University and Mid-Kent College partner on new Medway School of Arts

Katherine Moss
Historic Dockyard

The new Medway School of Arts, which will see Kent’s Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries (iCCi) partner with Medway Council to expand the college’s art courses, will open at The Sail and Colour Loft in The Historic Dockyard Chatham. MidKent College has agreed the lease for its new Medway School of Arts, which will offer qualifications to university level – accredited by Kent – and will welcome students from September.  

Director of iCCi Professor Catherine Richardson, said: ‘We are very excited to be working with MidKent to develop an ambitious vision for creative skills development in Medway. This is part of the university’s wider investment in cultural and creative industries that will support the growth of the local creative economy, which is central to our plans for education and research in Medway. We’re at the start of a really innovative new era here!’  

On signing the lease for the new premises, MidKent College principal, Simon Cook, said: ‘The Historic Dockyard is known in Medway as a hub for the creative industries, so we are delighted to base Medway’s School of Arts there. The opening of Medway School of Arts represents the latest in a series of developments emerging from Medway’s vibrant and innovative creative sector. We have a strong legacy of creative arts education across the towns that developed the careers of famous names such as Zandra Rhodes, Karen Millen and Tracy Emin. Ensuring that we can sustain university-level creative education in Medway is fantastic, and we’re delighted to be working with forward-thinking, passionate and committed organisations to bring this plan to fruition. MidKent College is proud of its continuing contribution to the skills needed in this sector.’

Cllr Harinder Mahil, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and Leisure, said: ’We are delighted that the lease has been signed for the Medway School of Arts. Medway is renowned for its wide range of talented creatives, many of which received an excellent arts education in the area, so we are thrilled that future generations will be able to continue this legacy at the new Medway School of Arts. The Medway School of Arts also supports Medway’s cultural strategy, delivered by Creative Medway, which aims for Medway to be internationally recognised for its creativity and culture by 2030. We know how important the role of educational organisations are in encouraging and supporting new talent and existing creatives and it is incredibly exciting that Medway will soon be home to a new school of art which will encourage even more of Medway’s creative talent to flourish.’ 

In 2025, iCCi will be opening Docking Station – a brand new hub for the cultural and creative industries in Medway with a focus on immersive digital technology, based on The Historic Dockyard Chatham.  

MidKent College already offers Fine Art, Graphic Design, Games Art, Photography and Creative Media courses in both Gillingham and Maidstone from Level 3, as well as introductory courses at Level 1 but introducing the Medway School of Arts means students can expand their education to degree level. 

L-R Simon Cook, Richard Morsley