Art Skool Co-op, 1 Oct 2017. Poster, 29.7 x 21 cm.

ALTERNATIVE ART EDUCATION

ALTERNATIVE (ART) SCHOOLS & NETWORKS

Directory of alternative art schools, free schools, projects, support networks and vanguards of the alternative education movement. Please get in touch if you are associated with a school, project or network that is not on this list, or if you want to amend or expand the entry.

The list is organised in alphabetic order, it involves ongoing research and the page will be updated regularly. Once the list begins to suggest thematic categories it will be organised by topic. The list was initiated in 2017 as part of a collaborative research project by ART&CRITIQUE, with contributions by Laura Hudson, Katie Tysoe and Johanna Kwiat. From 2019 onwards the list is regularly updated by Sophia Kosmaoglou. For bibliographies and other resources please follow the links in the right-hand sidebar (or at the end of the page if you’re using a device).

@.ac
2014 UK
An art collective without permanent members dedicated to the salvation or eradication of the art school and its replacement as social form. @.ac subverts social or institutional spaces governed by hierarchy, capital or spectacle. These interventions are stages in an ongoing social sculpture and test-sites towards the formulation of an anti-art school or art-education-to-come. @.ac welcomes proposals for collaborations on projects about pedagogy as art, politics or resistance; the visual codes of art education as art; anti-oedipal models of education; the history, theory or philosophy of aesthetic education and site-specific, psychogeographic, hauntological or institutional critique. Read their manifesto.

198 Contemporary Arts and Learning
1988 Brixton
Initially founded to create a platform Afro-Caribbean and Asian artists as part of the Black arts movement, 198 is a centre for visual arts, education and creative enterprise that gives voice and space to under-represented artists, communities and cultures. They deliver arts, education and enterprise programmes, and support emerging creatives of colour into the creative and cultural industries. They aim to reveal hidden issues regarding social change and emerging cultural identities through programming and partnerships. Their work is framed by the local communities and the history of the Brixton Uprisings, from which they emerged, and informed by calls for greater action on equality, unfulfilled demand for diversity in the visual arts, and new pathways to creative careers. Ownership of their premises and a major fundraising campaign to expand the exhibition space and build workspaces and studios for rent will underpin the organisation’s financial sustainability in the long term.

AAAAARG
2005 Los Angeles
An online PDF repository and discussion forum. Originally an acronym of Artists, Architects, and Activists Reading Group created by the artist Sean Dockray as a conversation platform to develop critical discourse outside of institutional settings, at different times it performs as a school, or a reading group, or a journal. AAAAARG serves as a library for The Public School, a framework supporting autodidact activities. AAAAARG grew into a community of researchers and enthusiasts from contemporary art, critical theory, philosophy and related fields who maintain, catalog, annotate and run discussions relevant to their research interests. See also the aaaaarg library on Are.na.

Alternative Art College
2011-2017 Lincoln
The Alternative Art College was set up by Paul Stewart to question UK higher education. It is a protest against fees and employability. Nomadic and sporadic, the school aims to experiment with education and create spaces of collaboration and negotiation. It has existed as a three-month school, one day events and as Skype and Slack pages. It is a peer network that forms when necessary, otherwise it lays dormant as a resource and archive. The school regards contemporary art as an efficient means of resistance, interruption and deconstruction of global capitalism.

The Alternative Art School (TAAS)
2021 New York City
Online art education program founded by curator Nato Thompson, who was frustrated by the exorbitant cost of art schools and the underpayment of adjunct faculty. The school offers courses taught by artists such as Trevor Paglen, Mel Chin and Janine Antoni. The school does not grant degrees and there are no plans to pursue accreditation. Prices range from $1250 – 1750 per class, with discounts for multiple classes. Classes are offered quarterly and typically meet once a week for four weeks. Every course includes continuous membership to the online campus and weekly online events. The programming is structured to facilitate long-form critical exchange and community development. These sessions are free to all current and past students. TAAS also offers fellowships that are funded by the tuition fees.

Alternative Art School Fair
2016 Brooklyn

Organised by Pioneer Works, a non-profit cultural centre dedicated to experimentation, education and production across disciplines, through a broad range of educational programs, performances, residencies and exhibitions.

AltMFA
2010 London

Alternative ‘Master of Fine Art’ course established by artists for artists as a free alternative to studying a university-based MA in London. AltMFA incorporates the most desirable elements of an MFA course: space to work, collaborators to argue with, and a social sphere to move within. “We squeeze into any space and adapt it to our ends.” Unlike a conventional MFA, AltMFA is a common space in which there are no fees and time and facilities are all offered in kind. Meet weekly Monday nights 6.30pm -9.30pm. Programme takes place in a range of private and public venues. AltMFA is self-selecting; the only criteria for membership is attendance and the contribution of time and energy.

Antiuniversity
1968 London

A short-lived experiment in self-organised education and communal living at 49 Rivington Street in Shoreditch. It was opened in February 1968 by David Cooper and Alan Krebs with syllabus covering radical politics, existential psychiatry and the artistic avant-garde.

Antiuniversity Now
2015 London / UK

Antiuniversity Now is a collaborative experiment to challenge institutionalised education, access to learning and the mechanism of knowledge creation and distribution. Antiuniversity Now was set up to reignite the 1968 Antiuniversity of London with the intention to challenge academic and class hierarchy and the exclusivity of the £9K-a-year-degree by inviting people to organise and share learning events in public spaces all over the country. Antiuniversity Now events are free, accessible and inclusive and are delivered using non-hierarchical, participatory and democratic pedagogy. The Antiuniversity is firmly rooted in a collective desire to create and sustain safe autonomous spaces for radical learning that follow, nurture and enact anarchist, feminist, anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-homophobic, de-colonial and anti-capitalist values through conversation and direct action.

Art Book Club
2019 Hertfordshire
A friendly group dedicated to discussing books about art that are inspiring, or that help artists develop their practice. You don’t have to be an artist to join.

ART&CRITIQUE
2015-2019 London
A peer-led alternative art education network dedicated to critical engagement with art practice, theory and research. ART&CRITIQUE employed collaborative, co-operative and collective models of pedagogy and organisation and fostered alternative models of art education in a series of public events and research projects.

Art/Activism Peer-led Research Group
2020 International
A study group founded by artists, curators and arts educators to examine art’s relationship with activism and explore how can artists make real changes. They aim to explore the role of artists in society, explore and apply inclusive practices and accessibility, expand approaches to facilitation, support and skill-sharing in groups, understand how different cultures reflect different attitudes and approaches towards activism, and apply their knowledge to their own practices in a sustainable way. The majority are members of  Young Blood Initiative, an international community of artists that aims to explore other ways to create and collaborate.

Art/Work Association (A/WA)
2011 London
An association of artists and creative workers and a self-generated programme of talks, screenings, seminars, reading groups, workshops and critical feedback sessions, conceived as a forum for peer exchange. A/WA offers a support network for associates and enables self-organised learning, professional development and critical dialogue. Membership is free and open to all. Events and sessions are run with a semi-public format to foster conversations that may not be possible within a wider public context, or at larger-scale cultural institutions and galleries. A/WA welcomes proposals and ideas for new events from all associate members – as well as offering time, resources and support to develop and realise sessions from a voluntary steering committee. A/WA is run in partnership with Auto Italia South East.

