1. Introduction 


The higher school of art is a space in direct contact with the art world, and the different professionals operating in the domain of contemporary creation. It provides the means for creation through a pedagogy of the project, encouraging and initiating situations of experimentation, teaching students to analyze oeuvres, images and signs, adopting a decidedly critical and practical perspective. With no preordained result, it forms a milieu where students can create as many new forms as original trades in the fields of art and design. Training and research activities are closely tied to creation and practice and characterized by protocols and modes of legitimization that are those of the worlds of art and design.


At the core of the partnership between ESADHaR and TMS is the new international DNSEP: Art, Society, Nature.  The framework of the new DNSEP, that will fulfil all the DNSEP requirements but will differ from the other DNSEP programmes in its method of delivery, that is a mixture of sequential workshops, talks, self-guided study, projects. The delivery, however, is aligned to the values and pedagogical philosophy of ESADHaR and TMS.


The DNSEP (Diplôme National Supérieur d’Expression Plastique/Higher National Diploma in Plastic Expression) is delivered over a two year cycle and equates to a Master’s degree. The end of the first year of the cycle (fourth year of study following the three year undergraduate programme) students have the opportunity to obtain the ESCAP (Certificat d’Etudes Supérieures d’Arts Plastiques/Graduate Certificate in Visual Arts Studies). Upon completing the two year programme students will be conferred with the DNSEP, that is a French Masters in Art degree.


We seek to create exciting and unique learning experiences in and around Margate in a fascinating and contrasting social, cultural and natural setting to bring together international and local students, academics, artists, philosophers, scientists as well as the wider community. 


The Margate School is a coming together of minds and passions, many years of observation and study of the world we live in, the many dialogues with our peers and friends, inspired by thinkers and makers in the arts, design, the social and natural sciences, humanities and philosophy, inspired also by the debate around pioneering and so-called ‘alternative school’ concepts, such as Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, the Summerhill School etc. (


Like TMS, ESADHaR has a strong interest in innovation in art education and project-based learning and many years of experience developing challenging master-level programmes. (



2. Approach


The Margate School is to develop into a new post-graduate level liberal arts school where people matter, guided by project-based collaborative learning  in the expanded field, nurturing independent thinking , inspired by Margate’s past  and passionate about the future.


If one were to explain what The Margate School is, then the simplest answer would be that The Margate School is about people and everyday life, it is a mirror to us, a space where we can critically and creatively reflect upon our lives, our actions, values and relationships to others and the world around us.


The objective of the second cycle or ‘MA programme’ entitled «project phase» is to strengthen students’ academic study, encouraging independent thinking and practice and to support them in the development of a unique and personal approach in the field of contemporary creative and intellectual practice. To do this, students must refine their technical, practical and theoretical skills and knowledge they acquired during their previous undergraduate studies. 




3. Requirements and Credits


For students to be accepted on the DNSEP: Art, Society, Nature, they are required to hold a higher education degree in an art related discipline (e.g. fine art, design, media), present a portfolio of their work and attend an interview with TMS/ESADHaR members of staff.


The DNSEP runs over 4 semesters (2 years) and each semester carriers 30 credits except the last semester, in line with ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System).  The last 30 credits are awarded upon the successful defence of the student’s project.  The DNSEP is made up of a number of pôles (areas of study). These pôles are determined by the French ministry, which also determines the credits for each pôle, for example Semester 7 is made up of three pôles. This is true for all DNSEPs and is part of the DNSEP credit framework. ESADHaR and TMS however can decide which units and courses should be offered under each pôle. Some courses are obligatory, for some there is a choice and some are additional and voluntary for the students. Some courses are restricted and only have a limited number of places available.

The DNSEP according to the ECTS is the so-called second cycle of study and complies with the level 7 learning descriptor. The two years (year 4 and 5) of the second cycle (undergraduate studies being the first cycle) are validated through ESADHaR in collaboration with The Margate School by awarding the DNSEP (Higher National Diploma in Plastic Expression). The ESCAP (Studies Certificate of Higher Arts) is awarded with the successful completion of the 4th year.

During those two years, priority is given to the development of the personal project of each student. The delivery of the DNSEP will be in English, as will be the dissertation. The obligatory language courses will be French.  There will also be an obligatory introductory sociology course. The obligatory internship can be in England or France, which the student will have to secure independently but with support from TMS/ESADHaR. 

Following the students’ undergraduate studies, the fourth year (first year of the DNSEP programme) is therefore the year in which students start preparing for a deeper intellectual and artistic grounding and professional integration. The mandatory internship is for some a first opportunity to experience a realistic professional environment, whilst the mandatory language and introductory sociology courses will offer broader intellectual and intercultural engagement.


Personal interviews with tutors are paramount. The monitoring of the preparation of the dissertation is carried out with the aesthetics tutor, the coordinator and a research director, who will accompany the students until the end of their studies. Students are required to obtain 228 credits (this includes the 180 credits from the undergraduate degree) to enter the final stage of the DNSEP programme. Missing credits will be required to be made up during the 9th semester in order to achieve the full 240 credits necessary to move onto the DNSEP award and entitles the ESCAP (Certificate of Advanced Studies in Fine Arts). In line with ECTS each credit equates to 25-30hours of learning.

The 5th year is that of the preparation of the DNSEP (National Higher Diploma in Visual Expression), year in which the students’ efforts are concentrated on the completion and presentation of their personal project. During the 5th year, the monitoring of the student’s work by the tutors at individual meetings is fundamental.




4. Assessment


Each course carries an assessment mark, which is awarded by the professor/tutor of the respective course. Marks vary between 0-20. Students must achieve a mark of over 10 to be part of the credit award.

Extra-curricular courses (activités facultatives) also carry a mark and may help the students to reach the required credits, for example when they have underperformed in another course.

2-3 professors/tutors will review the notes and marks the students achieved in the various courses and upon these will award the credits for the student for a specific pôle.

In semester the 10 – 15 students are awarded 30 credits with the completion of the DNSEP. There are no formal courses in semester 10.


The DNSEP assessment takes place on each of the campuses of ESADHaR and The Margate School. It consists of the defence of the student’s thesis (20 minutes) and presentation of the art work (40 minutes).

Candidates for the DNSEP assessment are graded according to four criteria

formal presentation of and critical engagement with the work  

origin and evolution of the project

cultural inscription of the work (relevance of references and diversity of knowledge)

quality of the work completed

Each of these criteria is graded out of a score of five. An average of ten is required for graduation. A statement can be attributed from a score of fourteen. Commendations are given to candidates who score or exceed sixteen points.

The assessment panel for the DNSEP consists of five members, which is appointed by the Director: a representative of ESADHaR and TMS as well as qualified independent professionals from different fields of expertise. The panel is chaired by an academic who holds a doctorate. The defence of the thesis takes place in semester 10. After the defence, the panel prepare a written report. After the assessment of the presentation of artistic work, the panel decides on the award of DNSEP taking into account the report by the assessment panel. It awards the credits corresponding to the art work (25 credits) and dissertation (5 credits).

No candidate may undergo more than twice the assessment of DNSEP.