- Course: BA Fine Art with Contemporary Cultural Theory
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m originally from Stratford Upon Avon. Prior to University I was focused on realistic portraits, dabbling in abstract methods and wire sculpture, my practice is now focused on multimedia painting, sculpture installation works that come from a place of processing past and present experiences.
What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?
I first visited Leeds for the open day and instantly gelled with the city and campus, which was important to me.
I attended all the tours and talks and I felt as informed as I could about the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies.
Out of all the universities I visited, Leeds seemed to have the best quality of teaching and equipment as well as a very apparent community spirit. It was also the only university where I had the opportunity to do a Fine Art with … programme which, as I didn’t want to let go of wider studies, put Leeds even higher on my list. I got a closer look into how the School ran during my interview day where, as intense as it was, my decision that Leeds was the place for me was confirmed.
What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?
My art comes from a very personal space so to be passionate about it is to be very clear and open with myself. Leeds makes it very easy to be passionate about your studies, the vast array of modules, in your school and discovery modules, means you always fine something your interest in delivered by an engaging, enthusiastic lecturer. Seminars are always made to be as important as the lectures too, allowing you to have a deeper understanding of that week’s reading or the topic of the week.
The fine art staff are also very good at supporting your passion for your studies. They support group critiques making sure everyone receives and provides helpful feedback for their peers. Fine art lectures also often post time slots for one-on-one critiques with them which I have found to be helpful in furthering my development.
What aspects of the course do you enjoy the most?
Hard question to not cliché-ly say everything, but that is an honest answer. The course is very hard work but gives you so many opportunities to learn and grow. If I had to pick one aspect I would pick the support in experimenting in your work. This comes from the lectures and the specialist basement workshops and the team. In the basement workshops you get the opportunity to really try everything and get a feel for what you like, while also picking the brain of someone who specialises in that media.
Have you worked closely with a particular tutor or member or the University’s academic staff?
Nick Thurston, head of Fine Art level two, has the perfect balance of supportive and constructive criticism in all his feedback. My level two year was 2020-21 so a difficult year for any student, but Nick was so helpful, supportive, and understanding of students situations throughout the whole year.
All the staff I have worked with have been understanding, supportive, and had the intention of furthering your studies. Multiple times I have been writing essays and needed help with something, set up a meeting with either my main lecturer or someone who specialises in the topic and had a great conversation about my work and sent me in the right direction.
What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?
Leeds has an incredible, diverse list of sport societies which you can join no matter your level of ability. I joined the Kickboxing and Krav Maga society in my first year where I met one of my now closest friends as well as learning a new sport. The art society also runs some amazing events including life drawing, must be quick to get a place it’s that popular!
What do you plan to do when you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed so far at Leeds will help with these plans?
In the future I am planning on doing a masters more focused on curating and collecting which Leeds have already been very supportive with by helping my cater my CV to this field. My interest in this field came from an Auctioneering module I completed in Level 2 where I was given the opportunity to join The Centre for the Study of the Art & Antiques Market (CSAAM) which has allowed me to learn more about the field from my peers.
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?
Any questions you have, no matter how small or silly you think they are, ask them. They’ll be nothing worse than weighing up your options and thinking ‘oh if I just knew X, Y or Z...’, instead take the opportunity now to ask.
Fine Art with Contemporary Culture Theory is a well balanced and rounded course that encourages critical, something, and being true to your own creativity.