Autonomous School Zurich
2009 Zurich
A grassroots project run by locals and immigrants offering diverse educational and cultural activities for everyone including undocumented refugees, the socially excluded and all other interested people. This school is a project to fight against racism and injustice. It is also a meeting point, where people of different origins get to know each other. “Autonomous” is being independent and also self organized. The school moves forward with the collective work and genuine understanding from the students and teachers. All teachers are students too. All students are teachers also. Everybody plays a very important role in the school. There is no boss in ASZ. Everybody works freely and voluntarily. This school is not a government project. It gets no help and financial assistance from the government. Sometimes it gets help, financial assistance and class materials from kind, good spirited individuals and organizations. There is a plenary assembly every 2 to 4 weeks. There are various working groups carrying out different tasks in the school. Personal ideas can be realized in ASZ. Own ideas are also welcome to move the school forward.

Bigakkō 美学校
1969 Tokyo
Alternative art school founded by radical publishing house Gendaishichō-sha. Bigakkō was founded as a response to the traditional and conservative art world in Japan. It offered a space for experimental and radical art and employed radical Japanese artists of the 1960s, such as Nakanishi Natsuyuki and Akasegawa Genpei (of Hi Red Center), the painters Nakamura Hiroshi and Kikuhata Mokuma (of Kyushu-ha), and Matsuzawa Yutaka (a forerunner of Japanese Conceptualism). Visiting lecturers included Shibusawa Tatsuhiko (translator of the Marquis de Sade), Hijikata Tatsumi (a founder of Butoh dance), and Nakajima Yoshio. Since 1975, Bigakko is a popular non-profit art school that offers a range of courses, including painting, sculpture, photography, music, theatre, philosophy, literature and social science. Bigakko’s curriculum is flexible and experimental, students are encouraged to explore their own interests and develop their own artistic vision. The school offers opportunities for students to exhibit their work and to collaborate with other artists. Bigakko has a diverse student body and strong sense of community. Students and faculty are encouraged to work together and to support each other’s creative endeavours.

BFAMFAPhD
2014 New York
BFAMFAPhD makes art and creates reports and pedagogical tools to advocate for cultural equity in the United States. BFAMFAPhD is a collective of artists, designers, technologists, organisers and educators who work in the intersection of art, technology and political economy. They bring people together to analyse and reimagine power relationships in the arts. Of Supply Chains is a free resource for educators that investigates the life-cycle of projects: how materials are sourced, how labor is organized, how the artwork is encountered etc. Concerned about the impact of debt, rent, and precarity on the lives of creative people, BFAMFAPhD asks: What is a work of art in the age of $120,000 art degrees? BFAMFAPhD core members are Susan Jahoda, Emilio Martinez Poppe, Agnes Szanyi, Vicky Virgin, and Caroline Woolard. They invite contributions.

Black Mountain College
1933-1957 North Carolina

Bruce High Quality Foundation University (BHQFU)
2009-2017 New York

BHQFU was New York’s freest art school, a learning experiment where artists worked together to manifest creative, productive, resistant, useless, and demanding interactions between art and the world. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, BHQFU offered completely tuition-free courses on a variety of subjects during fall and spring semesters, hosted public programs and exhibitions year-round, and operated cost-free artist studio residency programs.

Cátedra Arte de Conducta
2002–2009 Havana

The Cheapest University
2015 Paris

A free and experimental school constituted through elective affinities and does not resist a tendency to merge learning experiences with œuvre making.  It infiltrates members’ practice or is infiltrated by it, extending personal research or enabling the invention of collective situations that produce knowledge and/or/as art. The project organises regular meetings, public talks, experimental workshops, research and practice. New members are welcome regardless of their age or state of studies. The goal is to allow artists to take the co-production and transmission of knowledge in their own hands. The written form isn’t necessarily privileged. The work of art, all mediums encompassed, and the exhibition are considered as many interfaces allowing access to knowledge produced. They also have a publishing house Donna Quixote Press, a follow up on the Cheap Talks, a lecture program initiated in 2016, where lecturers present and discuss projects in process, and a cycle entitled School Visits. that invites occasional guests to share their experience of school, among other projects.

City Lit Fine Art (CLFA)
2022 London
Part-time 1, 2, or 3 year studio-based course in central London for anyone looking for an alternative to HE that supports the development of an independent personal practice in a structured environment. The course can be taken as an alternative to HE Fine Art study and also support those with previous experience to develop and refine an existing practice. CLFA is written and taught by practicing artist/tutors with expertise in sculpture, painting, drawing, moving image, digital media, print, installation, curating, and contextual theory. Students explore contemporary fine art practice via a combination of creative methods, contexts, and personal enquiry. Working in small groups, students engage with practical workshops, creative research methods, seminars, tutorials, collaborative and personal research. These are structured to support the development of technical skills, contextual understanding, professional practice, and ultimately, the exhibition of self-directed creative work. CLFA offers challenging, interdisciplinary, and individual learning to students who are committed to developing their studio skills and an understanding of contemporary fine art practice. The course runs one day a week from October to July. All sessions are held in dedicated art studios in central London and basic art materials are supplied. Tuition fees are £2249 and concessions or bursaries available.

Conditions
2018 Croydon
Conditions is a one-year studio programme for 12 artists each year. It will give 24/7 access to studio space and structured critical conversations to develop each artist’s work, as well as encouraging collaboration and collective work on exhibitions and events. Conditions will offer participating artists a programme of talks, teaching and workshops from a wide range of Associates comprising artists, writers, musicians, performers, curators and educators. It is aimed at addressing the increasing cost of both studio space and education for artists in London, by providing an alternative model. Conditions will examine art education and art production and think toward new conditions. The programme is focused around a number of loose themes. The cost is £230 per month for 12 months = £2760 per person for the year. Conditions is co-founded by artist and educator Matthew Noel-Tod and artist David Panos. It is led by Matthew Noel-Tod, whose work in art education includes previously running the Moving Image degree at University of Brighton.

Continental Drift
2005-2014 New York / International
An experiment in collective autodidacticism that began in 2005 as a series of seminars with Brian Holmes and the 16 Beaver Group in New York, inquiring into geopolitical change and its local consequences.

Copenhagen Free University (CFU)
2001-2007 Copenhagen
A self-organised institution for research and knowledge sharing established in 2001 by artists Jacob Jakobsen and Henriette Heise in their Copenhagen apartment. The CFU was a protest against artists’ self-definition as accomplices to power in the prevailing conditions of neo-liberalism, a reaction against the commodification of knowledge and the corporate appropriation of education. The Copenhagen Free University made it clear that universities do not necessarily have to reflect the hegemonic structures of society; universities could be organised and based in and around the everyday knowledge and material struggles structuring people’s lives… Knowledge for us is always situated and interwoven with desire. The institution was dedicated to the production of critical consciousness and poetic language until 2007 when it ceased its activities.

Crit Club
2019 London
A place to see and share art. Check the link for scheduled crits and send a DM if you want to show your work.

