Saba Siddiqui

Saba Siddiqui

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

I have loved art and making art ever since I can remember and despite initially choosing to study medicine, I realised my calling to return to my true creative self. I knew I could not be sat down at desk, I needed to up and about and using my body to make art. 

Leeds has such a buzzing creative community in and out of university, it is so easy to network and get involved in things going on in the city. The campus being so close to the city centre really helps with feeling a part of the bustle of the city but in a student friendly way. People here are so friendly (love Yorkshire!) and there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

The University of Leeds offers an Art and Design programme in a city that is big enough for me to feel at home and fit in being from an ethnic minority. 

What aspects of the course do you enjoy the most? 

Definitely the practical side. There are so many facilities I have never had accessed to before and I have made it my mission whilst I’m here to try out everything I can. The technicians are amazing at teaching and guiding you on how to use everything, as well as giving you ideas for development and their expertise is golden!

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

I have always wanted to help in a positive way. Through my work I shed a light on educating people on decolonisation, anti-racism and cultures of the global majority as well as highlighting the importance of creativity to our world. Through my practical and academic work I am able to choose what I focus in on and what I want to make work about and develop my practice and self as an artist. 

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

There are plenty of work opportunities whilst at University of Leeds. I have undertaken a summer internship on campus on decolonising student education and carried this work on afterwards, which contributed to winning the university’s annual award for equality and inclusion work. 

I have also been on two different student advisory boards and worked as a student ambassador during the Open Days, which has involved so many different roles, responsibilities, skills and experiences for my CV. 

I am also working as the student ambassador for the two galleries that we have here on campus for the public and students. I’ve also put on events and workshops and focus on projects I feel strongly about, such as local asylum-seekers charities. 

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

All of the opportunities available to network, start my own business and develop my creative skillset has given me the confidence and drive to achieve my dream of being an artist, working in museums and galleries, and have my own business doing what I love and sharing that with others. The careers service is also available to us as alumni after we graduate which will be so helpful for advice on my CV, interviews, and freelancing.

What advice would you give to incoming students who are about to start their own university journey?

I would say to grab every opportunity you can and don’t be afraid to go on your own to things, talk to people and get involved in anything you’re interested in. Not following the crowd will help you stand out and brings you so many more chances to get to achieve whatever you want to do if you show enthusiasm and drive.