Established in 2013 and located in Margate, Open School East is a free, independent art school and community space that focuses on collective learning through the arts. We support cultural practitioners at an early stage of their career to develop and sustain their practice, and enable young people and adults alike to learn new and transferable skills, develop their confidence and shape their creative voice by becoming active learners and co-producers of OSE’s programmes.
Our learning and development programmes are:
- The Associates Programme: a part-time, year-long development programme for emerging adult artists and cultural practitioners from diverse backgrounds;
- The Young Associates Programme: a full-time, year-long, accredited art and design/ functional skills programme for local young people aged 16-18 who experience difficulty in their education;
- The Despacito Art School: a weekly art, craft and functional object-making class open to 5 to 12 year olds who lack opportunities to develop creatively;
- The Public Programme: a multifaceted programme of events, activities and short courses open to everyone.
Open School East is committed to making the arts a more open sector and to enabling meaningful cultural and social exchanges between artists and the broader public. We do this by making our programmes entirely free of charge and opening them outwards, responding to our locality, and providing an informal and welcoming environment for the development and sharing of knowledge and skills across all communities and generations.
As an organisation, Open School East is committed to anti-racism, LGBTQI+ rights and neuro-inclusion. While the building we are located in is currently only accessible by stairs, we are committed to providing alternative spatial solutions to enable full participation.
Short history and location
Open School East was founded in 2013 in East London, where it operated from the first floor of the Rose Lipman Community Centre and former library in De Beauvoir Town for three years. In 2017 we relocated to Margate, Kent, and set base on the ground floor of the Pettmans building, under Resort Studios in the Cliftonville area of Margate. From 2019 to mid-2020 OSE operated from two locations in Margate: the first floor of the Adult Education Centre, formerly the Thanet School of Art and Crafts (1931-74), and the ground floor of CRATE Studio and Project Space.
In July 2020 we moved to a 5-storey Georgian building, at 39 Hawley Square. The building is currently accessible by stairs only, but we are working hard to turn the building into a fully accessible space. In the meantime, we are committed to providing alternative spatial solutions to enable full participation.