Dark Matter University
2020 USA
An anti-racist design justice school seeking the radical transformation of education and practice toward a just future. Existing systems have not been able to transform away from centering and advancing whiteness, through their reliance on an implied dominant and racialized subject and audience. The impacts of that centering can be felt in the inequities that global extraction, racial capitalism and colonialism have created. Dark Matter University works inside and outside of existing systems to challenge, inform and reshape the world toward a better future. It is a democratic network that works to create: New forms of knowledge and knowledge production through radical anti-racist forms of communal knowledge and spatial practice that are grounded in lived experience. New forms of institutions along a networked resource distribution model between institutions. New forms of collectivity and practice. New forms of community and culture. New forms of design that open the possibilities and methodologies for designing the built environment. They aim to co-create new formal and spatial imaginaries that serve broader constituencies and consider multiple subjectivities.

Dark Study
2020 USA/International
An experimental program centered on art that takes up the work that the university prevents through regulation, intellectual property ownership and debt. Dark Study aims to teach art and design through materialism, history, economics, critical theory, and philosophy within the context of new technologies. Through a transparent, open methodology and a commitment to flexibility, Dark Study encourages the potential of artistic production for direct impact on a society in crisis. The programme intends to serve the underrepresented locked out of higher education and acknowledges the risk, precarity and failures inherent to pursuit of a creative practice.

Design as Protest
2020 USA
A coalition of designers mobilizing strategy to dismantle the privilege and powers structures that use architecture and design as tools of oppression. Co-organized by BIPOC designers who hold their profession accountable in reversing the violence and injustice that architecture, design and urban planning practices have inflicted upon Black people and communities. Design as Protest champions the radical vision of racial, social and cultural reparation through the process and outcomes of design.

DIY Art School
2013-2014 Manchester

DIY Art School Manchester is “a survival tactic” by Manchester Metropolitan University graduates. The school provides a support network for recent graduates. A platform for recent graduates and emerging artists to critique and develop their work. Its framework is in a constant state of flux depending on what graduates need and want from the network.

Engine ChatChat
2007 London/UK

An informal, supportive peer critique network for artists in London, UK and beyond. Set up by Elizabeth Murton after graduating from Goldsmiths to continue the conversations, atmosphere and support to foster an informal, supportive peer critique network for artists in London, UK and beyond. Chaired to a style and philosophy which is informal and stimulating. Keeping the groups small, constructive conversation is encouraged. Emphasis is placed on peer feedback in response to the artist’s own questions and concerns. The format can be arranged to suit location, artists and budget. Open to all artists, at any stage of their career.

Essential School Of Painting
2004 London
The Essential School of Painting is based in Bethnal Green and specialises in painting and drawing classes taught by leading contemporary artists.

Evening Class
2016 London

Evening Class is a self-organised design education experiment, consisting of 20 participants from various cultural and educational backgrounds. It is a flexible environment where participants can cultivate common interests, develop their research and collectively shape the class’s agenda. Evening Class takes place twice per week. Thursday evening talks and readings are free and open to all to attend. Evening Class is a self-supporting group. The expenses are decided collectively and fluctuate in accordance with the group’s needs. At the moment they amount to £30 a month each. If our intention was to challenge the selection processes of conventional education structures, then we should begin with the (non-)admissions procedure. Unfortunately it is not possible to continue this method indefinitely, so we are not currently accepting new members. We are trying to think of other ways to make our programme available to more people.

Fairfield International
2014 Saxmundham

Feminist Autonomous Centre for Research (FAC Research)
2019 Athens
is a space for learning, reflection, collaboration, support, exchange, knowledge production, political interventions, and trouble-making. Working across and against nation-state and continental borders, disciplinary boundaries, and institutional barriers, FAC returns to the feminist roots of autonomous knowledge production, challenging what counts as legitimate knowledge and who is granted the right to produce and receive it. Our feminisms are queer, trans, intersectional, antiracist, anti-authoritarian, always in plural, reflexive, and internally contested. Research areas: Intersectionality, Critiques of Power & Coalitional Politics; Mobility, Migrations & Borders; Art as Research, Visual, Performative & Documentary Knowledges; Sexualities & Genders, Queer Trans Feminist Perspectives.

Feral Art School
2018 Hull
A co-operative art school of professional artists and educators who encourage experimentation and collaboration. Feral Art School is takes place across the city in a range of venues. They invite students from all walks of life who have a curiosity for engaging with and making art work, regardless of previous experience and skills. Their courses progress from general introductory level to more advanced levels.

The Field
2021 Derbyshire

An artist community living and working in an ex-School in Derbyshire that welcome practitioners from all walks of life with a need to develop their practice in an environment that encourages independence through communal living. The Field provides time and space for artists to work autonomously on their practices and projects, whilst also benefiting from communal living, opportunities for collaboration, skill sharing, and proximity to the natural world. Residents are admitted by application on a rolling basis for a minimum of three months. Cost is £350 per month but dual occupancy or collectives are welcome to apply with an additional £150 per person. Formerly know as the Derbyshire Artist Resident Project (DARP).

Film Futura, No Evil Eye Cinema
2021 Ohio and New York
Alternative satellite film school that takes a decolonizing approach to profiling the past, present and future of film history, practice, and radical cinematic possibilities. A team of international film practitioners challenge the traditional dissemination of scholarship and discourse in a multidisciplinary structure. Takes place over seven weeks and is hosted entirely on their website. They welcome a global cohort of prospective students with all levels of film education, united by an interest in expanding the margins of the cinematic experience.

Free Black University
2020 London
The Free Black University is a hub for radical and transformative knowledge production. Universities hold a deep responsibility when it comes to racism, the knowledge that introduced the very ideology of racism into our society was born in British Universities. The fight to decolonise education has been going on for years and it has become ever clearer that more is required than what the current education system can offer. The Free Black University exists to re-distribute knowledge and act as a space of incubation for the creation of transformative knowledge in the Black community. The long-term vision for this work is to deliver free and accessible online education, an online library of radical writing, a journal, a press, a member’s space for emerging Black academics, a podcast, an annual conference and a hub with teaching rooms, book shop, restaurant and healing areas. Subscribe to the mailing list, contribute to the crowdfunder.

Free School of Critical Feminisms
2017 London
A week-long course that sees 16 students come together in an intimate and supportive community of peers to explore questions of feminist theory outside the imperatives of institutionalised academia. The School does not charge fees, with the aim of removing the economic barriers that often accompany events of this nature – barriers that affect women, queer and trans people of colour in particular. It is supported by the SOAS Centre for Gender Studies, with a contribution of £750. This money goes towards paying for lunches, printing posters, and paying for speakers who are in precarious employment circumstances. However, the Free School is completely autonomous; it is jointly organised by Jana Cattien and Rowan Powell, neither of whom are doing it in any institutional capacity. The organisers of this year’s Free School were participants in last year’s Free School. Likewise, the application panel for this year’s round will be made up of participants from last year’s round and so on, in order to build a network for free feminist education.

Free University of Brighton
2012 Brighton & Hove
Cooperative, community-led organisation that provides and promotes free educational events across the city. They aim to grow an alternative education system that benefits everyone, whoever they are and whatever their financial means. They offer free courses, practical workshops, introductory taster sessions, lectures, talks, film screenings, discussion and debate in a wide variety of subjects. They also offer validated, degree-level courses in philosophy and social sciences. Their aim is to turn public spaces into classrooms, enabling communities to come together to think, develop, learn, question the world around us and explore how it could be different and better.

Free University London
2019 London
Free degree-level humanities courses, lectures, talks, film screenings discussion and debate in politics, philosophy and social sciences. The tutors are university lecturers who teach subjects they are passionate about. Welcome those who haven’t been and are not currently part of other formal educational institutions. Based at DIY Space for London.

