Molly stands in front of her artwork at the final year degree show.

Molly Newham

I knew I wanted to come to Leeds because of the gorgeous campus, vibrant city and I saw the Stanley and Aubrey Burton Gallery at an open day and it really drew me to the uni.

I chose this course specifically because of the focus on theory, and the chance to do a range of art history and cultural studies modules. I have got to study things from museums to British modernism and the New York School!

What aspects of the course do you enjoy the most? 

I love having access to my studio 24/7, and the Visiting Artist Talks each week are really inspiring. I also loved the chance to work with the visiting lecturers and professional artists who come to do workshops with us. I’ve been able to get to know architects, socially engaged artists and work with local studios. It really helps you to consider your own path after uni.

Can you tell us about your practice now, and how the course, and opportunities outside of it have helped you to develop?

My practice examines the landscape, specifically at the moment coastal erosion in Yorkshire. I have loved my tutorials with my tutors who have really helped me develop this body of work.

The course has pushed me professionally, making sure I can produce a high quality portfolio and documentation. This has led me to be part of a range of exhibitions outside of University, such as Sunny Bank Mills Ones to Watch 2023, and Open Art Space 2023. I’ve also pushed myself to expand through completing the Coastal North Fellowship, an emerging artist development programme with Crescent Arts in 2021/2022.

Sculpture by Molly Newham titled Erosion Terms IV, V, VI; Deposit, Fragment, Slip (2023), Mixed media, waterproof jacket, tarpaulin, rope, garden trellis, dust sheets.

Molly Newham, Erosion Terms IV, V, VI; Deposit, Fragment, Slip (2023), Mixed media, waterproof jacket, tarpaulin, rope, garden trellis, dust sheets. Can you let us in? BA Fine Art Degree Show, School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds. Photo by Jules Lister.

What about the learning facilities in your School and at the University?

The technical staff are really helpful and will do their utmost to make any idea you have a reality. I really love the studios at this uni, there is lots of open space, and a dedicated professional project space that you can book to put on exhibitions for free. The libraries are also amazing, Brotherton is my favourite.

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?

I took part in a lot of student voice work. I was course representative, and then became school representative for Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies. This has really helped me develop skills for my CV like chairing and minuting meetings and working with academic staff. I’ve also been part of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Culture Student Advisory board. Sharing and providing my experience as a first generation university student has been really rewarding.

I also did volunteering with the university galleries, as an events assistant, and I helped when they had events or opening. I even planned and developed my own workshop with Leeds Asylum Support Network. There’s loads to get involved with!

How do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with your career plans?

I think I’ve learnt to be a resilient and hardworking individual person through my course. I have also gained so much experience working with a variety of different people, I wouldn’t have had chance to if I didn’t come to university. This last year I had a mentor through the University of Leeds Alumni Mentoring programme and it’s really helped me reflect on all that I have achieved over the last three years and that I’m ready for my next steps!

Find out more about undergraduate courses in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies