TOMA: The Other MA

Home > Projects > TOMA: The Other MA


September 2017 to September 2018


The Other MA (TOMA) is a 12-month alternative art education model based at Metal Art School in Southend-on-Sea.


At the start of 2016 TOMA launched a call out for 10 practicing, post-graduate artists to apply to join the first year of this new alternative art course in Essex. These new recruits started TOMA in September 2016 and you can



Applications for 2017 are now closed, but keep in touch with our events so you can get to know all about us in time for future applications!


TOMA is a response to the fact that many artists who wish to continue their learning and critical discourse with peers are unable to access most current MA provisions for a number of reasons – time, cost, work or family commitments.


Designed to fit the everyday lives of contemporary working artists TOMA is a space to work and develop practice within a critical framework for postgraduate level. TOMA is an unaccredited MA in the traditional sense, but provides a programme of learning that benefits the practice of artists in the same way. A socially engaged model, which works as an artist led co-operative, TOMA takes on parts of the structure of a standard art MA, but is also responsive to its artists. Participants directly steer the study programme, choosing those who comes to teach on it and the topics explored.


Fluid and open in its evolution, TOMA is an independent space where there is freedom to choose, learn and grow alongside a community of peer-artists. There are also opportunities for TOMA artists to get involved in the many projects Metal run as well as use their spaces to research and make work.


Funded by its participants TOMA costs £75 per month to attend which goes directly and wholly towards paying for visiting artists, lecturers, practical workshops, a personal tutor, offsite projects, exhibitions, a programme co-ordinator and bookable spaces to make work. Importantly, TOMA is transparent to participants showing where their money goes each month.




TOMA is coordinated by a small team at Metal who are responsive to the participating artists. TOMA wants to encourage independent thought alongside close knit community spirit. It is a non accredited programme which aims to foster experimentation, responsiveness and collaboration. TOMA artists experience this through self-directed and collaborative study with artists meeting at least three times a month to take part in a variety of activities; lectures, group crits, seminars, tutorials, reading groups, film screenings, peer feedback, residencies and practical workshops. TOMA artists will also exhibit work in two self-curated shows, as well as several offsite projects during the year.


Although TOMA does not offer studio space artists can make use of:

  • A project space for photography, filming, performance and experimenting with dry work
  • A digital studio with editing facilities and full range of creative Adobe software
  • A TOMA reading room and library for research and writing


TOMA provides educational opportunities and support in the form of:

  • Tutorials
  • Group crits
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Peer feedback
  • Practical workshops
  • Reading groups
  • Technical and theoretical support in the production of projects
  • Collaborative projects
  • A personal tutor
  • Informal study days
  • A residency


TOMA meetings:

  • Artists meet at least three times a month
  • Regular sessions take place on a Thursday evening from 6.30pm – 9pm
  • The Sunday Session visits take place on Sundays 11am – 4pm
  • The informal study days take place on Monday and Sunday daytimes
  • During exhibitions and off-site projects more commitment will be expected




Many established and influential practitioners have visited, or are due to visit, the 2016/2017 artist cohort so far including; Ackroyd & Harvey, Bruce McLean, Cornelia Parker, Florence Peake, Griselda Pollock, Hannah Leighton-Boyce, Michael Pawlyn, Peter Watkins, Richard Wentworth and Susan Stockwell. TOMA artists have taken part in self-selected practical workshops including; how to approach a gallery, applying for Arts Council funding, taking professional standard photos of your work, filming on SLR cameras and recording archival quality audio.


The TOMA cohort will also take part in practical workshops over the coming year including; screen printing, rubber mould making, etching, applying to residencies, writing proposals, promoting yourself as an artist and creating digital art apps. All of these visitors and workshops were selected by the TOMA artists.


Each TOMA artist chooses a tutor for their duration on the programme. TOMA artists meet with their tutors three times over the year.


TOMA artists are expected to be resourceful, adaptable self-starters who have evidence of a sustained practice of at least five years. TOMA does accept applications from artists who already have an MA in art but gives priority to those who do not already hold a postgraduate qualification in art. That is because TOMA aims to give artists who have not yet studied at this level the opportunity to do so.


Over the course of the year TOMA artists will be expected to develop a project, or line of inquiry, take part in public facing exhibitions and projects as well as meeting up at least three times a month for the educational opportunities outlined previously. Successful artists will need to ensure they can commit to the full year so they and their fellow TOMA artists get the most out of the course.


Participants will be emerging artists selected for their artistic merit alongside their need to access an alternative education model. A willingness to become part of a small, responsive and collaborative community is essential.



For TOMA to be sustainable artists are required to make a contribution towards paying lecturers, visiting artists, workshop practitioners and personal tutors. TOMA is financially transparent and makes clear to artists where their money goes each month. TOMA artists are required to pay £75 per month towards the course. This equates to £18.75 per week or £900 for the whole year. TOMA does not want to rely on public or private funding to continue to exist but be a self-sustaining, affordable model that has a long life span.


Payment will need to be received each month via standing order. If an artist leaves TOMA they will still be liable to pay the full amount each month until the end of the academic year. This is because TOMA is directly funded by its students and without this support it could not function.



Drop in day for interested artists: Metal Art School, Chalkwell Park, April 15th 12pm – 4pm

Application form HERE

Application deadline: Friday 28th April at 5pm

Interview dates: Tuesday May 9th, Wednesday May 10th and Thursday May 11th

Application fee: None

Course cost: Per year £900 / per month £75


For more information on TOMA contact Emma Edmondson on


TOMA aims to make the possibility of postgraduate style art education accessible to all.

Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 15.08.42



Related Events

There are no related events.