The Other MA (TOMA) New Open Call

Full programme can be found HERE


Drop in open days @ The Old Waterworks

Sunday 10 December 1pm – 5pm – Meet TOMA artists and take part in a collage and monoprinting workshop during our drop-in day.

Online open day @ Zoom

Wednesday 6 December 6.30 – 8pm – Tune in for a talk about TOMA and ask any questions about the programme.


Application deadline 6pm on Friday 12 January 2024

Application link HERE

Please get in touch if you have any access needs and read our access statement here. This open call is also available in large print, dyslexia friendly options and audio on our website. We understand that making TOMA truly accessible to all is a process of continual learning and adapting. We are committed to undertaking every effort possible to ensure TOMA is accessible to everyone. If you have any questions or need extra support in applying please email

Invited artists conversations and portfolio sharing

Friday 9 February 2024

Saturday 10 February 2024

Sunday 11 February 2024

TOMA will give feedback to all applicants.

Course dates

May 2024 – October 2025



i: @theotherma

TOMA is nomadic but can mainly be found at The Old Waterworks, North Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS0 7AB.

Background information: 

The Other MA (TOMA) is an 18-month artist-run learning programme based in Southend-on-Sea supporting artists who have faced barriers accessing art education and the ‘art world’. TOMA was set up in 2016 to offer affordable, accessible and responsive art education to artists and we are the only postgraduate level art programme in Essex after all others were stopped by their host universities. We are unaccredited in the traditional sense, but provide a programme of learning that benefits artists in the same way. We are looking for a new cohort of 15 artists to join TOMA for 2024.

TOMA was born out of precarity, alongside the hierarchies surrounding accessing higher education. Obstacles which uphold these hierarchies can take the form of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, geography. Other obstacles can include; lack of mental 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 impossible. A lack of time to access traditional university weekday schedules due to work or care commitments, alongside the cost of such courses. Other barriers into traditional art education can be experienced through class, mental health struggles and identifying as neurodivergent, alongside coming into practising art later in life, usually along gender lines or family pressures to study a ‘useful’ subject. And through travelling non-traditional routes into being an artist – no undergraduate degree, no A Level, no GCSE. Alongside, of course, general precarity. TOMA acknowledges the intersectionality of experience and prioritises those who are not able to do traditional MA models.

TOMA was born out of and has been shaped by austerity and the decades long businessification and dismantling of creative education. This, alongside the rise of tuition fees, means it is difficult for artists to flourish unless they become part of the financialised art world. We believe in collaboration over competition and the power of people coming together to create change. These are the politics that bought TOMA into existence.

* 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, a CIC.