OCA preloader logo
We're all in this together - The Open College of the Arts
Explore #WeAreOCA
Skip Navigation
We're all in this together thumb

We're all in this together

‘The Extreme East Anglia’ Group consists of members across disciplines including textiles, fine art and photography.
They are an independent student led cohort who meets every other month to visit exhibitions and engage in open discussion and debate.
I caught up with them to ask about the benefits of such a group and the affect it has on the life of a distance learner.
Veronica, a Photography student says; it cannot be underestimated how much one’s self confidence, self-motivation and self-critiquing are tested with a distance learning course. I want it to be a pleasure but to stretch me; I want it to be a challenge but not to deflate me and most of all I want to develop my creative skills.
To ask this of oneself in isolation is demanding. The tutor’s role takes on an inordinate importance but their time is limited and varied. This is why an informal sharing with others endeavouring to tread the same road can be so supporting. 
As a group, we are not high users of social media and have found our own answer to learning in isolation. Although only having spent a relatively short time together the benefit of meeting-up has been immeasurable. I love to see the original work of my fellow East Anglian students – textiles, paintings, drawings and photographs. We talk through the creative processes; we feel the textures and express our aspirations. It puts all those solitary “is it really worth it?” moments into perspective. Yes it is!
Louise, a Painting student agrees; It is so beneficial to meet other OCA students regardless of which course they are studying or what stage they are at. I always pick up useful information whenever we meet and am left with lots of food for thought. Mainly though I find the ‘get togethers’ highly motivating and come away fired up with new enthusiasm for my course. I definitely recommend trying to hook into one of these groups.
Textiles student Ruth contends; the isolation issue is the main drawback of distance learning for me, and the lack of opportunity to spend time with fellow students, in a social situation as well as in an academic one.  Our group is really helping.  It is also useful to hear other people’s experiences working with the OCA and all the different tutor experiences…the practical issues.
It is also excellent to be sharing our experiences and our work with people studying other subjects, other the one I am.  The cross over is, not surprisingly, very significant……
Check out the Geographic Groups forum on the student site to get in touch fellow peers in your locality, if there isn’t a group, set one up!

Posted by author: Joanne
Share this post:

31 thoughts on “We're all in this together

  • Hello Joanne, Just heard about the East Anglian group, that I hadn’t heard about before-I would be very interested in joining- I live near to Framlingham. but am sure that I could travel to where you meet. I have been a member of the OCA for a number of years and would very much like to meet other members who have the same problems of being cut off- especially as we live in East Anglia, and that is large!
    Shirley Haysom

    • I can’t find the “Comment” button so am replying, as I would also like to find out more about the EA group. I live in Capel St Mary near Ipswich and would like to know where and when the group meets.

  • Hi fellow East Anglians. I also feel isolated with distance learning, but in addition Norfolk seems so far from everywhere. Working alone can sometimes be not as pleasurable as one would like, and I certainly feel deflated at times. I would like to join to see if it can inspire me as much as it obviously does you. I am doing photography:people and place and live in Hoveton (Wroxham to most).
    Jim Cobb

    • Hi Jimm
      just sending an email to you hoping you can join us.
      from Veronica, one of the two photographers in the EEA group.
      – also see my response to Callum below

  • Hi Shirley & Jim,
    Not a problem, I’ll pass your details to the group who will get in touch directly, I’m sure they’ll be delighted to have you on board!

  • Hello, whereabouts do you meet and when please? I live near Stowmarket and am on course number 5. I have done Painting 1 and 2, Printmaking 1 and Graphic design 1. I am now on Printmaking 2. I have a friend who lives nearby doing Drawing 1 . We get a lot from meeting each other but it sounds a great group.

  • Hey
    Wasn’t aware of this group, I live in Wymondham and would be very interested in joining. I’m first year Photography student

    • Hi Cal
      I am one of the Extreme EA group and one of the two photographers in the group. I would be great if you are able to come along to join us some time. We meet at different places – either exhibitions or our own homes across Suffolk and S Norfolk about every 2 to 3 months. There is also a Study visit being arranged at the Sainsbury Centre very soon – so do keep an eye out for that in October. It would be really good if you could make it – details from Joanne at OCA. Veronica

  • I was surprised to find there were so few students near the south east (even cross disciplined) I attend an unrelated art class just so I can get some interaction with other like minded people as none of my family or friends are arty.
    The art (drawing/ painting) study visits all seem to be much further north, although I may attend a photography one that is near to me.

