London is one of the world’s leading cities for creativity. Artists Tracey Emin and Henry Moore, editors Caryn Franklin and Jefferson Hack, and fashion designers Mary Quant and Dame Vivienne Westwood are just a few of the famous people who have trained at arts institutions in the English capital. Whether you have a passion for painting or an obsession with sculpture, these are the London art schools to have on your radar.
Part of the Royal Academy of Arts, founded in 1768, the privately run Royal Academy Schools places emphasis on carefully selected students. With only 17 pupils chosen each year, it offers a free three-year postgraduate programme with added bursaries for producing new work. Unsurprisingly, the school provides enviably large studio spaces situated within the Royal Academy itself and calls upon its own Royal Academicians and school alumni to contribute to an impressive programme of teaching and debate.
The studios and workshops at Kingston University’s Kingston School of Art come highly recommended – Dr Helen Charman of the V&A Museum called it “a hugely impressive and inspirational, world-class design facility abuzz with creative energy and technical verve”. Spread across three campuses, the school offers a wide range of creative courses, including architecture, art, design, music, dance and drama. The riverside Knights Park campus near the Kingston upon Thames town centre is particularly beautiful; it underwent a £12m refurbishment in 2012. The college also runs the Stanley Picker Gallery and Dorich House Museum, allowing students to gain valuable practical experience in the arts.
While established in 1959, Ravensbourne is one of the UK’s newest universities, having gained university status in 2018, and it prides itself on offering students practical, vocational courses in a wide range of creative industries, from fashion and graphic design to animation and sound design. According to the university, an impressive 90 percent of graduates go on to work or further study in their chosen field. The state-of-the-art building in North Greenwich is another highlight. Clad in over 28,000 shining tiles and designed by Farshid Moussavi from the acclaimed Foreign Office Architects, it features a variety of workspaces, high-tech creative suites, technology hubs, design studios and even a £16m, high-definition digital broadcast facility.
Mandi Keighran contributed additional reporting.