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27 Aug 2019

TOMA open call for 2019 cohort for artist-run contemporary art education programme in Southend, UK

Emma Edmondson


TOMA open call for artists for post grad art education programme Open call closes midnight 30.09.19 TOMA Is looking for 12 artists for 12 month programme x 2 FREE funded spaces available

Emma Edmondson

Unit 13, Royals Shopping Centre
Southend on Sea, Essex
United Kingdom

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The Other MA (TOMA) : OPEN CALL 2019/2020
November 2019 to November 2020

Instagram: @theotherma

~ About TOMA ~

The Other MA (TOMA) is a 12-month artist-run education model based in Southend-on-Sea. TOMA is currently the only postgraduate level art programme in Essex after all others were stopped by their host Universities. It was set up in 2016 to offer responsive, affordable, accessible art education to artists.

Designed to fit the everyday lives of 21st century artists TOMA was created in response to the hierarchies surrounding accessing higher education. Obstacles which uphold these hierarchies include a lack of mental + physical space to self-invest due to other life commitments, which is often required when taking on further education. Hidden hierarchies such as not having the art specific language needed to access the contemporary art world or a certain art school training which can make a traditional MA feel inaccessible. Other obstacles can take the form of time, cost, age, geography, disability, gender + ethnicity as well as needing to care for family or work commitments.

TOMA works with those who do not have a formal art education or have been out of art learning for a while + want a route into entering contemporary critical thought; as well as those fresh out of an undergraduate degree or those who have come to art later in life. We are also particularly interested in women who have been concentrating on supporting a family, or single parents who are just now finding time + support to commit further to their art practice. TOMA especially welcomes those from communities under-represented in the contemporary art world, particularly artists living with a disability, artists of colour + LGBTQIA artists looking to further their creative education. TOMA is open to all + welcomes everyone. We want our programme + the dialogues within it to represent the diverse world we live in.

~ TOMA artists ~

TOMA is looking for 12 artists to join the programme for 2019/2020. TOMA artists are makers + doers; active learners who want to be part of a community of artists working together. TOMA wants to eradicate the pupil teacher hierarchy, choosing instead to put emphasis on learning together, failing together + succeeding as a group. Artists on the programme choose the route of what they learn + who delivers it. Here, they are both teacher + student.

TOMA artists' practices are woven with everyday life; they fit their work in around their lives + their lives in around their work. All disciplines are welcome + the TOMA group is usually varied in life experience, interests + practice making for a rich learning environment. TOMA is looking for artists who have a strong ongoing practice + are interested in forming + contributing to a close-knit creative community. We are not interested in your CV, just the work you make + how you want to interact in the world. TOMA artists will need to ensure they can commit to the full year so they + their fellow artists get the most out of the course.

~ TOMA structure ~

TOMA is coordinated by a small team who are responsive to the artist group. TOMA wants to encourage independent thought alongside close knit community spirit. It is a non-accredited programme which aims to foster experimentation, responsiveness + collaboration. TOMA artists experience this through self-directed + collaborative study meeting at least three times a month to take part in a variety of activities. These meetings mainly take place at the weekend or in the evening making the programme accessible for those who have weekday work or family commitments.

TOMA provides educational opportunities + support in the form of…
• Tutorials
• Group crits
• Day-long visiting artist / practitioner sessions
• Seminars
• Lectures
• Critical theory sessions
• Practical workshops
• Peer feedback
• Support in the production of projects
• Off-site trips to art spaces
• Collaborative project opportunities
• A residency
• Exhibition + public programme opportunities

TOMA artists also have access to bookable spaces for…
* Photography, filming, performance + making work (TOMA Project Space)
* RISO, printmaking press + dark room space (The Old Waterworks)
* Digital studio with editing facilities + Adobe software (Metal Southend)

While TOMA takes on parts of the traditional structure of an art MA, it is also responsive to its artists. Fluid + open in its evolution, TOMA creates an independent space where there is freedom to choose, learn + grow alongside a community of peer-artists. Participants directly steer the study programme, choosing those who come to visit + what is explored. They are also in charge of curating + installing their own exhibitions + public events, with support from the TOMA admin + technical team, alongside learning ways to practice in the challenging 21st century art landscape.

