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New artistic director Polly Brannan takes the reins at trailblazing Open School East in Margate

Polly Brannan, the newly appointed artistic director of Open School East Open School East

The Art Newspaper has charted the development of the Open School East initiative since its genesis in 2013 by a visionary group including Sarah McCrory, director of Goldsmiths CCA, and Sam Thorne, director of Nottingham Contemporary. The school—which offers an open-to-all study programme for emerging artists, charges no tuition fees and sets no age limit—was initially based in Hackney, east London, but moved to Margate on the UK south coast in 2017. Its latest high-profile signing is Polly Brannan who has been appointed artistic director of the free art school and community space. Brannan’s CV is dotted with stellar roles such as education curator at Liverpool Biennial (2012-18) and founder of the artist collective Avant-Gardening. In these trying times, it is worth remembering that Open School East accepts applications from emerging practitioners with or without formal qualifications for its Associates Programme which runs for a year (currently delivered online due to Covid-19). The associates—participating artists—receive weekly tuition, collaborate on projects and also put together public activities.