Open College of the Arts

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Open College of the Arts
Established 1987
Type Independent, charity
Chief executive Gareth Dent
Chair (Very Reverend) Peter Bradley
Founder Michael Young
Location Redbrook Business Park
Wilthorpe Road

South Yorkshire
S75 1JN
England Coordinates: 53°34′02″N 1°30′22″W / 53.567266°N 1.505995°W / 53.567266; -1.505995
Staff 120 tutors
Affiliations University for the Creative Arts

The Open College of the Arts (OCA) is an open learning independent arts college, with a Head Office in Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England. Founded in 1987 by Michael Young, it is a registered charity.


The OCA offers BA honours degrees in the following areas:

  • Creative Arts
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Textiles
  • Creative Writing
  • Visual Communications

An ward winning MA in Fine Art was launched in 2011. Degrees are accredited by the University for the Creative Arts.

The OCA has an open-door academic policy for its level 1 courses. Each student is assigned one of the college's 115 specialist tutors, who are arts practitioners and have experience teaching in higher education. The tutors' responsibilities are limited to marking and providing feedback on student assignments.

Courses offered by the OCA are frequently updated or rewritten and new courses are added from time to time. Recent introductions are graphic design, illustration, digital film production and visual culture and there are new courses in photography and printmaking, adding to existing courses in these areas. Students and tutors all work from home and there is a well attended programme of study visits.


As a charity the OCA is overseen by a board of trustees chaired by the Very Reverend Peter Bradley, Dean of Sheffield and Chair of the Cathedral’s Archer Project Charitable Trust.

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