The why, how, and what of Catalyst


We believe that greatness is grown, not born. Through innovative creative and personal development, we aim to cultivate and empower artistic voices capable of engaging in local and global conversations. We are committed to fostering a challenging environment where artistic practice is not just a form of expression but a transformative and empowering force that can change perspectives, enrich lives, and profoundly impact cultures and societies. 


  • Expert tutors with a passion for passing on their experience to others. Many of our tutors and programme leads have gained international recognition within their field and critical acclaim for their artistic work.
  • A progressive organisation providing a values-led progressive education in creative arts and technology. We emphasise learning by doing, problem solving, critical thinking, experimentation, risk taking, collaboration, personalised learning, entrepreneurship, social responsibility, and educating the ‘whole person’.
  • We believe that educating the ‘whole person’ is fundamental to the impact an individual makes in the world whether done in an organic, informal way or within an institution. We provide self-development learning strands and standalone programmes that empower students to discover where they may be limiting themselves and/or which skills they could develop further including leadership, communication, resilience and interpersonal skills.
  • We’re a safe space to dream big. We nurture and challenge students in equal measure. We support them along their creative learning journey, whilst challenging them to find their own artistic voice.
  • To paraphrase Benjamin Zander, “Our job is to awaken possibility in other people. If their eyes are shining, we know we're doing it” We aim to make our students' eyes shine.


  • Courses range from 4-week summer courses for beginners through to bachelor's and master's degree courses, validated by our UK partner institution Plymouth Marjon University.
  • A consciously international learning experience and a cultural melting pot. Catalyst’s students and team encompass over 75 nationalities. 
  • A warm welcome and a home from home.
  • A playful approach - we see playing as a core component of learning. ‘The wider the smile, the harder the work going on, the deeper the exploration.’ We bring a lightness of being to help sustain the serious intent.
  • An inclusive learning community. No matter who you are or where you come from, we aim to create a space where you feel free to express yourself as a creative human being.
  • Industry-standard facilities and thousands of items of audiovisual equipment, offering students a technological playground. Our music and sound facilities include 4 vintage recording studios, 20 production suites, 2 surround-sound systems, an electronic music performance space with stage and spatial sound and a radio studio. Our film, visual media and acting facilities include a film studio with infinity green screen, 6 post production suites, 4 isolated recording booths, 15 VFX PCs with drawing tablets, a cinema, a theatre and an acting studio.

Organisational character

Catalyst is no ordinary creative arts and technology institute. These are our CORE values:

  • At its core, Catalyst thinks and acts as a visionary. We strive to explore new territory and actively push the boundaries of delivering a learning programme fit for the challenges of the 21st century. 
  • At the same time Catalyst is a nurturer. Empowering and inspiring others to grow their own greatness. We provide our students with a caring, creative community. A strong foundation on which to build their future lives.
  • We aim to empower our students to imagine, build and become the most fully expressed version of themselves.
  • We inspire our students to push their own boundaries, explore new ideas, find their unique artistic voice and envision futures not yet here. We provide a space to experiment, a supportive framework to help shape ideas and a map to avoid getting lost on the way.
  • A progressive organisation providing a values-led progressive education. 
  • Unconventional because we go our own way in terms of education, constantly reconsidering and reimagining everything. We’re punks with a purpose and we enjoy challenging the status quo.


We have assimilated and synthesised a multitude of ideas from many, many different sources over the years, but here are a few videos we found inspirational when we started the Catalyst project

Ken Robinson

Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating ourselves. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence. 

Ken Robinson - schools kills creativity

Ken Robinson - bring on the revolution

Ken Robinson - how to escape education's death valley

Benjamin Zander

Since 1979, Benjamin Zander has been the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. He uses music to help people open their minds and create joyful harmonies that bring out the best in themselves and their colleagues. This is an inspiring talk but not for what it says about classical music or even music in general. It's inspiring because at the age of 45 after 20 years of being a conductor he had a powerful realisation about what his job was actually for. 

Benjamin Zander

Daniel Coyle

Daniel Coyle wrote an influential bestseller called The Talent Code which asked the question, how do we unlock talent? 

The Talent Code