Open College of the Arts and UCA celebrate 30 years of creativity


30 years after Michael Young, Lord Young of Dartington, announced the foundation of the Open College of the Arts (OCA) at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, OCA Principal Will Woods and University for the Creative Arts (UCA) Vice-Chancellor Professor Bashir Makhoul are inviting former OCA students to join them in celebrating 30 years of creativity through distance learning. OCA became part of the University for the Creative Arts, the UK’s number one specialist university for the creative arts, in 2016.

To launch the campaign, OCA students and tutors joined the Principal and the Vice Chancellor at the gallery@oxo on London’s South Bank. Showcase, a week-long exhibition of student and alumni work, will open at the gallery on 24 October. The public exhibition, the culmination of OCA’s 30th anniversary campaign, will champion OCA’s and UCA’s commitment to making university-level creative arts study accessible for everyone.

The nine-month campaign, which coincides with UCA’s 150th anniversary, will give students and alumni the opportunity to feature in films, exhibit in the #weareOCA30 online gallery, and download special release online courses on subjects from photography to fine art.

Will Woods said: ‘There are thousands of adults all over the country with the ambition to study the creative arts at higher level but whose personal circumstances mean that studying full-time at a campus university is out of reach. OCA is for them. If you have studied with OCA in the past, no matter how long ago, we’d love you to get in touch and tell us where your creative journey has taken you.’

OCA Principal Will Woods also announced a 30th anniversary bursary to support a student through an OCA undergraduate degree programme. The bursary will be funded from an auction of 30 individual artists’ book editions of a collection of 30 essays on creativity being commissioned as part of the campaign.