Free University of New York City
2012 New York City
An experiment in radical education and an attempt to create education as it ought to be, building on the historic tradition of movement freedom schools. First conceived as a form of educational strike in the run up to May Day, 2012, the Free University has organized numerous days of free crowd-sourced education in community centers, museums, parks, public spaces, and subway stations in New York City.

Free University of New York (FUNY)
1965-1967 New York City

An educational social enterprise initiated by Allen Krebs, Sharon Krebs and James Mellen in July 1965 in a loft overlooking Union Square. FUNY began as a home for professors dismissed from local universities for political reasons. Course topics included: Black Liberation, Revolutionary Art and Ethics, Community Organization, The American Radical Tradition, Cuba and China, and Imperialism and Social Structure. FUNY began as an experimental school for the New Left, built on models such as Black Mountain College, though it became closely aligned with the Maoist Progressive Labor Party. Tuition for the 10-week session was $24 for the first course while welfare recipients could attend for free. In  Spring1966 there were 40 faculty members and 250 students on 31 courses. After the first year, many of the initial collaborators left or were forced to leave, and it shut down a few years later after it was renamed the Free School of New York.

HA!  (hARTslane Alternative)
2024 London
An alternative MA Fine Art programme designed by artists in collaboration with hARTslane. Responding to discontentment with mainstream art education models, HA! provides artists with a focus on skill-sharing, affordability, and living/working life as an artist in London. The four month programme meets 1-2 times per week and includes crits, talks, workshops, visiting artists/experts, off-site visits, an interim show and final exhibition at hARTslane Gallery.

Hornsey College of Art
1880-1973 London
North London art school with an experimental and progressive approach to art and design education. On 28 May 1968 staff and students began a 24-hour protest over student union funds which turned into a six-week occupation. Manifestos published and distributed during the occupation offered a major critique of art education with calls for a review of the art curriculum. The protest sparked widespread debates and spread to other art schools. Hornsey College of Art was integrated to Middlesex Polytechnic in 1973.

Ignite
2017 UK
A group of seven women artists from Derbyshire to London who offer peer support, mentoring and shared group outings to arts events. They have external tutors to initiate professional development “action learning” as a working tool for their meetings.

Independent Art School
1999 Hull
Founded by Pippa Koszerek when she was a student, the school became a curatorial project after she and fellow course mates created The New Hull Art School as a protest against the course structure of fine art degrees. Championing a free and progressive approach to education, they set up talks, crits, performances and presentations.

Into the Wild
​2015 London
Alternative artist development programme that offers 9 months of collaboration, mentoring and practical advice for emerging artists based in England in the first few years of their practice. Into the Wild wishes to build more inclusive art worlds and actively encourages applications from artists whose experiences and practices have historically been sidelined. The programme includes an introductory weekend to learn more about each other and how to work together as a group; artist-led workshops, talks, activities and discussions curated by Artist Facilitator Sophie Chapman; mentoring sessions with artists at different stages of their careers; and opportunities to present work at Chisenhale Studios and elsewhere​. Into the Wild is run by Chisenhale Studios in East London. It was initiated by the Studio Artists, as a programme to support the next generation. Since 2015 Into the Wild has been financially supported by Arts Council England. In 2020 Into the Wild also received funding from Idlewild Trust.

Islington Mill Art Academy (IMAA)
2007 Salford

Islington Mill Art Academy was founded by a group of local art foundation students who believe that a traditional BA does not prepare students for life beyond education. It is a peer-led experiment into alternative modes of art education, tailored to meet the needs of artists striving to develop their creative practice alongside full-time day jobs. Founded in 2007, IMAA emphasises shared responsibility. A forerunner in the alternative art schools movement, it was set up in response to student fees and the debate around the relevance and usefulness of mainstream art education. The Mill’s ethos is based around an openness to try new things. It is a place to experiment and inquire; to translate arts education into something viable and meaningful in the real world. IMAA gives artists an opportunity to take control of their own learning through facilitation, practice and experimentation. Open to anyone who would like to be an artist and who is interested in taking responsibility for, and direction of, the way in which they intend to do this.

Juggernauts
2017 London

The Juggernauts are a group of 14 artists who share the same common feeling of struggle on driving a large beast of a vehicle toward a specific trajectory. The Juggernauts formed a peer mentoring group in London and meet once a month, to discuss work in progress and share positive feedback.

Knowledge Museum
1999 Bucharest
Lia Perjovschi is the founder and coordinator of CAA/CAA—the Contemporary Art Archive/Center for Art Analysis, an informal institution functioning under different names since 1985. Constituted as a tool for communication and education for the reproduction and recycling of knowledge, inspired by the need to fill up the gap in knowledge caused by Romania’s isolation during the socialist era. Lia Perjovschi also founded the Knowledge Museum, an interdisciplinary and educational project based on research initiated in 1999.

London Free School
1966 London

London Materialisms Reading Group
2013 London
Regular meetings to discuss a range of posthuman, new materialist, speculative realist, actor-network and object-oriented understandings that foreground the materiality of life and its governance. Approaches key or interesting readings in an informal and flexible way, with a brief introduction by one of the group. The meetings are open to all and have been running since May 2013 on Thursdays 6:30-8m at University of Westminster, Department of Politics and International Relations.

London School of Philosophy
2010 London
Founded by a group of seven lecturers formerly employed by Birkbeck College, following the reduction of the Birkbeck Philosophy Certificate programme. Provide philosophy courses that cover key areas of philosophy in an accessible way. The school is independent and receives no government funding, that offer  courses at competitive rates by keeping administration costs down.

LUX Critical Forum
2011 UK
Monthly discussion group for artists who work with the moving image to talk about ideas and practice in a mutually supportive environment, supported by LUX. Meetings are run and organised by group members. For artists who are no longer in full-time education and are willing to commit as a participant for a minimum of six months.

Machine Project
2003 Los Angeles

Manifesta 6
2006 Cyprus (cancelled)

The Margate School (TMS)
2015 Margate
An independent liberal art school with post-graduate provision and community outreach that is operated on a non-profit, self-sustaining basis in and for Margate. They are developing a range of short courses, technical courses and professional development across liberal arts and media disciplines ranging from MA courses to day courses as well as studios, workspaces and technical facilities whilst reaching out to the local community. The curriculum is guided by project-based collaborative learning.

MASS
2010-2012 Alexandria
Founded in 2010 by the artist Wael Shawky, with a great deal of institutional support, to provide independent study and learning for artists in Egypt. The 440-sqm space in the basement of a residential building in Miami, east-Alexandria was a shared studio, meeting, screening and performance space. Through its program, MASS Alexandria aimed to complement existing art education schemes, with a focus on the conceptual aspects of artistic production. Monthly workshops, seminars and lectures were led by artists, art educators and curators. Through the exploration of contemporary artistic practices, the program encouraged students to work closely with cultural, artistic and scientific ideas in the fields of art history and theory and inter-disciplinary studies.

MFA no MFA
2014 California

Artists of the incoming class of MFA students at USC Roski School of Art and Design, who in the fall of 2014 dropped out in protest against student debt.

