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Welcome to Sotheby’s Institute of Art Gap Year!

We are really looking forward to meeting you in London. Before the start of term, please:

1. Review our Student Handbook and the information below.
2. Complete the Program Form. Students must complete this form before the start of term.

Pre-Departure Orientation

If you were unable to attend our virtual pre-departure orientation, you may watch a recording here.

Program Overview

During your 6-week program you’ll be guided and nurtured on a journey that opens doors to people, places and ideas that will inspire you, challenge you, even amaze you, and always help you to reflect on the world and your role within it. You’ll emerge with an understanding of the creative and cultural sectors, the people and professionals that drive them, and a wealth of skills in preparation for your future studies or career. Each week, you will be immersed in a new art world topic:

  • Week 1: Orientation & Exploring Collections
    Students get to know their new home city and each other through a series of orientation sessions, bonding activities and guided visits to some of London’s best galleries and museums. Highlights include: Courtauld Gallery, Surrealism and Beyond at Tate Modern, talking about race/ gender in museums, British Museum, Global Feminisms.
  • Week 2: Digital Futures (Contemporary Art)
    Visits to established and emerging arts venues will give the students a well-rounded view of the dynamic contemporary art world and curating today. Highlights include: visits and seminars with key curators and critics working at the intersection of contemporary art and innovative digital technologies; visit to ground-breaking, immersive digital art exhibition at 180 The Strand; curators tour of Serpentine.
  • Week 3: Luxury & Fashion
    Students visit renowned luxury and heritage brands and get under the skin of London’s creative scene with visits to designers. Highlights include: V&A Masculinities exhibition, Alexander McQueen studio visit.
  • Week 4: Art & Business
    This week delves into the exciting world of art business and auctions, with visits to Sotheby’s auction house and interviews with insiders. Hiighlights include: visits and exclusive access to some of London's leading dealers; curator tour of the Bold Tendencies 2022 edition.
  • Week 5: Group Project
    Students are set a brief by a mentor or host organization. Throughout the week and with supportive feedback from invited experts, students work together in small groups before visually presenting their ideas. Highlights include: workshop with the curators at Studio Voltaire and other project-specific visits and sessions.
  • Week 6: Art Ethics & Activism
    In a supportive environment, students will examine art’s impact on and response to hot button topics such as feminism, diversity, and power. This will give space for students to discover what unique contributions they might wish to make to the world - and how they wish to shape their futures. Highlights include: Our Time on Earth at Barbican and curator tour of Camden Arts Centre.

Covid 19 Health & Safety

London Campus COVID-19 Health & Safety Resources (regularly updated)

Before Your Travel to England

There are some COVID-preventative measures you must action before traveling to London:

  • Though it is no longer a legal requirement for most countries, we ask you to please take a COVID-19 test in the 2 days before you travel to England​. This can be a Lateral Flow / Rapid Antigen test.
  • It is a legal requirement complete a Passenger Locator Form - 48 hours before you arrive in England​. You will need the reference number from your booked COVID-19 test to complete this.​

If you coming to the England via any other country (including Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland), different rules may apply. Please check this in advance:​

These rules are constantly updated, in light of changing scientific advise. We recommend checking the rules that apply to your home nation before you depart:


All students, faculty and staff are expected to undertake twice weekly Lateral Flow COVID asymptomatic tests. You will need to show recent proof of a negative lateral flow test to gain access to some venues in London, and to our Reception colleagues on entry to the Institute on teaching days.

Results are received within 30 minutes. We just need to see an email notification (or text message), once you have logged the result via this free service:

SIAL will provide the tests, but please let us know as and when you need more.

Arrivals & Departures

Sotheby’s Institute of Art- London (SIAL) Gap Year students will live at iQ Highbury (201 Isledon Rd, Finsbury Park, London N7 7JR).

Students may move in from 10:00 a.m. on Monday, June 6 and must complete move-in before 5:00 p.m. A welcome dinner will be provided that evening. You are welcome to arrive in London earlier and make contact with us, but access to the residence is only permitted from the dates and times stated.

Students may depart at any time during Friday, July 15, before 5:00 p.m.

Air Travel

Our student accommodation is accessible from all major airports in the Greater London area: London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted and London Southend. Taxi service and ride sharing services (Uber, Bolt, etc.) are available from all airports. Additional information about airport transportation and other forms of public transportation is available online through the airport website or Visit London, including any train or coach connections to the city centre.

Student Life


Students will be staying at iQ Highbury 201 Isledon Road, London N7 7JR, managed by our trusted accommodation provider IQ, and located in Finsbury Park. This prime location offers easy access to Sotheby's institute, Central London, Shoreditch and the West End. 

Each apartment is single occupancy with its own bathroom and will have access to a shared Kitchen and open plan lounge/dining area and fully equipped including utensils, cutlery, crockery. You can also make use of the building’s social areas, including a gym, Zen Garden, cinema, games room and lounge.  

If you have any concerns or accessibility requirements regarding room allocation, please indicate this in the Program Form. 

The Residential Life Coordinators provided by Sotheby's institute will also reside at iQ Highbury and will be on call for any student concerns or emergencies. Students will be provided with a phone number which they can use to contact the Residential Life Coordinators 24 hours a day. 

