The Margate School, under threat of closure, launches fundraiser and opens possibly last exhibition

The Margate School community garden

The Margate School, which is facing imminent closure after several recent funding bids failed to materialise, has launched a crowdfunding campaign in response to support from the  community.

The School is seeking a minimum of £50,000 to stabilise its operation, continue current teaching provision and implement future plans. It is currently speaking with funders, partners and Thanet District Council to find an urgent solution.

Uwe Derkson (speaking) of The Margate School Photo Maria Gilbert

Uwe Derksen, Director at The Margate School, said: “Within two days of our appeal over 200 people have sent supportive messages to us, which have highlighted the importance of the School to them.

“The School is undercapitalised to continue to support and develop this unique creative community of over 100 professionals, students and volunteers, a provision and a community in and for Margate.

“We are urgently seeking to raise £50,000 through our Crowdfunder to keep the School open. This will give us the time and resources to continue our current teaching, studio and community space provision, saving jobs and raising the further funds we need to secure the School’s future.”

The independent postgraduate liberal arts school is one of Margate’s largest creative communities with a hub for more than 100 creative practitioners. Based in the old Woolworth’s building, previously derelict for 11 years, on Margate High Street, it has attracted some 16,000 visitors to exhibitions, talks and events annually.

Isle artist and recent graduate Lo Lo No said: “I gained a Master in Fine Art at TMS (The Margate School) as one of its first students, an educational experience that has been life-changing for my art practice and my sense of self and how I navigate the world.

“TMS has continued to be a second home and reliable resource for support, friendship, and usability with exhibition and production facilities. It would be a tragedy to see it not get the funding support needed to continue its growth to a sustainable enterprise that serves so many and goes above and beyond for the Margate community as a whole.”

The Margate School community with Uwe Derksen (front) Photo David Babaian

The Margate School currently has nine staff, 25 students, 17 tutors, 12 fellows, 42 studio holders, and a number of volunteers.

Thanet District Council Councillor Rob Yates said: “The Margate School is a brilliant local creative space that holds a variety of events and caters to a diverse section of society. The sense of community loss is devastating.”

Margate resident, Bob Gray added: “My children have enjoyed and learned much from the Margate Tech Club events. The development of those involved in art and technology are key to local economics and building accessible community resources to support them will only bring positive results.”

The Margate School has published a Q&A with answers to questions from the community.

A Crowdfunder page can be found at

Currently the School is staging what could be its last exhibition.

By Dominic Rose

Transmutation, an exhibition of alternative photographic processes, runs from today (January 12) to Thursday 19 January, 10am to 4pm, late opening Thursday 12 January 6pm to 8pm, at The Margate School Gallery, 31 to 33 High Street, Margate.

By Jenny Duff

Transmutation is presented by London Alternative Photography Collective and Thanet Alternative Photography Collective and consists of works produced using experimental, analogue and alternative photographic processes.

By Tina Rowe

The work on display has been selected via an open call and includes a range of disciplines, such as sound, sculpture, technology and performance.

Curated by:
Melanie King (TAPC, LAPC, studio holder at The Margate School)
Dominic Rose (The Margate School)
Hannah Fletcher, Diego Valente (text), Katrina Stamatopoulos (LAPC)
Emily Rose Parris (TAPC)

Appeal for community support as The Margate School faces threat of closure


  1. Should be renamed Margate school for expensive crap art,if it can only keep going by receiving handouts, it should close ,let the art lovers pay to keep it going,expensive waste of money

    • As I said when it was announced where is Emin? She sold an ‘artwork’ of hers last year for 2.3 million, she sold her dirty bed for 2.5 million. She professes to love Margate & art, yet like the skateboard park she wanted-but was only prepared to fund to a small amount, once again her arms appear to be very short & her pockets very deep-as this is chump change to her.

  2. looking at that photo of a ” gentleman ” its a load of nonsense that needs shutting down , and should not be funded anyway , there are better things to spend this money on given the times we live in – the sooner it shuts the better

  3. Perhaps it can be converted into a shop instead…

    It makes me laugh how Margate has supposedly been “revived”, yet it must be the only ex-Woolworths in Kent that never reopened as another store!

  4. Why isn’t Ms Emin digging into her piggy bank to help out, or are rather rumours she is also looking for a hand out to help complete her building project in Margate to blame?

    • Wouldn’t surprise me-multi millionaire, but still doesn’t want to dig very deep. Art world is very cliquey-clearly she sees this lot as ‘competition’ &/or beneath her & the problem for them is she & Turner are ‘cool’ & will always get the money over them.

  5. Only 25 students , so outnumbered by tutors and staff, hardly sounds like a viable organisation , more a niche pet project reliant on external funding. About time it sank or swam on its own merits or at least receive no public cash.

  6. Think i would want to see the business plan before I put any money in.

    The fact that it seems top heavy with staff, and only 25 students is a worry. Plus it seems to have built its business plan on our taxes, that is a red flag.

  7. Its not a school.. Its creative art space. Lets get that right.

    Sands heritage ex england rower bought then had funds from kcc.

    Its had money thrown at it in tax funds… If you say well we had funds at start now been bled dry.. Its begging. If you dont have funds of your own, investment and just use funds… Its bound to dry up.

    Anyone got more than 50k… It needs constant investment but its not a school

  8. “16,000 visitors to exhibitions”

    Charge the visitors £10 per head £160,000 that a simple way to earn good money

  9. TMS are supported by ESADHaR and wealthy students pay for postgrad tuition fees. Also, there is an income from the workshops and clubs. This could be a viable business in the right hands.

  10. I sometimes think the people who post replies on subjects like this are the type who only have something to say when it’s a subject they don’t understand and just want to spew their nasty, narrow minded nonsense at something. You know the ‘type’ “Oh it was much nicer here in the 50’s when everyone was the same colour, wore the same clothes, ate the same food, read the same newspaper etc etc. The cheerleaders of a UKIP wet dream.

    • Simon

      Quote “You know the ‘type’ “Oh it was much nicer here in the 50’s when everyone was the same colour, wore the same clothes, ate the same food, read the same newspaper etc etc. The cheerleaders of a UKIP wet dream.”

      I dont get what this has to do with a independent school ? No one had me ton the above in replys. It’s an independent school that had to raise it’s own funds. To simply rely on our taxes as a business model is wrong, hence the school is now in financial trouble.

      The school is no different to any other independent or private school they all need to raise their own funds.

      It has had over 16000 people to view the art work. Like I say charge a tenner per head that’s £160,000. Simple.

      I am all for multi cultural, nothing against it. Its seems a strange argument to use in support of a school.

      • Art ,what people complain about is art has to stand on its own two feet ,not on public money ,personally I think you mind has been twisted as bit,if you believe your statement ,there were more choice of papers around in the 50s,not everyone wore the same type of clothes and yes there were less other than white faces ,because mass migration had happened or was just starting ,contacts first before opening your mouth

    • Bang on Simon.

      Most wouldnt know what art was if it was tattooed on thier foreheads.

      The Philistines originated in Thanet it would/might seem.

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