The Warehouse Alternative Art School in Oxford

Continuing Practice Course

Recruiting for 20/21 course starting in September 2020


Now entering its eighth year, this is a non-accredited course run by artists for artists, offering an affordable alternative to formal Higher Education courses. It offers a focus on the development of an individuals’ practice within a structured yet responsive course structure and gives practitioners a chance to concentrate on developing their work within a flexible environment. Uniquely, participants will benefit from working within the setting of a dynamic contemporary arts organisation with a full and varied programme of exhibitions and events.

The Warehouse Art School aims to provide a stimulating environment where participants are encouraged to take risks in their work and are supported in their continuing professional development through a programme of critical and practical teaching, delivered through projects, workshops, collaboration, networking and talks. Participants are encouraged to take advantage of the additional classes offered by OVADA including Life Drawing and Experimental Drawing and Contemporary Painting as well as various digital media courses.

At its heart the Warehouse Art School (WAS) course is based on a shared peer to peer arrangement within a structure developed over the previous years experience.

The core teaching day for the course is Wednesday (10am – 4pm), but the timetable also includes some Thursdays. The warehouse is ideally located only a few minutes walk from Oxford City Centre bus routes and Oxford Train Station. The warehouse is also within walking distance of a number of interesting galleries including Modern Art Oxford, The Ashmolean Museum, Pitt Rivers Museum, the Jam Factory, Old Fire Station and the gallery at the Said Business School.

The course is aimed at artists wishing to consolidate, develop and professionalise their Fine Art practice at any stage of their career. There are no formal entry requirements, however it is essential that students must show commitment to the aims of the course and demonstrate an appropriate standard of work.

The number of participants will be limited to 12 artists per year in order to allow for ample tutorial time and a uniquely student-led approach.

This is called a challenge

The course made me ask questions, and explore themes for which the answers didn’t always come straight to me. This is called a challenge, I guess.

Gabriele Kern

WAS has been pivotal

WAS has been pivotal In helping me find my voice. It has challenged me to think out of the box and interact with fellow artists whose work and ideas constantly shake up my practice and challenge me to create more thought provoking work

Adriana May

Starting the WAS course

Starting the WAS course one year in September and finishing the following year in July, has changed me for good. This sounds dramatic. Actually it is. I have tapped into resources I didn’t know I had. There is no point of return.

Gabriele Kern


The group was of a good size. There is a strong focus on sharing experiences which enhances the comradeship and ultimately one’s own creative development.

Gabriele Kern


Warehouse Art School and OVADA have been invaluable in my professional development as an artist.

Lisa Bates

being thrown in at the deep end

More than once I felt like being thrown in at the deep end when a project brief landed in front of me. The tutors showed sensitivity and patience in extracting which direction each person could move.

Gabriele Kern

close community

WAS offers a close community of peers and mentors to inspire, challenge, collaborate with and create alongside, in a way I’ve not found anywhere before.

Lisa Bates

A very useful opportunity

A very useful opportunity to meet other practicing artists for exchange of ideas

Former student

A very positive dimension

A very positive dimension of being at OVADA is the spin-off of being part of a dynamic art community within Oxford

Former student

structure and guidance

The structure and guidance – balanced with openness and an environment that fosters experimentation – has supported me to both expand and consolidate a sustainable practice, and in turn, better understand my individual artistic voice.

Lisa Bates

Course Outline 

Projects: In the first two terms participants will work on a series of projects aimed at allowing a range of approaches and ideas around contemporary art. At the end of each project the group will critique the work and share ideas. The final summer term will allow time to explore a self-directed project culminating in an exhibition in OVADA’s warehouse.

: One-to-one tutorials and mentoring sessions will be offered on a regular basis throughout the year. The focus of tutorials will be the consolidation of a personal art practice.

Group Critiques: Regular sessions to present and analyse work will build confidence and encourage participants to give and receive feedback from the peer group as well as from tutors.

Talks by Visiting Artists: The Warehouse Alternative Art School is very proud of its visiting artists and talks series, with practitioners coming from varied backgrounds ranging from, painting, sculpture and installation, to performance, printmaking and photography and jewellery. Past talks have included: Jumana Hokan, Pat Jeffs, Angela Stauber, Holly Slingsby, Cally Trench, Cai Yuan, Saad Qureshi, Jenny Moore, Tommy Watkins and Guy Reid, amongst many others. Exposing participants to different ways of working is a key element to the course and getting them to think outside of their usual practice is developed through talking to and collaborating with different artists.

Professional Development Sessions: Writing skills for statements, biographies and CVs, will assist with proposals for gallery applications or further study. This process will also help to contextualise each person’s practice. 

Portfolio Advice: Participants are offered a full Portfolio Review including support in documenting their work including digital photography skills as an intrinsic part of the course. Participants are also encouraged to share skills and run workshops in their areas of expertise as part of the peer to peer ethos of the course.

Gallery Visits: 
Visits to relevant exhibitions and festivals in Oxford, London and further afield will be arranged with a specific art-related agenda, tailored to suit the developing interests of the group

Study Trips (costed separately): An initial 3 day trip in September / October 2020 will have a UK destination. Past destinations include the Liverpool Biennial, Hull (UK City of Culture), Bristol, Leeds (Including Yorkshire Sculpture Park), Manchester and Birmingham. This is a valuable time to connect with the group and see exhibitions. In the Spring Term the Warehouse Arts School undertakes a trip to a European City with past destinations including Berlin, Naples, Lisbon, Bilbao, Madrid and Rome. These trips also provide research material for a project related to some aspect of the visit.

Residencies and Offsite Projects: The Warehouse Art School is always looking for new and exciting opportunities for collaborations. These have included a student-led project at Modern Art Oxford, a pop-up exhibition at the Pitt Rivers Museum, a community project with a local primary school and an Oxford-based empty shop installation.

Artist Networking: There is a diverse and broad network of artists and designer makers practicing in Oxfordshire. Participants are encouraged to develop and expand these networks, including the strong connections with many partner organisations and galleries in Oxford. OVADA’s series of talks, residencies and Associate events also create opportunities for participants to meet and work alongside established practitioners.

A Group Exhibition at OVADA: In the third term, course participants focus their attention on a self-directed work for an exhibition at the OVADA’s warehouse space. They are given full support both in the planning stages as well as in the hanging and marketing aspects of the show. 

The course tutors are experienced curators and will be on hand during all stages to make sure each participant’s work is presented in the best way possible. Tutorials, group critiques and artists talks continue during this period to ensure an ongoing dialogue.

Accessibility: The Warehouse Art School prides itself on tailoring the course to individual needs.

 To discuss personal requirements please contact the OVADA team:

Archive of past End of Year Shows: