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Medway School of Arts

Medway School of Arts is coming soon…

MidKent College is opening a new Art school, expanding its art courses for the people of Medway and Kent to offer qualifications to university level.

Degree level courses will be accredited through the University of Kent, replacing the University for Creative Arts (UCA) which closes in September 2023.

MidKent College principal, Simon Cook, said: “There is growing recognition of the importance of the creative arts as a driver of economic growth in the UK and MidKent College is proud of its continuing contribution to the skills needed in this sector.

“The opening of Medway School of Arts represents the latest in a series of developments emerging from Medway’s vibrant and innovative creative sector. We have a strong legacy of creative arts education across the towns that developed the careers of famous names such as Zandra Rhodes, Tony Hart, Karen Millen and Tracy Emin. The partnership approach to ensuring that we can sustain university-level creative education in the towns is fantastic, and we’re delighted to be working with forward-thinking, passionate and committed organisations to bring this plan to fruition”.

Medway School of Art is working in partnership with the University of Kent’s Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries (iCCi) and Medway Council.

Director of iCCi Professor Catherine Richardson, said: “We are very excited to be working with MidKent College to develop an ambitious vision for creative skills development in Medway. This is part of the university’s wider investment in cultural and creative industries that will support the growth of the local creative economy, which is central to our plans for education and research in Medway. We’re at the start of a really innovative new era here!”

In 2025, iCCi will be opening Docking Station – a brand new hub for the cultural and creative industries in Medway with a focus on immersive digital technology, based on Chatham Historic Dockyard.

Cllr Howard Doe, Deputy Leader of Medway Council and Portfolio Holder for Community Services, welcomed and commended ‘this superb new School of Arts’. He said: “Medway is home to many talented artists and creatives that received excellent arts education and have developed their practice here in Medway. We are delighted that future generations will be able continue this legacy at the new Medway School of Art led by MidKent College. The Medway School of Art also supports the delivery Medway’s cultural strategy, delivered by Creative Medway, which aims for Medway to be internationally recognised for its creativity and culture by 2030.”

Fiona Watt, Chair of Creative Medway said: “We are heartened by MidKent College’s rapid response to the deficit of arts education that the imminent closure of the University of the Creative Arts Rochester campus represents for Medway. A Medway School of Arts is vital to who we are. Medway is a place and a creative eco system in which institutions like this have played a vital part socially and economically.

‘We look forward to working with the team at MidKent College to build a resilient network of support for the sector, continuing the Medway legacy of excellence provided by internationally recognised practitioners and educators who have dedicated themselves to building the skills and talents of our young people.”

MidKent College already offers Art, Graphic Design, Creative Media and Fine Art in both its Gillingham and Maidstone campuses at from Level 1-3 but introducing the Medway School of Art means students can expand their education to degree level.

The Medway School of Art will open to students from September 2024.

Clare Roach, Creative Arts HE Centre Lead, Medway School of Arts, has previously worked for West Kent College running their Creative Arts HE provision and the Ashford School of Art & Design, both pivotal in bringing arts education at all levels to the local vicinities. She said: “We know there is a demand for this level of arts education in Medway and the surrounding areas. The cost of university courses away from home mean young people are keen to study locally if they can, and the Medway School of Arts is going to give them that option. We are also working closely with the local creative ecosystem and Medway Council to ensure the plan for the School of Arts meets the needs of the whole community and encourages people not only to study in Medway, but then stay in the area and run a range of businesses.”