WSA at 150: A Look at History and Alumni


For 150 years the Winchester School of Art has been teaching the wonders of art from graphics to fashion and seem to have big plans all year round for their anniversary, which proposes the perfect opportunity to take a look at their achievements of the last 150 years.

Founded in 1870, Winchester School of Art originally occupied Winchester’s twelfth-century Wolvesey Palace, also known as the Old Bishop’s Palace. Whilst this may be the most ideal place for an art school, amongst history and the antique interior which would’ve been catalysts for inspiration, the palace is now owned by English Heritage and is a tourist highlight for Hampshire. 1962 saw WSA granted its own building which it still occupies, titled Park Avenue, and in 1996 the art school officially became a part of the University of Southampton. The school has been an established institution for 150 years and they have plans to host a series of events in celebration, including an archaeological dig, at the school’s site. This dig has already begun with a surface-penetrating radar of the currently vacant Police Station site but will look at the Winchester and the campus’ position on the boundary of the Roman City.  Other events include a son et lumieré: an open-air projection which follows the art school from its founding year 1870 up to the present day. A full sound image and video system will delve into the history of the school, looking at staff, students and the innovative art and breath-taking creations that have made it what it is today. It looks to be a very promising and interesting event. A date is yet to be announced as the current global pandemic may mean it’s difficult for these events to go ahead, but nevertheless it’s an event that will share more history about the institution and inspire many.

As the art school is recognised for their creativity and dynamic teaching environment it’s no surprise that they have a wide range of alumni that graced the halls of the schools and introduced the school to a new realm of art and artistic abilities. Alumni have secured prestigious positions in the art world including the textiles industry, fashion houses and galleries all of these positions worldwide. Through the Southampton Career service these alumni are also able to give current students and graduates career advice and guidance for their future careers. Bobbie Allsop, BA Games and Design student, went on to become a games designer at MangaHigh, a popular platform of maths games used by primary and secondary schools worldwide. With over a million users worldwide there is a huge audience out there for these games and the course at Winchester combines technology and design, something unique to their course collections.

All courses that Winchester has to offer have their own Instagram accounts where you can find out more about their content and what the art school does on a day-to-day basis.


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