Want to set up your own art school, or just find out about some of the different ways of self-organising art education? Listen to School of the Damned, Islington Mill Art Academy, Migrant Artists Mutual Aid and TOMA (The Other MA).
School of the Damned is a free one-year postgraduate art course run by, and for, its students. It exists to promote access to free education as a fundamental right. Established in 2012 as a direct action against the current neoliberal education system, it has just taken on its fifth year of students. Rather than paying fees, the School runs a labour exchange programme with guests including artists, writers and curators, trading time for time not only to challenge the financial exclusivity of higher education but to strengthen and extend its network.
Islington Mill Art Academy (Salford)
Islington Mill Art Academy (IMAA) is a peer-led experiment into alternative modes of art education, tailored to meet the needs of artists striving to develop their creative practice alongside full-time day jobs. Founded in 2007, IMAA emphasises shared responsibility. A forerunner in the alternative art schools movement, it was set up in response to student fees and the debate around the relevance and usefulness of mainstream art education.
Migrant Artists Mutual Aid (Liverpool)
Migrant Artists Mutual Aid was founded in 2011. It is a cross-national network of women, mothers, migrants, artists, academics and activists who work together to support members the group who who are seeking sanctuary, and campaign for justice in the migration system. In 2016 MaMa organised a seven-day summer school bringing together artists in the asylum system and the mainstream contemporary art world.
TOMA is a response to the fact that many artists who wish to continue their learning and critical discourse with peers are unable to access most current MA provisions for a number of reasons – time, cost, work or family commitments. Designed to fit the everyday lives of contemporary working artists TOMA is a space to work and develop practice within a critical framework for postgraduate level. Funded by its participants TOMA costs £75 per month to attend which goes directly and wholly towards paying for visiting artists, lecturers, practical workshops, a personal tutor, offsite projects, exhibitions, a programme co-ordinator and bookable spaces to make work.The course is coordinated by a small team at Metal, Southend, who are responsive to the participating artists.