Students Staff

Arts Education

Our post-16 programme is designed to challenge and equip learners with the knowledge and information they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond. It supports your students in their journey to higher education, providing them with a clearer understanding of university life whilst giving them tangible experience to reflect in their UCAS personal statements.

Colleges and Sixth Forms in and around Essex can contact us in order to access our programme. All of our projects support schools and colleges who are currently on an Artsmark journey.

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  • Caroline Walker Exhibition and Supporting Workshop

    This autumn, Art Exchange will host a series of paintings by Caroline Walker titled ‘Home’. Each painting depicts a less familiar portrayal of the refugee crisis. Walker met and photographed five women living in temporary accommodation before making paintings of each in her studio. These quietly intense paintings give a sense of the powerful individual stories behind the immigration statistics.

    To run alongside the exhibition, we are offering groups of KS4 students the opportunity to take part in a hands-on workshop led by local artist Jane Fredrick. Students will explore the themes and style of Walker’s work and produce a number of creative responses.

    The programme for the day can be tailored to suit your students. This can include a lightning talk by an Art Historian and a tour of the campus.

    The exhibition runs from 26th September to 3 November 2018.

    Dates available

    • 30 October
    • 31 October
    • 1 November

    Other dates available upon request.

    Contact Kate Beckwith, Arts Education Manager at

  • Young Reviewers

    Young Reviewers is an independent project designed for KS5 students interested in performance and journalism. Armed with a free ticket to a production/screening at the Lakeside theatre, students write a review, submit their work and will receive individual feedback from the department.

    We’ve designed a handy resource to help them understand the key points to look out for during a performance. We’ll showcase the best reviews on our Lakeside Theatre website.

    Share this opportunity with your students who simply need to download a Young Reviewers Pack (.pdf).

  • Masters Exhibition and supporting workshop

    We offer bespoke visits to Art Exchange where students will experience a broad range of contemporary art. This can be supported by an academic lecture or hands-on workshop led by an experienced arts practitioner.

    During the spring term, the gallery hosts an exhibition curated by MA students who gather pieces from across the world in response to a theme. It’s a fantastic opportunity for students to learn about our Curatorial Studies course and feel inspired to make the transition into HE themselves.

    • 5 June 2019
    • 6 June 2019
    • 11 June 2019
    • 12 June 2019
    • Other dates available upon request.

    Contact Kate Beckwith, Arts Education Manager at

    "The students loved the hands-on practical workshop and built up their confidence in responding verbally to a visual image."
  • Digital Makers Day

    Digital Makers Day

    Friday 13 July 2018, 9.45am – 4.00pm, at the University of Essex, Colchester Campus

    This fast-paced, highly interactive day will be a brilliant addition to the students’ personal statements in the run up to the UCAS application deadline. The students will be exposed to word-class academics, artists and the University’s own fantastic students, enabling them to consider university as a vibrant environment to explore and develop their passion for the arts.

    Digital Makers Day will allow Year 12 and 13 students to explore the arts through digital technology and computer game design. Young people will work with digital technologists and artists and, through visual art, video game design software and coding, they will experiment and explore the possibilities of digital creativity.

    During the day, the students will take part in a number of hands-on workshops enabling them to work collaboratively to respond to a creative brief. Students will be encouraged to try new things and explore their own creative practice in an entirely new way.

    Dr Matt Lodder, Art Historian at the University of Essex will deliver a lightning talk to the students to enhance their understanding of digital creativity and demonstrate artists whose work has been influenced by growth in technology.

    Groups of 15 x Year 12 and/or Year 13 students.

    • We encourage schools to identify students who have an interest in art, music, drama, dance and/or digital technology
    • Young people do not need to have prior experience in technology, just enthusiasm, curiosity and a desire to create something new

    To book:

    Places are limited, so please get in touch soon to secure your booking. Contact Clare Ruffle at or telephone: 01206 873883.

    "The art history/maths lecture…gave the students a taste of what uni will be like. The workshops encouraged our pupils to challenge themselves and think outside of the box."
  • Art and Design Teacher CPD 2019

    Our popular CPD enables teachers to share best practice and gain new ideas to take back to the classroom.

    This year we will be focusing on careers within the cultural and creative industries. We’ll look at how your lessons can demonstrate to students, parents (and colleagues) why art and design matters and the range of careers it can lead to.

    Our hands-on workshops, including digital arts, will introduce you to activities that can be easily implemented in the classroom. The day will leave you feeling inspired and optimistic about the future of arts.

    The day will also include a briefing around Artsmark: how it has helped schools, the benefits of the process and how it links to OFSTED SMSC.

    Further information will be shared closer to the date via this webpage, our newsletter, and Twitter feed.

    "Thank you for a fantastic day. It was inspiring and engaging…After attending last year's event, I spent a term trialling a new scheme-of-work based on raising boys' attainment and engagement. The data and outcomes prove this was a success - so thank you! I look forward to attending your fabulous events again in future."

    Contact Clare Ruffle at

  • End of year show

    Celebrating students’ achievements is at the heart of what we do. Each year, we offer a college/sixth form the opportunity to exhibit their end of year show in Art Exchange, our onsite gallery.

    Students are given complete ownership of their exhibition. They decide the theme, the title of the exhibition, select the artwork, hang the show, and even design the window vinyl.

    Working with the gallery’s art technician (whose plentiful CV includes experience working with galleries such as The Tate and Firstsite), the students will curate their exhibition, deciding how best to display their work. Our Curatorial Studies department will be on hand to offer support and provide context for the work they are doing.

    Once the exhibition is ready, the students will host their very own ‘opening night’ with drinks and refreshments for friends and family to help them celebrate.

    The exhibition will remain open for a week to allow the wider community to enjoy the students' work.

    Contact Kate Beckwith, Arts Education Manager at

    “For me this was the most amazing opportunity – it’s given me first-hand experience of the career I want to follow, such as alignment and hanging styles. It’s the things you might learn about in class, but you don’t realise are important until you’re in the space putting the pieces together to create a successful exhibition. I am very thankful…the experience we gained was invaluable!”
    Colchester Sixth Form College Student

Contact us

To find out more about our programme please contact the Arts Education Team at