Frances Dee - student of MA Arts Management and Heritage Studies at the University of Leeds.

Frances Dee

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I am originally from North Hertfordshire and have lived in Leeds now for 4 years. I have always had a passion for art, having loved it throughout school and undertook an Art and Design Foundation Diploma before attending university.

My love of different art forms extends across music and dance, having been a dancer since the age of 3. My own research focuses on dance studies, allowing me to connect my two passions in life.

What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?

I had already undertaken my undergraduate degree here at the University of Leeds, studying History of Art. The instant I came for the open day 4 years ago I knew Leeds and the university was the place for me.

I applied for my Masters course after receiving my dissertation marks from my Undergraduate course and realising new self-belief in myself that I was capable of succeeding at university. The Arts Management course seemed the perfect fit to develop the skills I had already learnt and gained some more vocational skills through the placement opportunities available while studying.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

Arts education is a huge passion of mine. Coming from a state school background I know what it is like to have arts education underfunded, understaffed and underappreciated; and this can be detrimental to a student’s potential if they have no encouragement in the arts elsewhere.

The art sector is an extremely elitist place, which I realised upon coming to university and I want to work to break down this elitism and make opportunities more equal across the board.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most? 

I loved the placement I undertook during my course with the Yorkshire Sculpture International engagement team and the Henry Moore Institute engagement curator, Alison Smith. This was an amazing opportunity to get involved in a sector I had not been a part of before, gain contacts to help me in my future career aspirations and learn valuable skills on engagement in the arts and the running of large scale arts events.

Did you make use of the careers and employability support?

I have visited the career centre and used their website many times in my third year when I was planning on going into full-time work straight out of university and they were extremely helpful. Joblink at the Leeds University Union was all amazing in helping me secure a part-time job which I have needed to fund myself during my Masters course.

Tell us about your internship with Yorkshire Sculpture International.

My internship at Yorkshire Sculpture International was with the engagement team and I was based at the Henry Moore Institute (HMI) for the majority of the placement.

It was an amazing opportunity where I got to help run college art sessions run by the festival, support the development of the HMI engagement programme and really felt like part of the team whose insights were valued. I gained experience that will help hugely in my own career plans to work in arts engagement and have been taken on as an official YSI volunteer for the summer which I am very pleased about!

Did you work closely with a particular tutor or member or the University’s academic staff?

In my undergraduate studies, I worked closely with Griselda Pollock as my personal tutor and Maki Fukuoka as my dissertation tutor. Both were amazing in helping me reach my full potential and get the most out of my studies and writing.

For my masters I have worked a lot with Gill Park who has taught me for several modules. She has been a great help in my transition from History of Art studies to a more practise-led and museological way of thinking.

What other activities are available outside of your studies?

I have been a part of many societies at the university union, notably for myself the Modern Dance Society which I have been a part of now for 4 years and was on the committee for 2 of those years. Getting involved in societies helped me massively with settling into university life and I met some of my closest friends through them.

Part-time work is also available at the university which I have experienced, working open days and now working for the Interconnections Project as a rep, planning events for postgraduates and international students.

What do you plan to do once you’ve finished your course?

Once I finish my course in September I am hoping to go into a career in arts engagement, specifically focusing on schools engagement. The skills I learnt at university to be a critical thinker and the experience from my placement in an engagement team will help me in being able to gain a job in this sector and problem-solve difficult issues within it.