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