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A refreshingly distinctive UK day and boarding school for artists, actors, musicians and filmmakers

The Good Schools Guide, reviewing RIC, said “The art rooms have a welcoming, university feel, with much of the work on display of university standard with real individuality and flair. It's hard to imagine better provision for an artist.”

Every year we celebrate the work of our creatives and publish a catalogue of their work, based on the end of year shows.

Winners of the Independent School Award for Excellence and Innovation in Fine Arts

Rochester Independent College was awarded the 2021 Independent Schools Award for Excellence and Innovation in Fine Arts. They: "The judges were impressed with the huge range of ways in which Rochester Independent College values, promotes and gives profile to the arts and considered the College an inspiration to the whole sector. The link between an aesthetic appreciation of the visual arts and personal development runs through all aspects of school life and is highly valued by the whole school community.”

Will Tribble
Will Tribble, Filmmaker

RIC encouraged me to start thinking about potential stories, and how visual and audio techniques can come together to illustrate those stories. It also gave me my first opportunities to actually use film equipment and technology, including software that I still use today.

Will Tribble, Filmmaker

Imagine a school where the arts are at the centre of the curriculum and creativity is found in every corner of the campus

A school with a creative buzz where you’re taught by practicing graphic designers, musicians, illustrators, filmmakers, photographers and artists and where you’re studying alongside those who share your interests and enthusiasms

A school that feels like you’re already at Art College, Film or Drama School while you’re preparing successfully for entry to the best ones

A school which doesn’t force its students into a house style but helps your own practice to develop individually, guiding you towards producing an impressive portfolio of work as well as top A level results

A school where you can premiere your own short films in the campus cinema

A school where acclaimed visiting theatre companies perform and run workshops in the campus theatre

A school with outstanding facilities for techniques old and new and where students have free use of the fully equipped darkroom; a ceramics studios with potters’ wheels and kiln; textiles studio with computer-aided embroidery machine; two large dedicated art studios; Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign; and four Mac suites with music sampling and film editing software

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RIC's Mission To Mars- Arts students find galactic way of beating Covid boredom

For students at Rochester Independent College however, the lockdown experience has been a little more ‘out of this world’ than just Netflix marathons, zoom quizzes and baking banana bread.

Mission to Mars has been a participatory interdisciplinary arts project dreamed up between Two Gents Productions in London and Rochester Independent College. The idea was to launch a project that allowed young people to imaginatively escape from lockdown and creatively engage with the concerns facing them in the here and now - whether that be personal issues of isolation, anxiety and missing contact with loved ones, or social issues such as sustainability, equality and development. The project aimed to create a documentary style film exploring both the science and humanity behind a central question: What motivates our desire to colonise Mars?

Working mainly through online interactive sessions, Sixth Form students, staff and directors met regularly to discuss ideas, develop content and feedback on creative work. The group comprised science students, future medics, theatre directors and actors, visual artists, film makers, anthropologists, animators and educators. Director Arne Pohleier of Two Gents Productions described the project as a “heaven-sent creative outlet to escape from lockdown and an opportunity to re-evaluate this life on Earth”.

Find out more about this project here.

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Preparing you to study at leading creative universities

Rochester offers its own vibrant art scene and is conveniently located close to two other cultural centres: London and the emerging hubs of the Kent Coast in Margate, Whitstable and Folkestone. The College is located directly opposite UCA, The University for The Creative Arts.

Popular post A level destinations for RIC students include UAL's Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion, Goldsmiths, BIMM and the London College of Fashion. Film students opt either for academic courses at top universities such as KCL, Warwick and Sussex or more practical training routes at universities such as Bournemouth and Ravensbourne.

Head of Graphic Design at Falmouth University Bryan Clark says: “At Falmouth it is becoming commonplace to accept high calibre students directly from A levels if they can obtain the specialist insight and an introduction to the fundamentals of the design process and a strong sense of passion for the subject. RIC delivers this, with not only top grade students but also those with a depth of experimentation and energy that you will also find with more traditional foundation student entry.

Click here for our visual arts blog.

Successful recent UAL placements include Jacob Wilder who will study Fine Art at Camberwell College of Arts and aspiring designer Noah George who will study Fashion Menswear at Central Saint Martins. The College’s touring exhibition of student and staff art showcased work this year at Sun Pier, Chatham, and The Horsebridge Gallery, Whitstable. In 2022 RIC will finally be exhibiting at The Pie Factory, Margate after a series of pandemic related delays!

Irina Bravo Profile
Irina, Former Student & Actor

I loved the small classes and the creative environment. I remember happily spending entire weekends in the photography studio. After RIC I was accepted at the Professional Conservatory of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York. I’m sure that if I hadn’t studied at RIC I wouldn’t be where I was now, I couldn’t even speak proper English before arriving!

