Portrait of Michael schofield

Michael Schofield

Why did you choose to study your Masters at the University of Leeds? 

I wanted a career change. I was struggling to earn a living freelancing and I wanted to start taking my creative practice as a photographer seriously. My girlfriend found me the course and encouraged me to sign up, and I’m really glad she did as it changed my life!

Tell us about the opportunities you took advantage of at Leeds.

I responded to an open call from the School of Music and ended up being their main concert photographer for two years, which was great. I also had my first screening at a film festival while on the course. My tutors were impressed with my academic writing and suggested that I start working on a PhD proposal. I managed to get a scholarship and I’m still here five years later.

How has your experience of studying a Masters helped you with your PhD? 

I definitely wouldn’t be a postgraduate researcher today if it wasn’t for this course. It gave me the tools and the confidence to push into a new career in academia. I realised that this could actually be the most supportive and inspiring place for an artist to work, and that I had always conducted my practice like research anyway. 

What advice would you give to future students? 

It’s a lot to cram into a year, particularly when you’re doing very time-consuming things like making films. But don’t skimp on the reading! What really unlocked new possibilities for me was actually the theory – looking at photography and cinema in new ways.

This is a really great course with very supportive and inspiring staff. I would recommend it to photographers and budding filmmakers who really want to start thinking about their medium seriously, how it works and what it’s really about.