An independent liberal art school for the 21st century

The Margate School (TMS) is an independent liberal art school with post-graduate provision and community outreach incorporated in 2015 as a not-for-profit organisation. A school in and for Margate with a wide-ranging offer of short courses, technical courses and professional development across liberal arts and media disciplines ranging as well as a Masters programme in Fine Art. Facilities include studios, workspaces and technical facilities, including a FabLab whilst reaching out to the local community. 

Our vision is the successful establishment of an international liberal art school which is operated independently and on a self-sustaining basis in and for Margate, whose scope, activities and benefits to our students and local communities can be enhanced with the support of partners primarily in Kent and Northern France, but also across the UK and through our international connections.

The Margate School was initiated and founded by Uwe Derksen, following over 30 years in higher education and having developed a particular interest in the interface between education and learning on the one hand and the community and societal setting on the other, especially within the arts. In 2014 he articulated the idea of establishing a liberal arts school in Margate, which was on the back of a large European partnership project with the art school at its centre. In 2015 The Margate School incorporated as a not-for-profit organisation, and started to explore avenues to raise funds to start offering courses with a Masters programme at its core. It was not until three years later that The Margate School was able to draw down some funding from the Coastal Community Fund and at the same time ecured access to the derelict former Woolworths building in Margate’s High Street. In the first six months of moving into the building that stood empty since 2007/08, we have cleaned up large parts of the building, converted the ground floor as flexible and community accessible space for social gatherings, teaching, talks, performances, exhibitions, local trade and cultural events, professional practice etc., we converted the second floor into teaching and studio spaces.  We are in the process of converting the first floor into studio and incubation spaces as well as makerspace facilities.

Plans are in place for the basement and third floor for the coming years and are subject to further funding and sponsorship or social investment. In terms of provision we commenced the Masters programme, an accreditedMasters degree in Fine Art in October 2019 accredited by our French partner Art School called L'Ecole Supérieure d'Art et Design Le Havre-Rouen (ESADHaR), supported 50 artists, held 150 community events and attracted 12,000 visitors into the School. We ran and will continue to run a range of short-courses in video production, photography, graphic design and creative business development. 


Above all, The Margate School is about people and as such the curriculum is guided by project-based collaborative learning in the expanded field, that means that we seek opportunities to apply the learning outside the immediate context of the School.  We believe that learning in a collaborative and critical environment will nurture independent thinking, self-confidence and raise aspirations. ​We are inspired by Margate’s past and passionate about the future.

TMS is a not-for-profit company.

Our Motto


Officinae humanitatis - fabricando fabricamur 


Studios of humanity - we become humans as we engage humanly in the world we occupy

Johannes Comenius



Uwe Derksen

Over 25 years of experience in education, developing entrepreneurship programmes for students and adult learners in the community and the creative sector. Former member of the Board of Governors at the University for the Creative Arts and Assistant Director for Research of the University for the Creative Arts. Before then Assistant Director of the Centre for Enterprise and Business Development and Director of e-Novate Consultancy Ltd. Initiator and founding member, Director and Board Director of The Margate School.


Arnold Schwartzman

Arnold Schwartzman OBE RDI, Patron of The Margate School, is an Academy Award® winning filmmaker and noted graphic designer. He grew up in Margate and then moved to Hollywood in 1978 to become the Design Director for Saul Bass and Associates. In 1982, Schwartzman was appointed the Director of Design for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Since 1996, he has designed many of the key elements for the Annual Academy Awards® (“Oscar®”), including commemorative posters, billboards, cinema trailers and printed programs for the Awards ceremony and Governors Ball.

Jacob Calland

Drawing from a tradition of aleatoric sound and the New York school of minimalism to create extended pieces of exploratory, expansive and immersive music. Much of my work centred around soft system interaction with sound sculpture, treating the viewer as the performer and the artist as the luthier. I believe Art and music have the power to help heal increasingly fractured societies.

Lydia Bevan

Lydia completed a Fine Art degree at UCA with a core practice focusing on painting and drawing. Following this she spent three years at St Edmund’s Canterbury, teaching lower school Art, and A level photography including wet and digital. For the last 10 years Lydia has developed her drawing and illustration work, focusing on map making and graphic design. Refining graphic skills and responding to various commercial briefs, whilst keeping a paintbrush firmly in the other hand. 



Saffie Halke

After studying Music Technology, I spent several years working on arts projects, including as an Assistant Tour Manager for the In C Mali and Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, projects with Africa Express and with the STARGAZE Orchestra for their BBC Proms Late Night Tribute to David Bowie, alongside community based projects with Music for Change. I have a deep rooted belief in the power that the arts can have to transform people's lives, bring joy and connect people from different walks of life. 

Francesca Renny

Francesca studied Commercial Photography at the Arts University Bournemouth following which she worked as a freelance photographic assistant and production assistant on numerous fashion editorials and campaigns incl. Primark, Prada, Tom Ford, Kickers, Vogue Italia and Wonderland magazine. 

Francesca worked at University of the Creative Arts, Canterbury for several years where she ran photographic workshops and sessions and supported the students within the Lens Based Media Specialism on the Foundation Diploma. She has sinced worked as a photographic workshop facilitator and continued work as freelance photographer. In 2019 Francesca began working as Programme Coordinator at Ideas Test in Sittingbourne and currently works as a project assistant on the Ideas Test Youth Programme Theatre 31. Francesca strongly believes in the importance of inclusive and accessible arts education and opportunities.


TMS Board

Hugo Fenwick

Hugo Fenwick is the trading director of the Fenwick department store, which is a national department store chain. Hugo was trained as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young London and has extensive experience in capital projects.  In 2014/15 Hugo was appointed as High Sheriff of Kent. Hugo sponsored a dinner in Margate in March 2015 to local, regional and French stakeholders in support of TMS.

Martin Ebbs

Martin has 30 years experience in business + economic development consultancy. He holds an MBA from London Business School. His specialist expertise includes setting up programmes to support business growth, new enterprise + innovation; development of growth sectors + business clusters; inward investment promotion; economic growth strategies; + workforce skills programmes. He previously held a series of senior positions with London International Group, a multi-national FMCG company, Economic + Transport Planning Group, Eurotunnel.

Caron Derksen

Caron is a qualified and practicing solicitor for over twenty five years, having specialised in civil law and currently practices company and contract law. Caron has also taught various aspects of law and processes at FE and HE institutions. In 2001 Caron took a break from the legal profession when she set up and managed her own company to project manage high value European Commission work for ten years. The projects mainly centred on e-learning for small medium enterprises. Having lived and worked in Margate and East Kent for the last 35 years, Caron has first hand experience of the town's economic decline and now regeneration with emphasis on the arts. Caron is keen to develop a sustained engagement between liberal arts education and the local community and attract new interest and European links to the town.


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The Margate School is in receipt of funding from the Coastal Communities Fund and The Arts Council England


© The Margate School Ltd.

A not-for-profit company

Registered office: 

17 Roxburgh Road
Kent CT8 8RX

Registered number: 09629126

Website by
Wix.com / beckyismyname

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