Art & Design

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The artist is not a special kind of person, but every person is a special kind of artist.Ananda Coomraswamy (1877–1947) Indian writer Transformation of Nature in Art.

Art disturbs, science reassures.Georges Braque (1882–1963) French painter.

The true method of knowledge is experiment. William Blake (1757–1827) English poet, painter and printmaker

At Oakham we aim to make the creative experience of producing Art as accessible as possible, embracing the spirit of Joseph Beuys’ statement “Everyone is an artist”.

The Art and Design Department comprises an experienced team of seven specialist teachers, who are practising artists in their own right and who strongly encourage individual expression, experimentation and invention in our pupils. 

Our dedicated studios in the Richard Bull Centre are alive with creativity and the range of activities, media and materials available is extensive. There are also opportunities for students to explore digital photography and new electronic media. 

All pupils in Lower One and Forms 1–3 take part in a programme of practical arts, through which they are introduced to a range of skills and creative expression and enjoy experimenting with materials following the Middle Years Programme IB. 

Large numbers of pupils take one creative arts subject to GCSE level. There is a wealth of choice available, including printmaking, textiles, painting or sculpture. 

In the Upper School, students follow one or more of our A-level or International Baccalaureate Visual Art courses as part of a broad programme of study, whilst some specialise in the creative subjects in preparation for an arts-related career. History of Art is taught through the A-level Art: Critical and Contextual Studies (CSS) course. 

Beyond the classroom we offer a rich and varied programme of visiting artists, curators’ talks, artists’ workshops and frequent visits to museums and galleries. 

Students’ work features in regular exhibitions in School. The standard is indeed exceptional, with Oakham pupils regularly winning art and design awards. The Wheelhouse Gallery provides a dedicated space in which to stage exhibitions by students and visiting artists and is open to the public. 

Beyond school, many students have gone on to study Art at Camberwell, Chelsea, Central Saint Martins, the Ruskin School of Art and universities in the UK and USA. Many former students work in the creative industries, particularly fashion and architecture.


Current pupils

Elinor Brass

Elinor Brass

Director of Art and Design

I have joined Oakham after 11 years at Eltham College in South East London, where I was Director of Art. While at the school, I was lucky enough to set up a gallery called Gerald Moore Gallery, which is open to the public showing an extensive range of work from new commissions to exhibitions from the Hayward Gallery touring collection. I have always continued to study while I have been a teacher. I did my Masters in painting at Wimbledon School of Art while I was a teacher at The Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe and now I am working on an Educational Doctorate through the Institute of Education exploring learning in a gallery setting. I also continue to make my own work, mostly working on a small scale in collage, painting and drawing at the moment while I complete my doctorate. In 2009 I set up a project called ‘Sketchbook Circle’, which is for art teachers to collaborate with each other. The circle now has around 300 members from across the country and it is really supportive community of practitioners.In my free time I fit in as much art making as I can but I also love going to gigs, galleries and the theatre. I also enjoy playing tennis, watching sport and spending time with my family.

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