciplines on offer, our students have great opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge to enable them to achieve their goals and ambitions.

Through hard work, commitment and a talent for utilising creative ideas, our current students have come from a variety of backgrounds and have chosen different course to study.

Studios and Workshops

Our students enjoy good access to our workshops and studios. Each course in the School has its own dedicated studio space, and we encourage our students to use the studios to develop work in their own time. Our workshop areas are well equipped and staffed by experienced tutors and technicians to assist our students with the creation and realisation of their ideas and concepts. They include:

Colchester, Sheepen Road

Ceramics ~ Printmaking ~ Wood/Metal/Plastics ~ Print and Constructed Textiles ~ Mac Suites ~ Photographic Studio and Darkrooms ~ Fashion Construction ~ Drawing Studio

Further Education Courses

Our courses are delivered by tutors with extensive experience in the visual arts sector and their professional expertise is valued by our students. There are excellent facilities including studio spaces for painting, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and printmaking, as well as dark rooms. Further Education courses are offered across a wide range of art and design subjects and the Hay Gallery provides a versatile exhibition space for displaying students’ work.

One of the things I enjoy most about the course is that we’re able to exhibit our work to a wider audience and experiement with different mediums. My final piece is a 3D wallpaper design aimed at those who are visually impaired which involves touch as well as sightShannah Oliver - Art and Design Level 3

Higher Education Courses (Degree Level)

All our staff are practicing professionals and we have excellent links to industry and professionals in various fields of activity who regularly set projects briefs for students. There are also opportunities to study abroad, enter competitions and work with local clients, galleries and other organisations.

As an undergraduate student you will study Personal Development Planning throughout your course, whatever subject you choose. This is designed to assist you in preparing for Postgraduate study or entry into the world of work after you graduate. Student feedback regularly indicates that this is a valued aspect of their studies, as is the extent and quality of the tutorial support they receive.

Our dedicated team of tutors all see their role as educator and practitioner as symbiotically linked and the feedback we get from students is a great source of pride and encouragement to us all, but the thing we are most proud of is the effort and success of our students, many of whom go on to employment in different areas of the art and design industries.

Arts and Crafts | Leisure and Hobby Courses

We offer daytime and evening courses in drawing suitable for all levels, from complete beginners to experienced artists and creative professionals. Arts and crafts courses may take place outside of the studio. The Printmaking courses run on-site and in our Art School print room, and art history lectures and in-conversations with contemporary artists on both sites are bookable ticketed events. All courses available from September. Prices vary depending on the nature of the course (Extra cost for some materials may be incurred).