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Young Arts at Plymouth College of Art

Photo credit: Laura Palmer

Creativity may be something we are born with, but we believe it needs to be nurtured throughout life - from those early adventures in paint through to academic study and on to professional practice.

Plymouth College of Art’s Young Arts programme was established in 1988. Young Arts features the colleges’ renowned Saturday Arts Clubs and for over 30 years has worked to bridge the gap in arts provision for young people created by increasingly limited access to creative activity in schools.

Plymouth College of Art is also proud to be a member of the National Art and Design Saturday Club network, an initiative set up by the Sorrell Foundation. The National Art and Design Saturday Club provides young people aged 14-16 the opportunity to study art and design every Saturday morning at their local art college or university for free.

Plymouth College of Art was one of the first of the four founder colleges in the UK to offer the Sorrell Foundation’s National Art and Design Saturday Club when it was first established in 2009.

Photo credit: Dom Moore

Young Arts uses art as a catalyst for learning, shaping the artists, makers and creative thinkers of the future, supporting learning and social development.

We often work with specific groups aimed at widening participation in the creative sector and offer a limited number of bursaries covering courses fees for eligible young people.

Working with young people across Plymouth and the surrounding areas in Devon and Cornwall, Young Arts also provides a series of one-off high quality arts experiences in the form of holiday clubs and weekend workshops.

Young Arts at Plymouth College of Art offers a range of courses and outreach activities, with three core objectives.

  • Progression: To engage and recruit young people in arts education, preparing them for their entry to further study.
  • Participation: Bridging the gap in mainstream arts education for all young people.
  • Partnership: Pioneering more collaborative and sustainable arts activities for young people across the city.

Our Young Arts programme allows us to share the expertise of staff at the college, as well as opening up some of our industry standard specialist facilities to young people, giving them access to high quality art experiences in a safe creative space.

“Coming to Saturday Arts Club gave me the opportunity to explore creative outlets beyond experiences I had had before. It was especially good for meeting like-minded people and having specialist artists showing me their professions. This gave me an insight into creative study, and helped me understand that I wanted to go into the creative industry. Without Saturday Arts Club I wouldn’t have had that stepping stone to be encouraged to join the college’s Extended Diploma course, which gave me so much more confidence within my work and the people around me.”

- Daisy Lancaster, Saturday Arts Club participant, 2015/2016


Young Arts offers activities for 9 to 18 year olds which challenge and inspire, giving them the chance to explore a whole range of art forms from painting and drawing, to fashion and design, and film and photography. Our range of programmes offers both fee paying and fully funded activities which look to widen participation in the arts and also look to address the lack of high quality arts provision in schools.

"We are seeing a decline in the number of arts qualifications taken at GCSE level: the number of arts entries to GCSEs has fallen 28% since 2010; the number of hours arts subjects are taught in secondary schools has fallen 17% since 2010; and the number of arts teachers is down by 16%."

Cultural Learning Alliance, April 2018


In support of widening arts participation, we also aim to deliver intensive “Portfolio Building” programmes, including subjects that are not taught in schools such as crafts, animation and life drawing.

Photo credit: Laura Palmer

Young Arts at Plymouth College of Art also offers supported activities linked to the Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, which features a high-quality contemporary programme of exhibitions and events, enriching teaching and learning at the college, and welcoming a wider public audience to enjoy and debate contemporary arts.

We already have a diverse mix of needs on our courses after working with several support workers in schools. Our clubs are known as an inclusive creative, safe environment and we have been particularly successful working with students with social, behavioural and anxiety problems.

Find out more about what Young Arts can offer your child or young person by checking out the courses that are currently available, reading the below FAQs or contacting


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