Mountain School of Arts
2005 Los Angeles
Founded by artists, Piero Golia and Eric Wesley to create an educational community providing free instruction for an expansive field of inquiry. MSA considers itself a supplement and amendment to the university system. It is the oldest, continuous artist-run school in California offering an independent program with a serious and obligated faculty in a series of guest lectures on philosophy, art history, science and general studies. The school is open each year to selected students from all over the world. There are no fees for enrolling or for attending classes. The school runs from January to April in the upstairs room of a bar.

Network 11
2015 London
The Network 11 is a peer group of artists who are grappling with contemporary art practice. Taking their cue from the Pan African Connection and the BLK Art Group in the 1970s/80s, they came together as a new generation of professionals that will reignite relevant discussions brought about by older generations and raise new questions about the position of British-based artists of colour and LGBT communities. Recipient of the first Cubitt Peer Forum from November 2015 to May 2016.

New Alphabet School
2019 Berlin
A collaborative self-organized school for practice-based research. Working on the assumption that knowledge is not universal, but always located, or bound to a specific context, position or place, the school aims to to explore critical and affirmative forms of knowledge production in order to create solidarity between different approaches in theory and practice. Part of The New Alphabet and based at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, which offers a space for research approaches outside of academic, disciplinary or genre boundaries, seeking different methods of learning and unlearning in order to rethink the idea of criticism as a practice of shared responsibility and care. The school will analyze local infrastructures and institutional frameworks in order to study the conditions and logics of current forms of knowledge production. Is it possible to imagine an overabundance of multifarious fields of ways of speaking, knowledge production and learning practices beyond one universal matrix? Can common reference points and collective action be enabled without a potentially hegemonic center? How can knowledge be both locally situated and at the same time produce a new kind of universality? The project will continue with ten international events until 2022.

New Independent Art School
2013 Hastings

New School of the Anthropocene (NSOTA)
2022 London
The New School of the Anthropocene is an experiment in interdisciplinary higher education, which confronts biopolitical crisis. Founded by academics and practitioners in partnership with October Gallery, with the intention to restore the “intellectual adventure and creative risk that formerly characterised arts education before the university system capitulated to market principles and managerial bureaucracy”. The curriculum is an open-ended series of one-year programmes that includes courses on climate change, environmental justice and social movements. The centre explores affordable, flexible, transparent, degree-level education to shift away from reproducing the practices that prepare students for “bullshit jobs”, and instead forge a viable future. The school aims to rethink educational practices against a context of climate catastrophe and species extinction, economic depression and inequality: “We recognise the pitiless financialisation of the university world and the dismal situation of the student-consumer, for whom vast debt is a passport for crossing the threshold to adulthood and social participation. We observe the demoralisation of exploited teachers within a casualised workforce whose energies are drained by a technocratic culture of audit and administration. We witness the purposeful and systematic dismantling of adult education, the crude instrumentalisation of learning and a joyless culture of accreditation. Collectively we can do better. We see that higher educational institutions in their current form are ill-placed to foster the new critical and creative ways of working collaboratively that are necessary for social renewal and ecological recovery”.

New World Academy
2012 Leiden / Utrecht

NIFIS (Newham Institute for Interesting Stuff)
2023 London
An interdisciplinary, project-based educational institute of citizen science and peer learning, that also addresses ethical and philosophical aspects such as data privacy and misuse of technology. The institute offers entry level talks and taught elementary programming for small, single board computers such as the Raspberry Pi. Nifis also organises events such as the Newham Citizen Science Fair.

Night School
2017 Bristol
An alternative evening class run by East Bristol Contemporary (EBC) and hosted by Arnolfini in Bristol (and online 2020-22). Six 6 week course, each session is led by a different artist. Sessions incorporate an artist talk and practical workshop that gives an insight into ideas and processes that the artist explores, or introduces interests that influence the artist’s practice. Previous workshops have included collage, drawing on 16mm film, writing, mobile phone videos, 3D scanning, sound, drawing exercises, clay modelling, making ink, plaster casting, green screen recordings. As of Dec 2020 Night School participants are eligible to apply for New Contemporaries. The course is open to anyone interested in contemporary art, experimentation and exploration are key to the sessions. Night School might have particular relevance for artists who have been practicing for some time and are looking for fresh ideas, artists looking to meet other artists, students looking to apply to HE undergraduate or foundation courses or prepare university portfolios and interviews. Night School PLUS (NS PLUS) provides 1-2-1 input on the practice of night school participants in a smaller group that meets before the main night school. The visiting artist talks about an area of professional development, such as documenting work, applying for funding, designing a website, planning exhibitions etc. There are a number of 1-2-1 sessions available with the artist and Night School online coordinator Chris Alton. Cost is £85/£75 concessions (students, unemployed, asylum seekers, EBC members). Cost of Night School and NS PLUS is £100/£90 concessions. Prices include an annual EBC membership worth £12.

Nomad Art School
2015 UK

​Nomad Art School is an open, permanent, free, and itinerant Art School, where artists offer their knowledge, in person or virtually: no syllabus, no selection, no accreditation. The school is itinerant because it uses places and spaces available free to the community for the common good, permanent because, whenever possible, it aims to broadcast and maintain a record of all its events. Consequently, there is no certificate at the end of the course, because it is not a course, and so never ends. There is no syllabus, because content is offered by artists willing and able to provide it. There is no selection, because all one needs to do to be a student is turn up, and participate in lessons.

not/nowhere (n/n)
2018 London
Black and POC-led artist workers’ cooperative that provides access to film and media equipment, and training in skills and techniques for film, audio, performance and writing. Based in East-London, the co-operative is committed to Black and POC artists exploring new possibilities for owning the means of production of their work and finding sustainability in their practice. not/nowhere also provides infrastructural support for artists working in all mediums, and enfranchise people living or working in London to take pleasure in expressing themselves creatively. not/nowhere offers a sliding scale discount for the cost of community n/n subscription for anyone who seeks their programme as an alternative to formal education. not/nowhere’s values include accessibility, equity, sustainability and they are working to embed a culture of disability justice into their working framework.

Open School East (OSE)
2013 East London / 2017 Margate

A free, independent art school and community space that focuses on collective learning through the arts. OSE supports cultural practitioners at an early stage of their career to develop and sustain their practice, and enable young people and adults to learn new and transferable skills, develop their confidence as active learners and co-producers of OSE programmes. The Associates Programme is a year-long development programme for emerging artists. OSE also hosts development programmes for young people and a public programme of events, activities and short courses run by the Associates and invited guests. The school is a charity run by a board of trustees and sustained with Arts Council funding. It was founded by the curators Anna Colin, Sarah McCrory, Sam Thorne and Laurence Taylor with an initial backing of £110,000 from the Barbican and Create London.

OurGoods
2008 New York City / International
OurGoods is a resource sharing network to enable creative people help each other produce independent projects. Members trade skills, spaces and objects to get their work done without money. More work gets done in networks of shared respect and shared resources than in competitive isolation. OurGoods cultivates resource sharing through events, a Facebook group, a newsletter and partnerships with existing organizations. Emerging with the rise of so-called sharing platforms, OurGoods challenged them to share power and resources with their members. Proprietary, for profit organizations cannot constitute a “sharing economy.” Rather theirs is a “renting economy,” where an information commons has been enclosed. They support projects such as the Good Work Code and conferences and publications such as Platform Cooperativism that continue this conversation.

