Contemporary Art Academy

Contemporary Art Academy is an online art educational initiative offering courses to practicing artists, co-founded by Zavier Ellis & Mathew Gibson.  



An intelligent and well-designed course that puts the artist’s work, and its critical context, at the heart of the project. Designed by artists for artists. Highly recommended! 

Annabel Tilley 

The experience of learning through the tutors’ guidance and interactivity with my peer group has been so positive in developing my practice and how I talk about it. 

Sylvia Radford 

This course helped me to clarify the themes and direction of my work, allowed me to put it into a critical context and become more confident in speaking about it to others. It was great to connect with an international group of artists and tutors and get their feedback. The sessions were engaging and the talks fascinating. If you are serious about your art and want to elevate it to the next level, this course is for you. Highly recommended

Tina McCallan 

I have been introduced to a lot of new inspirational artists and have had some breakthrough moments in my work. 

Lisette van Hoogenhuyze

It has given me a more optimistic view of the art world, and a desire to focus on similarities between practises rather than differences. I am also beginning to feel more confident about my practice.

Elizabeth Langford 

Really enjoyed the course, it has brought renewed focus and confidence to my practice. 

Caroline Killoury 

It brought new focus, answered some problems and entertained; it was fun! 

Jim McLean

I feel more connected to the art world in London and that’s renewed my belief in what I’m doing. 

Dean Melbourne 

The course has greatly benefited me, as it has improved my capacity to discuss my own practice more clearly and I have met a wonderful group of people leading to a real sense of fellowship. 

Tom Platt

I suffer from social anxiety and poor mental health. It has helped with my confidence, I went to London on my own for the first time since the pandemic and have just driven my car again for the first time in 3 years, which is major. The course has also given context to my plans for new work and a greater understanding of what I need to do moving forward. 

Jayne Anita Smith

A very useful bitesize course to remind us of where we are with our practice. The participants were of a very high level and the tutors excellent. 

Richard Burger 

As artists spending most of our time working alone, it is important to find ways of connecting with those we’d never have met otherwise for meaningful discussion. CAA gave me focus and structure when I needed it, in a supportive and constructive atmosphere. The genuine interest and respect shown by peers and tutors alike has given me greater confidence in my practice and tools for taking it forward.

June Nelson

This course has given a boost to my practice through my 1:1 with the brilliant and generous artist Sam Jackson as well as the amazing group crits with my peer group. I have had the opportunity to discuss my practice within a supportive critical context which has helped me to focus on what’s next in a more constructive way. This course came at the right time for me as I had hit a wall with my painting. With the support of everyone on this course I now have wings again. Thank you.

Kim Baker

An enriching and dynamic course to continue our formation and make contact with people from the artworld. 

José Carlos Naranjo

I really enjoyed the CAA course which covered a large range of useful topics, challenged me to re-think and present my practice and introduced me to a great group of artists who I’ll definitely keep in touch with. It was supportive, challenging, encouraging and motivating.

Catherine Lette

The Personal Practice course delivered by Contemporary Art Academy enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of my practice and allowed me to look at it from a different perspective. My peer group were very generous and supportive as were the incredible tutors. I gained far more from this than expected and can’t wait to start the Critical Context course with the view of then going on the final Professional Practice course. I would definitely recommend this course to any artist who would like to reconsider their work. Also, the price and length of the course is both affordable and doable. Thank you so much to all those involved.

Andrea Coltman

Having recently completed this course, I can highly recommend it. It enabled great insights into my own practice and I gained valuable insights into the practice of the other artists too, something that is not always visible. I made strong connections and learned so much. I have already signed up for the next sessions!

Siusan Patterson

A great group of artists, supported by excellent tutors. The course was very helpful, encouraging and inspiring. I very much recommend CAA and am looking forward to my next course.

Nicola Heim

PG-1 is an excellent opportunity to develop your practice, and how you speak and write about it, within a supportive environment. CAA offers a chance for you to connect with the international art community, and learn from successful art professionals. I received invaluable feedback about my practice, and suggestions that are helping me to take my work to a whole new level. I encourage anyone who’s considering it to take this course! CAA offers an exciting educational opportunity at a great value! 

Sarjé Haynes



The course has been incredibly influential on my practice, allowing me to talk about my work with confidence. 

JC Candanedo 

I was reluctant to continue with PG-2 as I didn’t feel ready to contextualise my work in a historical and contemporary way. I am so glad I did! I finished the course with a much better insight into my art practice and a very strong, well-written artist statement to match. 

Fiona Stewart  

PG-2 is a really enjoyable and informative course, the tutors went above and beyond what we expected to provide an in-depth understanding of critical theory. 

Julie Moss

Completing PG-2 with CAA has given me a far greater appreciation of how my practice sits within contemporary art. It has given me a new sense of confidence about describing the approaches and influences on my work. 

Sheila MacNeill

This course has deepened my engagement with the contextual aspects of my practice and opened up new avenues of research. Building a community at CAA has been a nourishing and helpful experience. I highly recommend it! 


Contemporary Art Academy fosters a massively supportive atmosphere. The small groups and warmth and excellence of all involved encouraged me to break-through my shyness and be more authentic. It is a beautifully structured journey into professional practice for artists. 

Julie Goldsmith

The course really made me rethink my practice and not be afraid to dive deeper into the subject matter that drives me. 

Lisette van Hoogenhuyze

I cannot recommend these bite size courses enough. Affordable, challenging and progressive. A truly supportive and embracing experience, for times when you’re losing a little faith or are lost. 

Kate Knight

Critical context has given me a completely new way to look at my work and the themes I am exploring. I am excited to make new work going forwards based on my newly found research and presentation skills.  

Issi Nash

Contemporary Art Academy managed to provide a valuable boost to my practice and a supportive network of peers.  All via a virtual platform and at affordable prices. 

Ayelet Amrani Navon

The course was exactly what I needed to re-focus and reconsider my own work, and critically, listen to the voices of my peers and take advice and inspiration from other professionals. 

Mark Perry

This course has been greatly beneficial, it has opened the doors to a wider and deeper understanding of my practice and new work. I have been inspired by the connections I have made with both my peers and the tutors. I would thoroughly recommend. 

Jayne Anita Smith