London’s Open School East Makes the Move to Margate

Has the exodus begun?

Associates of Open School East. Image via OSE.

Alternative art school Open School East (OSE) has announced, along with details of its 2017 program, that it will be moving from London to Margate, on the UK’s South Coast, in January.

The Rose Lipman Building, where OSE has been situated for the past three years, has been earmarked for redevelopment for some time. Its location in De Beauvoir Town is one of North London’s most desirable areas. But instead of trying to stick with the site through redevelopment, OSE decided to move out of London completely, and head south to Margate’s Resort Studios.

The Rose Lipman Building in London, the current location of Open School East. Image via Open School East.

The Rose Lipman Building in London, the current location of Open School East. Image courtesy Open School East.

“There are different reasons. We want to make the organization more sustainable. We need more space, and sustainability is not just financial. We need to give access to art education, so we wanted to make a move to a place where artists live,” Anna Colin, co-director and co-founder of OSE told artnet News on the phone. “We need an art scene to exist. We wanted to maintain contact to an art scene that is dynamic, that we can contribute to.”

Colin was keen to emphasize that the aim isn’t to pull artists out of London and to the coast. Instead, the community-oriented project wants to tap into Margate’s local scene. They also hope to attract students (known as “associates”) from abroad to take part in the program. With Margate’s cheaper living costs and proximity to London, those attending the program can still see important shows in London without having to bear the cost of living in the capital. OSE doesn’t plan to cut ties completely with the capital city, however; in 2018, the school’s staff plan to open a space in Newham, East London.

Open School East in London. Image via OSE.

Open School East in London. Image courtesy OSE.

The school’s 2017 program will be split into three terms. Term 1 will be conceived by artist Matthew Darbyshire, but for Terms 2 and 3, the associates will devise and administer their own program. They will be mentored by a team of artists including Darbyshire, Lucy Beech, and Tom Morton. Guests on the OSE program for 2017 include Yemi Awosile, Pablo Bronstein, Sam Causer, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Nicolas Deshayes, and Eddie Peake. The deadline for applications for the 2017 program is October 31.

Rising housing costs in London have meant that many creatives are choosing seaside towns like Margate, Hastings, or Birmingham, due to their proximity to London. Margate also boasts an art museum in the shape of Turner Contemporary, and a small but fun alternative scene.

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