From education to employment

The Northern School of Art joins forces with world-leading animation company 

The Northern School of Art is delighted to become the first of just five Aardman Academy Partners in the UK. The timing of this announcement is perfect coming as the School starts teaching on its new Animation honours degree which Aardman talent helped us to develop.   

This announcement formalises a strong relationship that has been developing over some time. The School prides itself on strong links with the creative industries to ensure that its courses are cutting edge and relevant, and to give its students real understanding of the world they are soon to join.  

The Aardman Academy Partnership Programme supports students and academic staff by delivering animation training online and in person, providing portfolio feedback and a suite of masterclasses and events.   

Students in one of the degree-level course studios

Mark Simon Hewis, Head of the Aardman Academy, said: “We’ve been working incredibly hard to find a solution where we can support both students and universities alike while striving to get as close to an open-door policy as possible without diluting an industry-leading level of teaching and training.   

“Our new partnership scheme allows us to plug directly into degree courses, and collaborate with academics and heads of schools from across the world to offer an insight into the industry that so many current students are looking for from their chosen courses.   

“I’m so pleased we’re now able to start connecting with universities and academics and welcoming them into the wonderful community we’ve created at the Aardman Academy.”  

This partnership with the Aardman Academy brings many benefits to staff and students at The Northern School of Art. Not only will students benefit from masterclasses and feedback from Aardman talent, they will also get the opportunity to enrich their formal studies and gain additional skills with visits to Aardman in Bristol, access to Aardman Academy Foundation courses and Animation Days. Lecturers will participate in the Aardman Academy Lecturer Development programme. 

The Northern School of Art’s Hartlepool campus theatre

Pat Chapman, Vice Principal (Employability & External Relations), Pat Chapman, says” ‘We are incredibly excited about our partnership with Aardman Academy. The relationship with Aardman is a perfect fit between an art school and a world-famous creative partner. We share a vision and goals for developing talent and enabling everyone to have the opportunity to achieve their potential in this exciting industry.   

“The School, which recently revealed a 91% satisfaction rate (NSS, 2022) in its class of 2022, better than most universities, is focussed on providing excellence to its students. Our Aardman Academy Partner status underpins and extends this.”  

The Partnership will focus on four-degree programmes, Animation, Illustration, Modelmaking & VFX and Production Design for Stage & Screen. However, the relationship will continue to be broader with The School and the Aardman Academy planning collaboration on The Northern Festival of Illustration 2023 as well as Aardman talent contributing on other courses.  

The School is at the very heart of growth in the regional screen industry with its Screen faculty teaching filmmaking, production design, costume, acting, and modelmaking & VFX.   

The School is also behind The Northern Studios, the largest commercial film and tv production facility in the region, filling a gap in screen sector infrastructure with funding coming from Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen and TVCA and support from Hartlepool Borough Council.  

Vice Principal, Pat Chapman, has also joined the board of the newly established North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP) that will drive the development of the sector through significant funding and a ground-breaking partnership between regional councils, education providers and the sector.  

Further information about The Northern School of Art’s range of creative qualifications is available at  

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