Introduction to AA2A

AA2A (Artists Access to Art Colleges) provides artists and designer-makers with access to workshops and equipment in our host universities and colleges. We also provide students with information on self-employment, bridging the gap between studying and building a creative career.

  • Placements are free for artists with the host universities covering the cost of the scheme
  • Hosts choose their own artists, offering at least 100 hours access usually between October and June
  • Artists work alongside students and act as positive career role models, offering to do up to three sessions (e.g. talks or demonstrations)
  • AA2A’s employability package supports students and graduates with self-employment information specifically aimed at creatives
  • Schemes also include web profiles for artists to document their residency, Creative Support Groups, AA2A Plus Collections and Student Reps etc.

In 2023-24 there are 11 institutions hosting AA2A schemes across England, each usually offering four to six placements for their chosen creatives. Applications open each summer and typical facilities available include workshops, access to lending libraries and lecture programmes.

AA2A particularly welcomes applications from artists with disabilities, from culturally diverse backgrounds and non-graduates. Our Artist Support Fund can provide expenses of up to £350 for those on a low income.

AA2A's History

AA2A has been a social enterprise company since 2010 and is an Arts Council England Investment Principle Support Organisation (IPSO) for the Visual Arts. After initial researching and piloting in 1994, the full project was launched in 1999. The first three years were overseen by NAFAE (National Association for Fine Art Education) with funding from the Arts Council England's A4E Lottery scheme and the Crafts Council. As the remit of the project was extended to cover craft as well as fine art, the AA2A project came under the umbrella of CHEAD (Council for Higher Education in Art and Design) where it remained until AA2A Ltd was set up as an independent organisation.