About Colchester School of Art

WelcomeAbout UsWhy study here?What we offerOur CoursesOur LocationColchester

At Colchester School of Art we are proud to have a history dating from 1885, the year the original Art School was founded.

As well as being witness to the many great developments and upheavals of the twentieth century, the Art School has adapted to the increasing pace of change in contemporary art and design practice.

Today we strive to maintain the integrity of our courses, at the heart of which is a desire to develop concepts, designs and objects that will challenge and inspire. We believe in skill, traditional or otherwise, as a basis for understanding how ideas can exist.

opening ceremony

© Opening ceremony of the original School of Art in 1885

We believe that people learn best when they work together, engaging in the process of debate and dialogue, instruction and construction. Our focus is on developing an environment where your imagination and creativity can flourish, in studios and workshops that are equipped to offer you the opportunity to express and realise your ideas and ambitions.

Deciding where to study and invest in your future is an important decision. At Colchester School of Art you learn in small groups, with regular quality contact time with your tutors. Our students, past and present, speak highly of the support, encouragement and advice they receive from our dedicated and experienced staff.

We invite you to visit us to see what we do, meet our staff and students and to view the excellent work being created by them.

Study with us

The creative industries continue to make a significant and growing cultural and economic contribution to our society.

Colchester School of Art, part of Colchester Institute, will help you develop the skills and attributes that you need to be successful in those industries.

We have an expanding, well-equipped and vibrant study environment, with access to a high ratio of tutorial and contact time.

© Richard Bryant / arcadimages.com - firstsite contemporary art space next to the Minories

© Richard Bryant / arcadimages.com – firstsite contemporary art space next to the Minories

We offer a range of contemporary and traditional technical resources that include: Mac suites; photography studios and darkrooms; a printmaking workshop with facilities for etching; silkscreen and letterpress printing; ceramics and glass; wood, metal and plastics; fashion and textiles workshops; as well as dedicated course studios with your own individual space to work in.

The Hay Gallery within Colchester School of Art displays works created by our students and exhibits work by visiting artists. At the end of the year, you will exhibit your work in our summer showcase. Students from our BA (Hons) Art and Design: Fashion and Textiles course also exhibit at Premiére Vision in Paris, Europe’s largest trade show for the fashion textile industry, where Colchester School of Art is one of only seven colleges to exhibit and sell students’ work. There are also opportunities to exhibit in London shows.

Our courses are modular in structure. They provide a broad educational experience in relation to the theoretical and practical aspects of art and design study. We strive to achieve this using the very best of contemporary and traditional approaches. All our staff are practicing professionals and we have excellent links to industry and professionals in various fields of activity who regularly set projects briefs for students. There are also opportunities to study abroad, enter competitions and work with local clients, galleries and other organisations.

As an undergraduate student you will study Personal Development Planning throughout your course, whatever subject you choose. This is designed to assist you in preparing for Postgraduate study or entry into the world of work after you graduate. Student feedback regularly indicates that this is a valued aspect of their studies, as is the extent and quality of the tutorial support they receive. Our dedicated team of tutors all see their role as educator and practitioner as symbiotically linked and the feedback we get from students is a great source of pride and encouragement to us all, but the thing we are most proud of is the effort and success of our students, many of whom go on to employment in different areas of the art and design industries.

Colchester School of Art is well connected. We are a ten minute walk from Colchester North rail station where there is a frequent service to London, average journey time is 50 minutes. We are 30 miles from Stansted Airport and 20 miles from Harwich International Port. The beautiful sea shores of the award winning Frinton-on-Sea coastline are only a 30 minute drive, along with Clacton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze.

Town Centre Fat OUTLINE AW

Colchester is Britain’s oldest recorded Roman town, a town that exudes history, culture and creativity. This thriving university town has a population of 160,000 and demonstrates a dynamic and exciting urban lifestyle.

Colchester offers an abundance of shopping facilities – quirky and unique boutiques along the lanes, and the familiar retailers you would expect to find in a large town. There are English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Indian restaurants catering for varying budgets. Colchester has a vibrant night life, with a mixture of traditional pubs and contemporary clubs and bars.

Colchester offers a diverse range of modern and historic cultural activities to take part in, from the Colchester Arts Centre (whose home is a converted church – and has seen the likes of Lucy Porter, Sean Lock, Tim Vine and Adrian Edmondson perform) to the wonders of the Norman castle set in the beautiful Castle Park.

An exciting programme of exhibitions, lectures, films and events takes place at firstsite, Colchester’s spectacular new venue for world class contemporary arts. The Mercury Theatre is well known throughout the area, with quality performances staged during the year. It has also played host to some well known acts, including Lee Evans and Michael McIntyre. Colchester boasts many more attractions including one of Europe’s finest zoos, a multi-screen cinema and a luxurious spa and leisure facilities at Leisure World.

Making Colchester your place to study or live means you are in good company. TV presenter Dermot O’Leary lived and studied in Colchester whilst Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz fame is also from the area – and his father was once Head of the Art School.


Contact Us

Switchboard: 01206 712000

Course Enquiries: 01206 712777

Online Enquiry Form

Colchester School of Art,
Colchester Institute,
Sheepen Road,

Switchboard: (01206) 712000 | Course enquiries: (01206) 712777 | contact