PACTO
2017 International
An international alliance of artists, artistic researchers and writers, gathered to discuss and explore collectivity, and to support one another’s individual endeavors. PACTO seeks to inquire how to work together and what that means through practice-led processes. PACTO is a growing intersectional, anti-hierarchical and decentralized group. Members live and work in London, Athens, Leiden, Amsterdam, Milan, and Porto. Their projects and working practice ranges from exhibitions to workshops, from discussions to collaborative writing and reflects their trans-locality. They investigate the possibilities of collective work as an alternative to individualized practice, and seek to facilitate collaborations with other artists, researchers, writers and collectives.

Peer Sessions
2009 London

Peer Sessions is a nomadic crit group providing a forum for the discussion of contemporary art. Monthly meetings aim to offer constructive feedback to practicing artists and engage with current concerns in art and culture. In addition to monthly crits, Peer Sessions organise projects focussed on facilitating and supporting artistic collaboration. Founded in 2009 by Kate Pickering and Charlotte Warne Thomas after graduating from Goldsmiths MFA. “From its beginnings as a monthly get-together for artist-led peer support, Peer Sessions’ remit has expanded to include residencies, exhibitions, educational and collaborative workshops for artists, and public education workshops on engaging in contemporary art”. Peer Sessions meetings are held monthly at 7pm on a weekday evening. In each session two artists present recent work for feedback. Any practising artist can join.

Praxis: fluent’s study programme
2023 Santander
Praxis is an independent study programme devised by fluent, a non-profit arts organisation that hosts exhibitions, public programs, a working-space and bookshop. The intensive in-person 15-week programme is a theoretical and practice-based learning process that dives into the systems that constitute our material and immaterial lives, encouraging applications from different fields of knowledge (artists, poets, curators, agroecologists, filmmakers, sociologists, theorists, choreographers, writers, philosophers, land-practitioners, performers, activists and other arts and humanities researchers or professionals). Offering insights and multiple perspectives on current thinking inside and outside the fields of art and the humanities, modules are devised by a range of practitioners such as CAConrad, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Stefano Harney, Dodie Bellamy, Yayo Herrero, among others. fluent promotes interdisciplinary collaborations and ecologies of institution-building in response to socio-political and cultural transformations: “What does it mean to be a small contemporary arts organisation in an age of extraction, racism, financialization, invisibility, extinction, nationalism, depoliticization and violence? How can we contribute to a desire for collective shift?”. Open to diverse voices and practices, fluent examines the potential of various forms of learning and unlearning for individuals and collective dynamics.

Precarious University
2016 Manchester

A collaboration between @.ac and Levenshulme Contemporary Art Centre (LCAC). “@.ac is dedicated to the salvation of the art school and, if not its salvation, its eradication and replacement as social form”. The school is defined as “a formless monstrosity… an entirely autonomous, democratic, non-heirarchical, rhizomatic, arts collective without any permanent members”. LCAC is a Manchester-based collective of artists and thinkers interested in the politics of social space. They transform marginal, abandoned and contested sites around the city into arenas of critical discussion and reflection.

Public School, The
2007 Los Angeles

A school with no curriculum. A framework that supports autodidactic activities. Classes are proposed by the public and when enough people have expressed interest the school offers the classes to those who signed up. It was initiated by Telic Arts Exchange, it was also set up by Komplot at Nadine in Brussels, Helsinki, Los Angeles, Common Room in New York City, Bétonsalon in Paris, Philadelphia and San Juan. The Public School website is down but they are working on an archive of the proposal, class, and event data, in the meantime you can view a timeline via otherpossibleworlds.net.

Q-ART
2008 London

Organises open-submission group crits that are open to the public. Q-Art is an art education research, publishing, and events organisation, which aims to break down the barriers to further and higher level art education and contemporary art.

Radical Education Forum
2010 London
A group of people working in a wide range of educational settings who meet monthly to discuss radical pedagogical theories and techniques, and contemporary issues of interest to those involved in education. They are interested in how these theories and questions can inform their practice. The Forum supports social justice in education, linking practitioners within mainstream educational institutions, community education initiatives, social movements, arts organisations and self-organised groups. Meetings are held on the last Monday of every month at the Common House from 7-9pm and are open to all.

Radical Pedagogy Research Group
2019 London
A public forum and peer-led participatory action-research project on alternative art education, radical pedagogy and self-organisation, with the practical aim of developing a self-organised alternative studio programme.

RAY|RAYO|RAYON (RAYO)
2023 Caribbean
Currently under development, RAYO is an interdisciplinary and experimental art education programme for the Caribbean, that emphasises the relation between art and emancipation. The region’s history of colonialism and dependency creates a number of obstacles for artists’ education and highlights the way in which colonialism continues to shape the Caribbean. RAYO aims to create an educational program that fosters support for artists and artistic practices, offering other options beyond the institutional academic and museum spaces that individualise artists and ignore the collective and communal potential for emancipation that is part of the region’s history. An initial series of meetings throughout 2023 will imagine the shape of this programme. The Caribbean Arts Infrastructure Map is a crowd-sourced initiative to create a network of institutions and community spaces in the region. The public is invited to contribute to this map via the Infrastructure List, based on research initiated by Natalie Willis. The project was convened by the Dominican curator Yina Jiménez Suriel and Puerto Rican artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, and produced by La Sociedad del Tiempo Libre, an artists’ co-operative in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

RED Learning Co-operative
2018 Oxford
A group of cooperators who conduct research and run collaborative education and training that leads to social change.

Rupert Alternative Education Programme
2012 Vilnius
Rupert is an independent, publicly funded centre for art, residencies and education with a mission to establish close cooperation between artists, thinkers, researchers and other cultural actors through transdisciplinary programmes and residencies. Rupert runs a residency programme, an alternative education programme and public programmes. The alternative education programme is a para-academic and interdisciplinary educational platform. It is does not grant an academic degree and seeks to fill the gap between art education and professional work. The programme promotes knowledge exchange and seeks to complement the academic field with self-study practices. All programmes are free of charge and funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, the Nordic Culture Fund, Vilnius Municipality, Creative Industries Centre Pakrantė and other private sponsors.

School for Poetic Computation (SFPC)
2013 New York
Artist-run experimental school founded to create a space for experimentation and collaboration in the interdisciplinary study of art, code, hardware and critical theory. SFPC offers classes, workshops, projects and residencies. SFPC was founded by artists and technologists Zachary Lieberman, Taeyoon Choi, Amit Pitaru and Jen Lowe. In summer 2020, in response to administrators’ handling of issues related to Black Lives Matter, the school transitioned to a more collective organization. The school’s mission is to challenge the capitalistic, heteronormative and patriarchal canon of social and computer sciences. It is cooperatively stewarded by artists, teachers and creative practitioners who are engaged and self-motivated in communities of practice in art, computation, poetry, critical theory, publishing and community organizing. The school’s culture is grounded in communal care and solidarity across social differences and participants are treated as collaborators and encouraged to determine their own educational experience. Admission is by application and tuition fees for 10-week classes cost about $1,200. The school offers scholarships and subsidised positions. Since 2020 SFPC does not have a physical location.

School of Machines, Making & Make Believe
2014 Berlin

“…keen on inventing one-of-a-kind hands-on learning experiences in the areas of art, technology, design, and human connection. We embrace art, creativity and exploring the latest technology and ourselves with openness and curiosity.”

