Established in 2013, Open School East is a Margate-based space for artistic and collaborative learning that is free, versatile and non-exclusive. We run four complementary strands:
- The Associates Programme: a year-long development programme for emerging artists and cultural practitioners from diverse backgrounds and generations;
- The Young Associates Programme: a full-time, year-long, accredited art and design programme for local young people aged 16-18 who experience difficulty in their education;
- The Public Programme: a multifaceted programme of events, activities and short courses open to everyone;
- The Despacito Art School: a weekly art, craft and functional object-making programme open to 5 to 12 year olds who lack opportunities to develop creatively.
Open School East is committed to making the arts a more open sector and to fostering 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.
We equip artists at an early stage of their career with the tools to become resourceful and self-sufficient, and enable young people and adults alike to develop confidence and life skills, and shape their creative voice by becoming active learners and co-producers of OSE’s programmes.
Open School East strives to be a self-scrutinising and adaptable organisation; accordingly, it keeps its doors open to change and places access, in its widest sense, at the centre of its agenda.
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. Since 2019, OSE operates from two locations in Margate: the first floor of the Adult Education Centre, formerly the Thanet School of Art and Crafts (1931-74), where we deliver all our programmes; and the ground floor of CRATE, where the Associates have a shared workshop and studio space.