In addition, iQ Highbury will have staff on hand in the reception area, who will be the first point of call for any issues within the hall of residence. The site will be staffed 24 hours a day, iQ Highbury also provides a Duty Manager available on a mobile telephone, 7 days a week, who can be contacted if and when the need arises. 

Accommodation services include: 

  • All utilities including gas, electricity, council tax, WIFI, water rates, sewer charges, and any other utility or service 
  • Provision of bed linen for each student 
  • Full maintenance cover to include but not limited to plumbing, heating, electrical appliances and fixtures 
  • Regular treatment for pest control 
  • 24-hour emergency cover – onsite manager 
  • Washer/dryer 
  • Cinema Room 
  • Bike storage 
  • Entertainment area/Room 
  • Gym 
  • Reception 
  • Elevators 
  • Library/Study area 
  • Communal Laundry (card operated) 
  • CCTC/ Surveillance Cameras  
  • Maintenance team (Daytime only) 
  • Controlled Access Gate (24 hours) 



Students will be responsible for their own meals throughout the week. SIAL will provide one weekly dinner or lunch, usually with special guests. SIAL will make every reasonable effort to meet the dietary requirements of students for any meals provided. Please ensure you notify SIAL of these using the Program Form, via the link at the top of this page.

Shared kitchens are within each student apartment and are equipped for the use of students to cook for themselves and entertain their peers. Students will also be able to attend a cookery class during orientation week to help inspire their culinary choices.


As a guideline, we would suggest that student's budget approximately £250 - £280 per week for food, drinks and additional spending money including weekend activities.

Travel in London and the UK

Students will travel to locations within London using Transport for London (TfL) services. Students will be provided with a Bus & Tram Pass for the duration of the program, which will provide access to travel in the city during their stay in London. Students may wish to use their contactless card to use London Underground services and other modes of transport within the TfL network, but please note that we will provide enough time between activities for students to walk or travel by bus to their destination.

Lost or damaged Bus & Tram Passes will be replaced at the student’s cost.

Travel costs for UK field trips are also included. Some optional and extracurricular trips may be offered that incur modest additional travel costs.


SIAL welcomes requests for student provisions (academic, personal, or other) from students using the Program Form. We ask that students submit requests and other important information that may affect student experience in the Gap Year Program Form as early as possible in order to provide us with sufficient time to make any necessary arrangements, and ensure that all students have a fulfilling, enjoyable and safe experience.

*We encourage students to disclose and mental or physical health conditions or concerns as soon as possible, so we can ensure that necessary provisions are in place before the program begins.


Please note that SIAL staff are unable to divulge any information about students without their written permission. Parents are strongly advised to discuss this with students before the start of the program and encourage them to complete the Consent Form.

Where consent has been given, the main phone line available for parent/guardian(s) goes directly to the Residential Life Coordinators. This number will be provided closer to the start of the program. SIAL will primarily communicate with parent/guardian(s) through email. Please be diligent about checking and reading emails from the program.

Some students might feel homesick at the start of the program, and they may need a few days to adjust to the new surroundings and routines. Residential Life Coordinators will be especially attentive to the needs of students at the start of the program. Once settled in, students typically become fully engaged in the program and calls home may become less frequent. We suggest establishing reasonable communication expectations between parent/guardian(s) and students before the start of the program.

Packing List

What to Bring

  • Clothing: light and cool casual summer clothing, jacket or sweatshirt, raincoat, sandals, comfortable walking shoes, a set of nicer, professional clothes
  • Weather gear: sunscreen, sunglasses, umbrella, reusable water bottle
  • Academic supplies: laptop, notebook or journal
  • Personal electronics: smart phone, camera, alarm clock, headphones, etc.
  • Personal items: toiletries, towel, hair dryer, etc.
  • Passport and copy of health insurance details
  • Spending money

*Students should bring clothing that is smart casual and appropriate for class site visits to offices and workspaces (comfortable, but presentable). Formal wear is not necessary for Gap Year (dress clothes, dresses/gowns, suits and ties, dress shoes, sports jackets, etc.) but students may wish to bring a few smarter pieces for graduation and evening meals.

What NOT to Bring:

  • Students may not bring flammable materials, including but not limited to candles, incense, matches, lighters, explosive devices or fireworks. Violators of this policy will be subject to immediate dismissal.
  • Students are not allowed to bring weapons of any kind, including but not limited to knives, firearms, paintball guns, laser pointers, pepper spray or other dangerous items. Violators of this policy will be subject to immediate dismissal.
  • Students are not allowed to use or possess drugs or unauthorized medications. Violators of this policy will be subject to immediate dismissal.
  • Students may not bring pets except for licensed service animals.
  • Students may not bring kitchen appliances, such as toaster ovens or hot plates.
  • Students may not bring drones or any other motorized objects.
  • We recommend that students not bring any valuables; SIAL does not take responsibility for lost, damaged or stolen items.


We look forward to providing you with a truly rewarding learning experience this summer. If you have any questions as the program approaches, please feel free to contact us at