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About The Margate School

The Margate School is an independent not-for-profit postgraduate liberal arts school and creative community hub inspired by making a positive difference to our communities and environment.

Art | Society | Nature

Situated across a four storey former Woolworths Building that had stood empty since 2008, The Margate School by its very nature has become a new hub for innovation and creativity in the town of Margate and plays an influential part in the story of Margate’s regeneration.

The exciting local cultural offer, tourism and leisure facilities, cafes and restaurants somewhat camouflage the fact that we are also situated in one of the most deprived wards and most pressurised high streets in the country. 


Our theme of Art, Society, Nature, aims to provide socially engaged and sustainability-driven programmes, delivered through knowledge sharing, collaboration and co-creation, peer-to-peer learning, sharing of space and technical facilities and thus enabling creative practitioners to realise their potential in a critically reflective way.

We are rooted in community and connect nationally and internationally; we reach out through our academic programmes, events, workshops, residencies, guest lectures and exhibitions. Much of our provision is subsidised in support of Margate and its diverse creative and wider communities.


Since opening our doors in June 2019, we have welcomed over 16,000 visitors each year to a wide range of creative events, conferences and exhibitions, supporting artists from diverse and local communities, children and adults with special needs, designers, researchers and professionals. 

Our history


The intial concept of The Margate School was presented as an outcome of the cross-border collaborative creative project funded by the EU.

Support from the higher education art school ESADHaR based in Normandy for European MA (DNSEP) accreditation for Fine Art programme.


Official launch of the concept of The Margate School to local and regional stakeholders at Turner Contemporary, sponsored by the then High Sherif of Kent, Hugo Fenwick.

Incorporation of The Margate School as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.

Arnold Schwartzman OBE RDI appointed as Patron of The Margate School.


Scoping study of art and cultural provison in Margate and funded Community Funding.


Capital Funding Application to the Coastal Community Fund to take control of the Woolworths Building (unsuccessful).


Revenue Funding Application to the Coastal Community Fund to kick-start The Margate School with studio and FabLab facilities supporting the de-ghosting of the High Street and cultural regeneration of Margate (successful).

Launch of the project at empty and derelict Woolworths building in Margate.


Short lease agreed to occupy three floors of the Woolworths building and start developing provision.

Accreditation and commencement of first cohort of students for the European MA in Fine Art (Art, Society, Nature) in partnership with ESDADaR.

Commencement of art exhibitions and creative and civic events.

First Reinvention Symposium.

Creation of studio spaces.


Received Town Pride Award Commendation Certificate by the Margate Civic Society.

First artist residencies.

First craft market using the School's premises.

Arts Council Grant in support of local artists in response to COVID lockdown.

Creation of digital online archive of Thanet Young Artists Initiative school children submissions in response to COVID lockdown.

VisCom (Design, Society, Nature) unaccredited post-graduate course launched and commenced.


MAKE THE WAVE, a mass of local actions took place around the coast to reach Cornwall for the G7 Summit.

TMS awarded a Cultural Recovery Fund.

Coordinated and hosted the first ever Women in Design Panel discussion in Margate.

Graduation exhibition.

First ever graduation ceremony of TMS post-grad MAFA and Design students.

First Eco Expo.

Admitted to ELIA (European network of art schools) as Associate Member.

RE-Vive Grant to develop the New Street Public Art display board facility.

Established monthly TechClub for children and parents running creative programming workshops.

Sound Arts course established alongside Design and MA in Fine Art provision.

Successfully completed the Coast Community Fund project.


First Margate Festival of Design established.

Successfully crowdfunded for and commenced establishing the Margate High Street Community and Sculpture Garden initiative.

Second graduation ceremony at Tuner Contemporary.

Second Reinvention Symposium.

Second Eco Expo.

Admitted as member to the Council of Higher Education in Art and Design (CHEAD).

Fundraising event in support of the Ukraine raising £4k.

Established as RSA South East Fellowship Co-Working Hub.

TMS Advisory Group launched with over thirty local, national and international experts joining.


Landord announced sale of Woolworths building.

Save the Margate School campaign launched and £50k in donations secured.

Benefit gig No Surrender hosted.

The Margate School CIO (Charity) established.

Third graduation ceremony at Turner Contemporary.

TMS Patron Arnold Schwartzman receives Freeman of Margate award.

Art Work Donation Scheme launched.

Still and Moving Image unaccredited post-graduate course launched and commenced.

Second Margate Festival of Design.

Partnership and accreditation agreement with ESÄ, the higher education art school based in Dunkerque.

Woolworths building sold.

Community Ownership Fund capital funding secured to support essential remedial work of the Woolworths building.

Remedial work commenced.


25 year lease agreed to occupy three floors of Woolworths building.

UK Prosperity Fund funding secured to support National Saturday Club and TechClub.

National Saturday Club agreed and commenced.

New owners of the Primark Building offer to take up space and support securing new round of Community Ownership Funding.


The Margate School CIO

Establishing The Margate School CIO will support social and environmental justice


The Margate School CIO is a charity that has now been set up in support of The Margate School community by securing donations and charitable funds.


The Margate School CIO was approved by the Charity Commission on 7 June. This Association Charity is here to support the TMS community to handle donations and increase access to funding opportunities. It paves the way for TMS to develop a democratically controlled charity, which is in line with the values of the School and will contribute to make all provision financially more accessible.


The Margate School CIO has been established for the public benefit, to advance, improve, develop and maintain education in, and appreciation of, the liberal arts and cultural studies, supporting the work of The Margate School in ways such as providing or assisting in the provision of education, development and support of studios, galleries, and providing financial support to those who wish to undertake formal arts education who have a demonstrable need.


We are pleased to have secured eleven trustees to establish the charity in the first year before they will stand down and  desired, will stand for re-election by its members. The immediate task for the charity is to become operational, secure funds and gain a sufficient number of members to become a democratically controlled organisation.

CIO number 1203446

Charity Commission for England and Wales

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