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York School of Art 1

York School of Art returns in exciting 2024 relaunch

A new generation of aspiring artists will be given the opportunity to study at York School of Art following York College & University Centre’s decision to re-establish the prestigious institution.

The move means that, from September, students starting the relevant degree-level, adult and foundation courses will enjoy the distinction of graduating from the historic establishment.

York College’s 2024 School of Art will provide prospective students with the chance to enrol on a diverse range of art subjects from drawing and painting to dressmaking, digital photography and jewellery.

Undergraduate options, meanwhile, will include the opportunity to follow in the red carpet-footsteps of the college’s amazing Media Make-up alumni of Nadia Stacey, Freda Ellis and Lisa Parkinson, who have scooped an Oscar, Emmy and BAFTA respectively this year.

Founded in 1842 as Britain’s second provincial art school after Manchester had become the first, York School of Art nurtured the budding talents of prominent Victorian artists such as Albert Moore (1841-1895), his brother Henry Moore (1831-1893) and Joseph Alfred Terry.

William Etty, a respected artist from York who was a Life Student at The Royal Academy of Arts in London, was also a driving force behind the School’s establishment and would sometimes teach classes during those formative years.

York School of Art Logo
Nadia Stacey Oscar
Nadia Stacey

Initially known as York School of Design and situated in the Freemasons’ Hall on Little Blake Street (now Duncombe Place), it moved to Minster Yard six years later and changed name in 1892, following another relocation to Exhibition Square.

There, the School was damaged during a World War Two air raid half-a-century later and, in 1976, became part of York College at the post-16 education provider’s former Tadcaster Road site.

The merger of York College with York Sixth Form College followed in 1999 before the move to the current Sim Balk Lane premises 17 years ago.

York has subsequently become the UK’s only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts and now felt like the right time to recognise our historical connection with a much-loved institution and relaunch York School of Art by honouring the past and shaping its future significance.

With that in mind, the 21st Century York School of Art will incorporate 17 courses, including six BA (Hons) degree-level courses, eight adult education courses, an Access to Higher Education course and a Post Level 3 Diploma course.

Little Blake Street
Little Blake Street was York School of Art's first home

A full list of the provision can be found at the bottom of this article, with plans to further expand that offering in coming years.

All of those courses are already firmly embedded in the college curriculum, with students benefitting from the use of our fully equipped studios and workshops, expert teaching staff and a gallery in which their work and that of guest artists is regularly displayed.

Commenting on the decision to re-establish York School of Art, in the College’s rightful role as its guardians, Principal and Chief Executive Ken Merry said: “We are very excited to be relaunching York School of Art.

“The School has a rich history and legacy and drawing classes were even offered when our founding institution - the York Mechanics’ Institute - was opened in 1827 with 60 people enrolling during that first year. We are, therefore, keen to reconnect York College & University Centre with its past in this respect and emphasise our continued commitment to art education.

“It is also hoped that our already wide provision of Adult and Higher Education courses can be expanded on in future years with the introduction of further art-related degrees to greater encourage Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 students to continue their academic journeys with York School of Art.”

York School of Art 3
3 D Creative Craft University Centre student working in the workshop 2

Janet Dean, Chair of The Arts Society Ebor and a member of York College’s Governing Body, added: “As a passionate supporter of Arts Education, I see the relaunch of the York School of Art as a really positive initiative. The Arts Society Ebor was delighted to sponsor an award for a graduate in 3D Creative Practice last year to show our support for the Arts and for York College.

“I hope the relaunch of the York School of Art will spark the interest of young people and adults in exploring creative practice in the Arts, and I am sure this will contribute to a richer cultural experience across the communities we serve.”

The full list of York School of Art courses for 2024/25 is as follows:

Degree & higher-level (Bachelor of Arts)

BA (Hons) Graphic & Communication Design

BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Garment Technology

BA (Hons) 3D Creative Practice

Foundation Degree (FD) Media Make-up, Special Effects & Hair Design

BA (Hons) Media Make-up, Special Effects & Hair Design

BA (Hons) Film Production & Professional Practice

BA (Hons) Acting for Stage & Screen in collaboration with York Theatre Royal

Courses for Adults

Digital Photoshop

Digital Photography

Drawing and Painting

Dressmaking – Stretched Fabric

Dressmaking – Woven Fabric





Access to Higher Education Diploma in Art & Design

Art & Design Foundation Diploma