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Turner Contemporary hosts a unique and the only postgraduate European art and design graduation

Margate enjoyed the second European art and design graduation ceremony for the post-graduate students of The Margate School. Like last year, the celebrations took place again at the iconic Turner Contemporary art gallery.


The graduands and academics processed from The Margate School to the Turner Contemporary led by the Mayor of Margate wearing the mayoral chain who also opened the ceremony. The graduands were then addressed by Professor Michael Earley, formerly Principal and CEO of Rose Bruford College. He highlighted the historically innovative nature of small arts schools and colleges in this country followed by the conferment of the students’ awards.


“Small, fiercely independent institutions like The Margate School are now critical to the continuing ecology of—indeed, the very survival of—visual arts training in the U.K.. The large, university-based art schools are fast losing their way. But TMS is a kind of perfected placed artistic haven port, still tethered to Britain-in-Europe ideals and anchoring its students in the very best and most current practices in contemporary art and design.” Professor Michael Earley, 2022.


The graduands and academics processed from The Margate School to the Turner Contemporary.

The graduation ceremony was a joint event between Margate’s European Fine Art MA ‘Art Society Nature’ students and the very first cohort of students on the Visual Communication ‘Design Society Nature’ programme.


The Art Society Nature programme offered at The Margate School is the first of its kind in the UK. The two-year programme is accredited by one of the oldest art schools in France, École Supérieure d’Art et Design Le Havre-Rouen (ESADHaR) in a unique Anglo-French collaboration. The MA degree qualification is recognised across Europe and opens up opportunities for graduates to teach at EU universities.


Established in 2019, the MA has seen a track record of students benefit from working alongside artists and creative professionals at the School whilst studying. A regular programme of community events brings together students, artists, tutors and alumni creating opportunities for knowledge exchange and collaboration.


MA Graduate, Billie M. Vigne, at The Margate School.

The Design Society Nature year-long programme aims to instil independent thinking and creative confidence by developing critically-minded designers who are socially and environmentally engaged. As part of the academic curriculum, students have the opportunity to help plan and take part in Margate Festival of Design which will launch in September. Key to the Festival’s ambition is to draw together design education, industry and our community.



The Margate School Graduate Show 2022.

Over the last ten years there has been much discussion about alternative art schools outside the mainstream university sector in the UK, mainly driven by the introduction of increasing student fees and the changing nature of university education. Prioritisation is often income generation over producing a generation of grounded and well rounded qualified graduates.


On the other hand, the world of education has long been the playground of experimentation and attempts to provide alternatives to existing school provisions. The Margate School is part of these explorations, yet doesn’t see itself as an alternative necessarily, but if anything an addition to the spectrum of art education opportunities.



The Margate School postgraduate students graduate at the Turner Contemporary.

All images: ISABELLE DE RIDDER.


Applications to our postgraduate courses are currently open. Deadline to apply: 29th August, 2022. Apply now: themargateschool.com/postgraduate-courses



About The Margate School


The Margate School (TMS) is an independent not-for-profit postgraduate liberal arts school. Situated in a 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 poorest wards and most pressurised high streets in the country.


Our theme of Art, Society, Nature aims to provide a socially engaged and sustainability-driven programme, delivered through knowledge sharing, space and facility provision, enabling creative practitioners to realise their potential.


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 30,000 visitors to a diverse range of creative events, conferences and exhibitions, hosted over 60 events & exhibitions; supporting artists from diverse and local communities, children and adults with special needs, designers, researchers and professionals.


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