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The Open College of the Arts is 30 years old! - The Open College of the Arts
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The Open College of the Arts is 30 years old!

A lot has changed in the thirty years since Michael Young founded OCA. Cassettes became CDs, which then became downloads, and then streaming. Liverpool won their last league title just three years after we became a thing, and are still searching for the next one. Mario Brothers were all the rage… and still are, surprisingly.
Much has changed, including the mission that the OCA is on. We’ve revised our mission to ensure that we are still helping those in need in a modern world. We were founded to provide a route into creative arts education for anyone who wanted to. That hasn’t changed; we are still open, no qualifications needed to join us. What has changed is our focus:
“At the forefront of student-led creative arts education through open, enhanced, & supported distance learning, for an evolving society.”
We want to make sure that the courses we provide are relevant for the needs of today, that we help you learn with new, cutting edge educational research at the heart of our learning model, and that you, our students, are at the heart of it.
Some things haven’t changed, including our commitment to a route into higher education for everyone. The values that we stand for as an organisation, are all built around that; access:
Access to Higher Education without barriers
Access to high-quality courses that are relevant for the world we live in
Access to expert professionals who will guide you on your creative journey
Access to the support you need to be successful
Access to an inclusive organisation where everything we receive and provide goes towards improving the student experience
Access is what underpins all that we do. Access is how we keep going after thirty years.
This is the start of our advent calendar, and over the next twenty-three days we’ll be showing you how access goes to the heart of what OCA is and does.
Check back here at 12pm each day to find out more. #accessoca

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Posted by author: Craig Dewis
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2 thoughts on “The Open College of the Arts is 30 years old!

  • I think I must have been one of your first students at what was then Newcastle upon Tyne Poly in !988. (now Northumbria University ) my tutor was Anne Lydiatt and I have to say that she, and the course, turned me around and sent me a a new direction.
    I enjoyed it so much. I had my work on the front of the course brochure for the following year and that work was exhibited, with other student’s work, at a few venues, and then was purchased by the OCA. Around 10 years later I was told by David Davis (??) that it was still hanging in a corridor at the then headquarters in BarnsleyII
    Fame indeed for a working Mum (teacher) in Newcastle.
    in later years I went on to do a degree in Art ad Design, and still am obsessed with textiles.
    I came back to the OCA via Ailish Henderson who gave a talk at my local Embroiderer’s Guild. I loved her work and followed her, bringing me around to the OCA again!! A full circle!!
    Thank you OCA.
    Pat Dennis

    • Hi Pat, that’s lovely to hear! We still have our base in Barnsley, though possibly not the same one as when David Davis was with us. So pleased to hear that your creativity has continued beyond your time with us!

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