In many ways TOMA becomes a new family unit where we often muck in by sharing lifts, pot luck lunches + washing up duties on Sundays, swap skills in sessions, host impromptu crit sessions on trains, share labour + visit each-others' studios. We are looking for participants who want to be involved in this network + not see the year as transactional. TOMA aims to be a fair and ethically run community with similarities to a cooperative; with decisions being put forward to group votes + sharing as an ethos.

~ TOMA visitors ~

Designed to fit the everyday lives of contemporary working artists TOMA has an active programme of visitors + over the past three years has welcomed in practitioners including Ackroyd and Harvey, Louise Ashcroft, Karla Black, Sonia Boyce, Ruth Catlow + Marc Garrett, Jefford Horrigan, Chris Kraus, Mark Leckey, Sarah Lucas, Kate Malone, Bruce McLean, Michael Pawlyn, Florence Peake, Griselda Pollock, Laure Prouvost, Tai Shani, The Connor Brothers, Rosalie Schweiker, Susan Stockwell, Sarah Kate Wilson, The White Pube, Richard Wentworth + Liz West.

All these visitors were selected by TOMA artists.

~ TOMA Project Space ~

TOMA has a project space in a shopping centre in Southend. This is our hub for group meetings + the TOMA education programme sessions alongside public exhibitions + events. There will be five exhibitions throughout the year; these are overseen + curated by the small TOMA team. The last in the series of shows will be the TOMA cohort's end of year exhibition.

The space will be open to the public three times a week + exhibitions invigilated by volunteers. For the space to function we also ask participating TOMA artists to invigilate at least five times during their year on the programme. Within the project space there is a large bookable studio that will run as a time bank with the volunteer invigilation schedule.

~ TOMA cost ~

Funded by its participants TOMA costs £75 per month (plus 5 days of invigilation in the TOMA Project Space) to attend which goes directly + wholly towards paying for visiting artists, lecturers, practical workshops, personal tutors, offsite projects, a residency, exhibitions, a programme coordinator + bookable spaces to make work. These fees completely cover the educational programme, paying artists + visiting practitioners a fair wage. TOMA believe it is important to pay practitioners for their time in an art world that often sees artists at the end of the financial food chain. TOMA is also supported by Arts Council England for The Project Space but there is extra labour that the programme inevitably requires. We therefore encourage artist participants to take initiative where they can by offering to lead on organising within the programme + looking after the TOMA Project Space.

For 2019 there are two fully funded spaces available for artists who feel they would not be able to access the programme otherwise, due to cost. TOMA believes in transparency + truthfulness when dealing with finance, in response to this if participants feel they could only access the programme through a supported space please do let us know in your application. Likewise, if artists apply + know they can afford to pay fees please do not ask for a supported space.

~ TOMA dates + info ~

Drop in days for interested artists - - - - - >

12-8pm, Wednesday 28 August @ The Old Waterworks, North Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS0 7AB

12-8pm, Saturday 14 September @ Metal, Chalkwell Hall, Chalkwell Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS0 8NB **join us for an open crit from 12-3pm**

Application…form available online

Application deadline… Midnight Monday 30 September

Interview dates… Friday 11 October, Saturday 12 October

Course cost… Per year £900 / per month £75 can work out a payment plan to suit individuals

Supported spaces… There are 2 supported FREE spaces available this year for artists who could otherwise not access the programme.

Programme starts…Saturday 30 November

For more information on TOMA contact Emma Edmondson on or check out

* TOMA was set up in partnership with Metal in Southend-on-Sea in 2016, working with them for an incubation period before becoming an independent not for profit. TOMA has received funding from Arts Council England as well as private patrons + Paul Robinson Solicitors. TOMA is artist-run+ we believe in lifelong learning + aim to make the possibility of postgraduate style art education accessible to all.