    • Hi Nicola
      I’m based in the South East (Farnborough in Hampshire). I regularly attend classes in London at a dedicated studio for interaction with other artists.
      I understand exactly what you mean about the study visits. There are plenty of galleries, museums and sculpture parks in the South East so I can’t really understand why there aren’t many visits (outside London) for the OCA students who are based around here.
      In the North of Hampshire in particular there are lots of things to see and visit as there has been a long tradition of arts and crafts here since Tudor times.
      Whereabouts are you based?

      • Hi – please see my comment at the bottom of the thread Lucy (sorry very new to this site! Finding my way….)
        Let me know if you would like to start a local group. I am 10 mins from Farnborough.

    • Hi All,
      I am based just outside Brighton in East Sussex. We do travel to Kent regularly for weekends away though.

  • I noticed that too, I’m in the south east. Maybe students should be shown in different regions on the OCA Site to give them the opportunity to contact like minded people in their area.

  • On the student site within the Comms tab, then coursemates there is a relatively new Student Locations Map. You can see where people are located that way.
    The study visit to the Sainsbury Centre will be on the 18 October to visit this show;
    I will blog about it in early September here but am happy to take early bookings.
    Others interested in joining this group might be best going through the student site and the geographic forum but again I will pass on your details to Veronica and Ruth if you would prefer.

  • This group sounds like a great idea. Isolation can get in the way of creating work. This feeling doesn’t go away even when you have finished your studies. Hopefully, you will make life-long friends and colleagues that will help you keep going when there is no longer a learning structure to follow.

  • Hello, Drawing One student from Stowmarket in Suffolk here. I relate very much to what people are saying about how isolating OCA can sometimes feel, even with my good friend and fellow student Stella Davies, down the road! I would love to be involved with your group. Just hope we’re not overhwelming you!!

    • Hello Sara, I am a member of EEA and live near Eye and I am a fellow Drawing One student. We have a study visit organised for October 18th at The Sainsbury Centre, if you are interested.

      • Hi Tanya – nice to know there is another Drawing One student nearby. I would be very interested in the 18th October study visit at the Sainsbury Centre. Lovely place to get together.

      • Hello Tanya, your name sounds familiar, I used to live in Eye and was Chairman of Art Guild for a while, have now moved to Capel St Mary (other side of Ipswich). Would be interested in going to Sainsbury Centre on 18th. Where does it start from and what is cost?

  • This group sounds like a really good idea. Is there anything like that going in West Yorkshire? I found for the Art History modules I did, the isolation did not matter, but having embarked on Drawing 1 recently, I really miss the exchange of ideas/information etc.

  • I originally enrolled on the Art History course, but found distance learning and the lack of contact with fellow students and tutors very isolating and dispiriting. It was so difficult to gauge the standard of one’s own work and what was expected. A group like this would have been so useful, and might have encouraged me to keep at it! Good luck, all you fellow East Anglians!

  • Hi all.
    @lucydeanoca I am 10 minutes down the road from you! If you would like to try and find others in our area I would be happy to help set up a local study/social group.
    I am just starting out on my first OCA module which is Painting 1 so am right at the start of my OCA journey.
    Look forward to chatting and possibly meeting in the future!

  • Just in case you missed my comment (couldn’t find the box before), would be interested to know when and where the EA Group meets. I am based in Capel St Mary near Ipswich and am currently on Pt 5 of Mixed Media, as part of BA course.

  • Hi Joanne,
    I have been with OCA for 5 years now doing a BA course on Textiles, and up to now done my work in isolation. I though think that meeting with a other students from The Extreme East Anglia would be a great benefit and fun also. I live in Hadleigh, between Ipswich and Sudbury. It would not be a problem to get together with group. Thanks for the information.

    • Hi Merja. I am a member of the group and I have just started to study Textiles with the OCA. I am not sure if you will get this or not. We tend to use our personal e mail addresses. Mine is rcseabrook@gmail.com. Please make contact if you would like to know more. Best Wishes. Ruth Seabrook.

      • Hi Ruth, I am currently doing textiles 1 and have had a few false starts already. I think that being a member of a group would be a fantastic help in keeping going. I am based in Rayleigh, Essex and would be very grateful to know if there are any more spaces available in a local group. I am not a techie person (this is my very first post!) but part of my new start is to try to connect more with other students online. Best wishes, Dawn Van Win

        • Hi Dawn. At the moment we don’t have restriction on numbers. It is a new group, and is an informal support group, but it seems to work well! If you write to my personal e mail address which is in the posting above, which I sent to Merja, I can forward the details of the next meeting. It might be a bit of a trek for you as it is on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. It would be great to link up with another textile person though. Get in touch. Look forward to hearing from you. I am on the Suffolk Coast, not too far away! I am not a techi person either!! Best Wishes Ruth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

> Next Post Judith Pinner
< Previous Post Generation
Back to blog listings