Headshot of FAHACS MA student Maria Navaro. Maria stands against a light grey background and wears a white top, she is smiling.

Maria Navaro

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I moved to the UK to change my career path. I have a BA in English Linguistics and Literature and I was working as an executive assistant at a company until 2021. However, I have always wanted to do something different with my life, so I decided to pursue my dream career.

Why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I chose the MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies because I would like to work as a curator some day. I have always been interested in the process behind the scenes: making exhibitions as well as working with collections and archives. I saw in the University of Leeds an interesting option due to the specific core and optional modules that would help me to obtain the knowledge I needed.

What has been the best aspect of your course so far?

The practical activities, namely visiting museums and galleries to apply what we learned in class and having the opportunity to hear from a diverse range of professionals about their experience and advice. Overall, the course has provided me with more clarity about what I want for my future and I feel more confident about it.

Can you tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed as part of your degree?

Doing my dissertation was the most exciting project I have ever done, mainly because for my BA dissertation I had to work with other people. I was looking forward to working alone in order to challenge myself.

Have you worked closely with a particular tutor or member or the University’s academic staff? Tell us about that experience.

Dr Mark Westgarth was my teacher for two modules and I really appreciated his feedback on my academic performance; he helped me to improve and feel better prepared for my dissertation. Likewise, Dr Robert Knifton was my dissertation supervisor and he guided me through the whole process. Thanks to him, it was easier to shape my ideas and trust in my own judgement.

What activities outside of your studies were you involved in?

I totally recommend joining the Language Exchange Programme. Besides having the opportunity to learn and teach a language, you can meet new people with whom you may have interests in common. One of my language partners was also studying an art-related course, so we made plans to visit exhibitions. It is a good option if you want to expand your network.

What would you say to students thinking about studying your course?

The MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies will be a great contribution to your career path, but it is also important to go the extra mile: look for further reading at the University Libraries, ask your teachers for guidance, meet with other students who are as motivated as you, and attend conferences or any related event if possible.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

A piece of advice that I got and I would like to share is “do more than studying”. I think Leeds is a good city to be an student since there are a lot of activities that may interest you.

What do you plan to do once you graduate?

I am planning to stay in the UK, apply for the Graduate visa and build my career within the field. I am currently living in London and there are many job opportunities that are just starting, like me.