• Total Art School is a flexible education platform for artists and designers who want to invigorate their practice with a period of challenging experimentation. In small groups we will meet with leading practitioners at their studios and at cultural hotspots in London to develop new ideas and share critical thinking.
• Taking the idea that creativity needs only to be revealed to itself, there will be no transmission of knowledge by experts at Total Art School. In contrast, we will create sites of interconnected complexity where production stems from identifying interests held in common. Everyone brings his, or her, own expertise. Total Art School is a non-hierarchical community of practice.
• At Total Art School we are concerned with cultural contexts. We are not lone theorists. We are not hermits. We will work, eat and socialise together. We are based in London, one of the most vibrant, multi-cultural metropolises in the world and as a result aspire to the spirit of inclusivity, tolerance and diversity that the city represents.
• Total Art School explodes conventional teaching models where techniques such as printmaking, programming or painting, for example, are isolated disciplinary categories. Instead, we frame our occupations around modes of distribution. All our work pivots on the ways and means by which our creativity is expected to function in the world. Whether you wish to engage with your audience via performance, broadcast, publication or exhibition, our pursuits are unlimited by conventional educational pathways.
• There is no assessment at Total Art School. If you are accepted you have already made the grade. All critique is based on three simple questions: 1) What is it? 2) Why is it? 3) Who is it for? If you can answer these questions you are doing well.
• Total Art School is organised around an ethos of holistic learning in an era of heightened existential uncertainty. For as long as the social, political and cultural contexts for education continue to shift and change, we need to be evermore open to difference and to the notion that new forms of knowledge will undoubtedly be expressed in previously unimaginable ways.
Mazdaznan exercises on the roof of St Martins
Bauhaus Rules, BBC Television
Porcelin, combusted vegetation
Chartered Accountant with Peat Marwick (KPMG) and recently a member of the Executive Committee launching and building the Business Growth Fund, a £1.5bn investment firm, providing growth capital for British businesses. Previously, a founding partner of The Bloomsbury Group Executive Search and Tim Clarke Executive Search.
Lawyer and partner in Latham & Watkins’ London office. A number of industry appointments previously held, including deputy chair of the British Film Institute (2011-19). As an energetic supporter of the arts, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Years’ Honours list (2019) for services to film and television.
Artist, Professor of Fine Art and Programme Leader of Critical Practice at the University of Brighton. For the past 10 years Matthew has been researching the cultural history of British art schools in collaboration with John Beck. This work has been disseminated through public talks, journal articles, various publications and exhibitions.
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Design by Blamey & Searson
If you feel that something is missing from your current course, or if you want to supplement the teaching you’re getting with something different, we offer an alternative. If you are an overseas student thinking of applying to a BA or MA programme in the UK and want to give yourself an advantage, we can advise.•Enthusiasts
If you have a line of creative work that no one knows about and are wondering if it might be worth taking more seriously, test it on us. Why not professionalise your hidden talent? TAS welcomes applications from autodidacts.•Professionals
If you are a success in your chosen career, but get the feeling that your creativity is going stale, we provide a platform for change. Nowadays, few people will hold one job for life. Individual careers rely on a more flexible approach. With frames of reference such as ‘job satisfaction’, ‘survival’ and ‘happiness’ becoming evermore fragmented, it may be time to adapt.•Institutions
Conceived as a complimentary space for interdisciplinary teaching and learning, TAS can operate in coordination with existing structures. We welcome proposals from established schools for residency visits.
Total Art School mornings are spent in an artist’s or designer’s studio. At these gatherings formal presentations are made, followed by seminars, or practical workshops and film screenings, or playback sessions.
During the week, every student will receive a personal tutorial. At these sessions anything can be discussed relating to the work that you do, or are planning to do.
The cultural programme and closing events take place at weekends. On these days you will be free to work independently. In the evenings we will meet to go to gigs, galleries and/or public events.
Choose a package from the 3 options offered below. Then send us a PDF sample of your work together with a short statement explaining your background. We’ll be in touch soon afterward to talk to you in person about what you want to achieve.
Applications are encouraged from all creative disciplines, cultural backgrounds and ages.
Fees payable by PayPal or bank transfer. Please note that course costs do not include materials, accommodation, food or transport.
Places are limited to 10 students per week.
This package would suit existing students who need a new perspective on their work. The programme is divided into two parts. In Week 1 the focus is on ‘thinking’. We will help you develop an original idea for a new project that could be submitted as part of a BA or MA application. In Week 2 the focus is on ‘making’. You will put your new project into action and exhibit your work in central London. Candidates may apply for a comprehensive two weeks of study, or just the week that best suits needs.
Internal project review
Public exhibition event
Cancelled due to Coronavirus
20 July–2 August 2020
1 week £1,000
2 weeks £1,800
Throughout the year Total Art School conducts teaching residencies at existing schools. As an independent interdiscipnary unit it is possible to commission our expertise for fixed periods. The Mobile Placement Scheme is conceived to sit at the heart of existing structures providing opportunity to students wanting to diversify their experiences while studying on conventional pathways.
This package would suit established practitioners looking for a creative challenge. The programme offers a bespoke feedback experience tailored to participants’ specific needs. At the outset we review individual models of practice before looking at alternative examples. Each participant will receive a consultation session on his or her future work plans. If you feel that your career is stagnating, or if you just want to re-energise, this opportunity has been devised to rebalance your mindset and set you on a brighter path.
3–9 April 2021
1 week £2,000
Apply• Field Learning applications close 30 June 2020• Professional applications close 19 March 2021• Next notification before 6 July 2020