The OCA Student Association is not like most student unions. We're different, just like the students we represent. In 2020 the Student Association was reformed to have a structure based on value-led representatives rather than just degree pathways. Our Reps try to cover the different aspects of student life.

We're also not like student unions that you will find in a brick-and-mortar university. The OCA is a part-time distance learning institution. We fit our studies around our busy daily lives. Likewise, our Reps are total volunteers, who have to fit in their Exec Committee responsibilities on top of their studies and their daily lives!

OCA SA Reps don't receive any training or support typically provided to officers in traditional student unions. We are elected to represent the student body in our particular areas and endeavour, where we can, to canvas ideas, opinions and beliefs about the topics that affect OCA students. We can't poll everyone about every decision, and typically while we are consulted about OCA policy changes we can only try and influence decisions. We have no power to change them.

Despite these challenges, we are inspired every day by the amazing creativity and diversity that exists in the OCA student body. We stand for you. Where we can, we fight for what is fair, just and honourable. We advocate for issues like equality, diversity and a rapidly-changing world. We hold the OCA to account every day for the standards they should be setting. 

There is so much to do, and this new Student Association is very new with Reps finding their feet. We have a lot to learn, and we always promise to listen. Right now our priorities are establishing a more centralised and cohesive student community through this website, as well as trying to get as closely involved in OCA improvements; lobbying for OCA students.

And, particularly, we are heavily focused on holding the OCA to account for improving their communications and levels of student involvement throughout their programmes of change.

The Exec Committee



Lead Rep

The OCA is exceptional. It’s exceptional because of the wide variety of students it
can attract. It’s exceptional because it’s not a normal university experience, and it’s
exceptional because it makes the arts accessible to people who might not otherwise get the opportunity to explore them.

It’s exceptional because of you.

I'm humbled and grateful to be able to lead this amazing team in creating a version of the Student Association we can all be proud of and sets the direction for the best student experience possible.



Deputy Lead & Accessibility Rep

Katie joined OCA for the flexibility of learning around her health and has enjoyed meeting like minded creative people through the online communities.


By talking to the other students she realised she wanted to be able to do more and help other students.



Co-Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Rep

Allan likes to work directly with individual students, this allows him to understand their backgrounds and histories. It also helps him to facilitate their OCA journey and support their participation in the wider student community.



Co-Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Rep

As a disabled and neurodivergent nonbinary lesbian I am incredibly passionate about ensuring everybody has visible representation in everything they engage in. Inclusivity and accessibility are vital to those with marginalised identities.

I hope to make LGBTQ+ and neurodivergent people feel safer and able to freely express and communicate who they are.



Environment &Sustainability Rep

I am keen to make a difference in climate change and the environmental impact we all have on our planet. I have been looking at many ways of how I can incorporate this into my practice and how my art could speak to this matter. At the very least, to do everything I can to have as little impact as possible on the planet with my choices.



International Rep

I hope to play an important role in bridging the barrier between international students and the OCA. I see a barrier in communication among students connecting to each other using normal OCA platforms, and I want the students to have a better experience in this distance-learning process.



Co-Studies Rep

Hi All! I currently work as an Art & Design and DT technician with a Further Education College in West Yorkshire. I also volunteer for a mental health charity that delivers creative workshops based in Leeds.


The experience I have gained from working in an educational setting prepares and inspires me in my role of co-Studies Rep.



18-35 Rep

At the moment a feeling of under-representation for younger students, and I want to create a space where the younger demographic of the OCA feel safe and comfortable.

I also believe there are many people my age who have not discovered the OCA and who would really benefit from it. I want to use my position as Rep to attract potential
students into the OCA and build a growing community of students from all ages and


Our elections sometimes leave roles unfilled.
When this happens we can recruit students into the Exec team as a "co-opted" member of the Exec committee. Students can also be co-opted from time to time to act as spokespeople of a degree pathway. This often happens during periodic review.

Co-Opted Reps stand for one year (or until the end of the periodic review if applicable - whichever is sooner) before their role goes back to a general election.

If filling an Exec team role, co-opted reps have full voting rights in meetings.

Image by Nathan Lemon


Could this be you?

We are currently looking for:

  • Environment Rep x 1

  • International Rep x 1

  • 18-35 Rep x 1

  • TEL & IT Rep x 2

  • Studies Rep x 1

  • Wellbeing Rep x 2

  • Social & Comms Rep x 2

  • Accessibility Rep x 1