School of Mutants 
2018 Dakar
Nomadic collaborative platform for art and research that develops multidisciplinary inquiries on the role of universities and educational infrastructures in the process of forming collective national identities in post-independent Senegal and West Africa. Taking the form of installations, field work, films, archive research, publications, public assemblies and collaborative learning, the project aspires to mobilize spaces for the production, transmission and pluralization of knowledge in a non-hierarchical way. Engaging with sociocultural, ecological and aesthetic mutations of the real the artistic process reflects on African futurism, anti-imperialist ecologies, and the legacy of Afro-Asianism, non-alignment and Southern solidarities. The project is inspired by the University of Mutants, an ephemeral learning space founded in Gorée, Senegal, in the late 1970s fostering non-hierarchical teaching and epistemic decolonization. The project hosted scholars from across Africa, Latin America and Asia, at a historical moment of increased Southern solidarity. Taking as a starting point the history of post-independence utopia in Senegal, The School of Mutants speculates on alternative futures through engaging with experimental pedagogical utopias.

School of the Alternative
2016 Black Mountain
An experiment in education and community. Aims to provide a passion-driven model of education that encourages greater possibilities for thought, creation and collective action. Instead of a traditional classroom environment, their campus supports a collectively built, self-directed approach to learning, which gives opportunity for all participants to learn and teach. Summer sessions are currently held on the original campus of Black Mountain College, originally called Black Mountain School.

School of The Damned (SOTD)
2014 UK

A free, artist-led postgraduate art course run by and for its students. It was founded as a reaction to the increasing financialisation of higher education, by its first year of students (Class of 2014). The school is constantly redefined by the motives of its students. It is decentralised and seeks to include and unify artists across the UK and is committed to running crits and events outside London, making use of students’ networks. The group meets once a month for the core programme, which consists of presentations from guest visitors, crits and a business meeting. Each year re-writes the manifesto written by the previous year, each year’s manifesto is published on the website. By the end of the year, students in the school have been administrators, promoters, assessors and the passers-on of their experiences and contacts to the following year, taking on every role it takes to run a school. The students also organise and collaborate on other projects, exhibitions, meetings, talks, interviews, workshops, which all form part of the programme of study. The student body selects two or three guests to attend the monthly critique sessions. Guests are remunerated for their time through the School’s Labour Exchange Programme. Each year group is selected by the previous year group through an open call. The next open call will be in Dec 2017, for the year beginning in Feb 2018.

School of Speculation (SOS)
2018 London
An independent and nomadic critical design school that aims to challenge current models of delivering higher education and push back at the rise of vocational, workplace-based training in universities. SOS aims to increase intersectional diversity in design education as well as promoting the Arts as education by bringing together artists, students and designers at the bleeding edge of critical practice. Through partnerships between museums, galleries, libraries and other public institutions, SOS aims to build relationships between the diverse latent pedagogy in our cities to create a different kind of educational offer.

Scotland Road Free School
1971-1975 Liverpool
A short-lived experiment in democratic education and free-schooling started by two Liverpool teachers, John Ord and Bill Murphy. The Times Educational Supplement reported in December 1970 that the school would have “no headmaster, nor hierarchy nor recognise any central authority, but be controlled by the parents, children and teachers together“.  In 1992 BBC made a film about the school called Lessons In Freedom: The Scotland Road Free School.

Self-Organized Seminar (SOS)
2011-2013 Iowa
A collective of graduate art students who engaged in “autonomous learning” and institutional critique within and beyond the university. They worked collectively to problematise the professionalization of their art degree, labor and atomization in the neoliberal university. SOS was a reading group and a research project, organising events on the relationship of academia to systems of domination and oppression.

Silent University
2012 London / Europe
An alternative school for refugees and asylum seekers set up by Turkish artist Ahmet Ögüt during his residency at the Tate Modern 2012 and now runs courses in several European countries.

Six Minutes Past Nine
2024 International
An online, postgraduate-level educational platform designed for artists working in digital and virtual landscapes. The platform offers new media courses and aims to nurture development, research, and learning through innovative approaches, blending traditional and digital art forms. Hybrid Realities: Lab is a pilot alternative pedagogical pathway that caters to the evolving needs of artists in a digitised world, with a focus on research, practice, collaboration, studio time and output. This 7 week intensive artists practice development course takes place online and is supported by an international and interdisciplinary team of partners who are based in the UK, Luxembourg and the US. In future they plan to offer subsidised places on the programme modules and their longer term aim is to provide a coherent alternative MA programme.

SOMA
2009 Mexico City

Social Science Centre (SSC) 
2011-2019 Lincoln
The SSC was an experiment in free, co-operative higher education. It was created as a critique of and an alternative to higher education in the UK.  Former members of the Centre are currently developing a Co-operative University with degree-awarding powers. The SSC offered free higher education in Lincoln and was run by its members. It was formally constituted in May 2011 with help from the local Co-operative Development Agency. There was no fee for learning or teaching, members contributed financially or with their time on a voluntary basis.

studioELL
2015 Brooklyn
studioELL is a Brooklyn-based, hybrid, transient, higher education fine art learning space that offers online and physical courses, residencies and programs in studio art. studioELL courses are offered to artists at any level of their career, regardless of degree or level of education. Courses are practice-based and are intended to help artists develop their ongoing studio practice. Part critique, part studio visit, part higher education, part continuing education, studioELL reconsiders the possibilities of education and support by constructing new spaces for critique and development, with the understanding that we all have much to offer each other throughout our careers.

Syllabus
2015 UK

A peer-led, non-prescriptive postgraduate alternative managed by Wysing Arts Centre (Cambridge), Eastside Projects (Birmingham), S1 Artspace (Sheffield), Spike Island (Bristol), Studio Voltaire (London), New Contemporaries (London). It is a 10-month programme centred around a series of intensive retreats which are delivered by artists, curators, writers and other practitioners and hosted by a partnership of six England-wide nonprofit visual arts organizations. “Networks” and “conversations” are two of the most frequently used words by those describing the Syllabus. The curriculum is intended to foster critical engagement with artists’ practices and what it means to be an artist now and as such will adapt with each iteration. Partner organizations host retreats at roughly two-month intervals, starting and ending at Wysing. Between each retreat, the artists are assigned readings and maintain discussions, sharing suggestions for future weekends. Tuition is £3000, due to Wysing Art Centre’s Arts Council England funding, Syllabus participants pay only £500, plus an estimated additional £500 for travel.

The Other MA (TOMA)
2015 Southend-on-Sea

TOMA is a response to the fact that many artists who wish to continue their learning and critical discourse with peers are unable to access most current MA provisions for a number of reasons. Designed to fit the everyday lives of contemporary working artists TOMA is a space to work and develop practice within a critical framework for postgraduate level. TOMA is an unaccredited MA in the traditional sense, but provides a programme of learning that benefits the practice of artists in the same way. A socially engaged model, which works as an artist led co-operative, TOMA takes on parts of the structure of a standard art MA, but is also responsive to its artists. Participants directly steer the study programme, choosing those who comes to teach on it and the topics explored. Funded by its participants TOMA costs £75 per month towards visiting artists, lecturers, practical workshops, a personal tutor, offsite projects, exhibitions, a programme co-ordinator and bookable spaces to make work. TOMA is transparent to participants showing where their money goes each month.