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RIC destination diptychs

Sam, who joined RIC from Invicta Grammar, and Maria from Westcliff High School both received matching unconditional offers for the prestigious BA Fashion Marketing course at UAL’s London College of Fashion.

Two RIC students recently won places on one of the world’s most prestigious Fine Art degree programmes at UCL’s The Slade School of Fine Art. The Slade has spawned a number of well-known artists including Wyndham Lewis, Paul Nash, Stanley Spencer, Rachel Whiteread and filmmaker Derek Jarman.

Ginte started the course after completing her foundation at Central Saint Martins. Tom Wynn Owen from Tonbridge who joined her at UCL’s Gower Street quad did his GCSEs at the Judd School before opting for an RIC two year A level programme. His success is even more extraordinary as he was offered a place on the degree course straight from sixth form without the normal requirement to complete a foundation year first.

Tom says he chose RIC as it was “The only place that would let me do all the subjects I wanted and did not make me wear a suit. I have met the most exciting people here.” Asked what his favourite things about being at the College were Tom said: “RIC has helped me to learn a lot in subjects I really enjoy with awesome teachers I get on with. A very good atmosphere and lot of help available. Good trips, cool plays in London and the art trip to Paris was excellent.” Tom took A levels in Philosophy, History of Art, Music Technology, Fine Art and Photography.

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Visiting artists and icons

RIC inspires the next generation of creatives and students here benefit from meeting and working with a number of visiting artists and industry professionals, some of whom are well know contemporary figures.

The artist, poet and musician Billy Childish is a regular visitor to the department. Billy was closely associated with the Young British Artists, founded the Stuckist movement and has been described by fellow artist Peter Doig as “one of the most outstanding, and often misunderstood, figures on the British art scene.”

RIC students had the chance to attend a workshop with Peter Doig in 2021 at the Dukes Education Renaissance Scholars event in London along with hearing from film maker Alfonso Cuaron, director of Gravity, Roma and Y tu mamá también and Sean Holmes, Associate Director of Shakespeare's Globe.

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Jack Taylor

I absolutely love art. I spend as much time as I possibly can in the art room both during and after school. I’m studying ‘self image’ at the moment and am particularly impressed by the work of Jenny Saville and Frieda Kahlo. Right now I’m making my own self-portraits in both paint and pastel.

The highlight of my year so far was when the artist Billy Childish came in to do a painting and printmaking workshop. He is a visiting tutor here. We started by making simple outline self portrait monoprints then began to work back into the images with pastels. He taught us so much; colours that complement one another and how they affect the mood of the piece, the importance of capturing the most obvious parts first before developing the work and most importantly how to know when to stop. It was inspiring, the day has completely influenced my work.

Jack Taylor
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The Ralph Steadman Art Scholarship

Kent resident Ralph Steadman, one of Britain’s best-known cartoonists, famed for his satirical political caricatures and book illustrations including those for Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas visited RIC to launch and then judge entries for RIC’s Ralph Steadman Art and Design Scholarship, a biannual prize awarded to a promising local student artist that allows them to study at the College.

On the day he visited Ralph brought his latest book 'Proud to be Wierrd' and was full of tales of his latest exhibition - STEADman at 77, his retrospective at London's Cartoon Museum which our year 10s visited in the summer. Also the film 'For No Good Reason' based on his life and works where Johnny Depp pays a call on his friend and hero and - as the blurb says 'we take off on a high-spirited, lyrical, raging and soulful journey discovering the life and works of one of the most important radical British artists of modern times.' He proceeded to create an original artwork in front of the totally mesmerised students and staff present.

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Musical Gates and Flying Pigs

Working closely with RIC’s Music students on an ongoing basis is Bjork collaborator and sound sculptor Henry Dagg, creator of the unique musical gates that lead into the College campus. Henry, a former Dalek, BBC sound engineer and award-winning musical saw player has worked with acts including Bob Geldof, Keane and The Cranberries. The Flying Pig Musical Gates have become a local landmark and are an exciting piece of public art. We felt they deserved a website all of their own.

RIC has encouraged many young filmmakers over the years. Clio Barnard, the BAFTA award-winning director of The Arbor and The Selfish Giant, was filmmaker in residence.

RIC has historically hosted live theatre events with internationally acclaimed performers Ridiculusmus and Guy Masterson being amongst those to have entertained staff and students on Star Hill. Our dedicated underground space regularly hosts performances from
the European Arts Company, a national and international touring theatre company who bring their West End work to RIC.

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RIC's arty alumni

Here are just a small number of former RIC students who have gone on to work in the world of film, drama and the arts:

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