TheAntiMA
2019 Brighton
Peer lead, collaborative programme that meets monthly at Coachwerks in Brighton. The aim is to provide workshops, lectures and experiences that help the participants learn more about their practices, the industry and arts education away from the restraints of an institution. They are all practicing artists, designers, recent graduates or educators.

Trade School
2009 New York / International
Trade School is a non-traditional learning community that runs on barter. We celebrate local wisdom, mutual respect, and the social nature of exchange. The Trade School network is a collective of self-organized barter-for-knowledge schools across the world. Trade School began January of 2009 as an experiment by a group of New York City artists (Caroline Woolard, Rich Watts, and Louise Ma) who built OurGoods, a resource sharing network for the creative community. They received an opportunity to work with a storefront, and came up with barter for knowledge. Over the course of 35 days, more than 800 people participated in 76 single session classes. Classes ranged from scrabble strategy to composting, from grant writing to ghost hunting. In exchange for instruction, teachers received running shoes to mixed CDs to flowers. In 2012, Or Zubalsky joined the team and built an open-source web platform to share with interested local organizers. Today, a collective of local Trade School organizers in different cities across the world organize the project.

Turf Projects Feedback Sessions
2013 Croydon
Free feedback sessions take place at the end of each month, led by a different artist each time – usually around lunchtime or dinnertime. A chance to get feedback on your work from a practicing artist in a supportive and friendly environment. All kinds of creative work are welcome, whether you’re an experienced artist or just starting out.

Turps Banana
2012 London

Turps Banana is a painting school, art magazine, gallery and studios in South East London focused on painting. The Turps Studio Programme supports mentoring, peer-led learning and invited artists/speakers within an open studio environment. The Correspondence Course is a year long programme of one to one online mentoring with an assigned tutor. Turps Surgeries are individual and group tutorials at Turps Studios. The core programme is led and delivered by Marcus Harvey, Phil Allen and Helen Hayward. In 2021, Turps launched the MASS Sculpture Programme where participants can apply for a studio space during the course.

Undercommoning Project
2015 North Amercia
Network of radical organizers within, against, and beyond the neoliberal, (neo)colonial university in North America. The network provides common resources on alternatives to gentrification, commercialization, rising student debt and tuition, low wages for university staff and contract labor, and the academy’s attempts to hold a monopoly on the production of knowledge. They work in the tradition of militant inquiry: bottom-up collective learning dedicated to building community capacities for radical social change. They support alternative projects, host encounters and disseminate information and resources to help build solidarity around radical and marginalized forms of knowledge and to sustain and amplify the undercommons; networks of struggle, study and creativity that exist within, outside and in spite of the university.

unitednationsplaza
2006-2007 Berlin

University for Strategic Optimism
2010-2013 London
A nomadic university with a transitory campus, based on the principle of free and open education, a return of politics to the public, and the politicisation of public space. The UfSO operated as a framework for the collective production of political activity, as a space for study, discussion and collective writing, as well as delivering a course of performative lecture interventions in public spaces ranging from banks to supermarkets. “As our university buildings are being boarded up we inhabit the bank as public space. Not just a public space but the proper and poignant place for the introductory lecture to our course entitled ‘Higher Education, Neo-Liberalism and the State’. We will take up only five minutes of your time for our inaugural lecture but will reconvene in different locations on the dates to be found on the syllabus that should be circulating” —University for Strategic Optimism Inaugural lecture, Lloyds TSB, Borough High Street, 24 Nov 2010.

University of Openness (Uo)
2003~2009 London
The Uo was a self-institution for independent research, collaboration and learning. It emerged as a response to the introduction of ‘top up fees’ in UK higher education (2003), and the increasing tendency of universities to prioritise commercially sponsored research (and to allow that research to become intellectual property of the sponsors), with the conviction that free educational institutions were more needed than ever. The Uo provided a framework for individuals and organisations to pursue their shared interests in emerging forms of cultural production and critical reflection such as unix, cartography, physical and collaborative research. The Uo was a user-led facility of learning and research. It was based at Limehouse Town Hall, with many temporary physical campuses and online presences. The Uo ran a core curriculum with regular classes. Anyone could study at the UO, in accordance with the Uo Charter and any member could start a faculty to socialise their research. Faculties included Collaborative Research, Physical Education, Uo Climbing Club, the Faculty Of Problem Solving, Faculty Of De-Colonialisation, Faculty Of How To, and many others. Facilities included a media-lab, map room, library, wikis, a wireless industrial unit, and other distributed campus services. The Uo was administered by an orgiastic board with a floating Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and self-elected members of various denominations. The Uo maintained a list of Sister Universities and other Sister Organisations.

University of Rojava (UoR)
2016 Qamişlo
The University of Rojava was founded in the midst of war and conflict in Rojava/North and East of Syria and is considered an outcome of the Rojava Revolution. The UoR offered an opportunity for students who had to suspend their education due to forced migration as a result of the conflict in Syria. UoR takes the universal experiences in higher education as a model and adopts the history, social values and philosophy of Mesopotamia. Using modern techniques in scientific and academic work, the UoR believes that the concept of education in the Middle East should be redefined because authoritarian models of education create dogmatic beliefs and are one of the reasons behind the conflicts in the Middle East. The UoR aims to create a researching, creative, free and freedom-seeking society and personality that believes in collective work and studies regional and international phenomena, and produces and uses scientific research and knowledge. The primary goal of the UoR is to graduate individuals who are able to undertake and complete all social and political duties with their scientific, social, and ethical background. The UoR also aims to make the connection between science and life more visible.

VOID Art School
2006-2013 Derry-Londonderry
An artist-led model autonomous Art School existing outside of curriculum based schooling and formal education to address the lack of Higher Education provision in Derry-Londonderry.

Warehouse Art School (WAS)
2013 Oxford
A non-accredited course run by artists for artists, offering an affordable alternative to Higher Education, with a focus on the development of individual practice in a structured and flexible environment. Originally established in 2013 at OVADA, WAS is currently based at art-sauce in East Oxford. WAS has no academic qualification requirements. The only requirement is enthusiasm, determination and curiosity. Participants also benefit from working within the setting of a contemporary arts organisation.  

Workers’ Educational Association (WEA)
1903 England / Scotland
Voluntary charity providing accessible adult education for communities, including basic maths, English and IT skills for employment, courses to improve health and wellbeing and creative programmes.

Women’s School of Planning and Architecture (WSPA)
1974-1981 United States
An experimental, non-hierarchical, participatory education programme co-founded by Katrin Adam, Phyllis Birkby, Ellen Perry Berkeley, Bobbie Sue Hood, Marie Kennedy, Joan Forrester Sprague, and Leslie Kanes Weisman to provide  alternative, active learning experiences for women interested in the built environment, regardless of academic background or training. WSPA’s pedagogy emphasized both personal transformation and social change.

Young Blood Initiative
2014 Amsterdam 
An international community of artists that showcases collaborative practice, creating a community where artists can explore other ways to create, acting as a platform where they can experiment to go outside of their usual practice and to play. Wake Up & Smell the Tear Gas! was a public art programme held in 2020 to explore the role of art in that moment of unrest and the relationship between art and activism, with exhibitions, open studios, workshops, conversations, discussions, performances. YBI currently has bases in Amsterdam, London and Berlin, with about 60 creatives in the network.