- Course: BA Fine Art with History of Art
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I am an artist and filmmaker based in Leeds and born in Leicestershire. My work is inspired by the humour and pressures of growing up in a large Catholic family and spending a lot of time on the internet. I work predominantly in video and installation, using stained glass motifs and social media signifiers, and often make works with and about my parents and five sisters.
What have you been doing since finishing your studies?
Since graduating I’ve had a variety of different jobs including in a school, as a carer and now at Yorkshire Sculpture International, but the flexibility of these roles has allowed me to continue and develop my art practice alongside them. I’ve also been lucky enough to take part in some great development opportunities such as the graduate residency at The Art House Wakefield, Hotel Generation with arebyte Gallery in London, and now the New Artist Collective with UK New Artists, which have increased both my confidence and knowledge of having a career in the arts. Last year I had my first solo show that was fully funded by Arts Council and Leeds Inspired, and I was able to work with the Saturday Art Club at the University of Leeds as well as the Youth Collective at Leeds Art Gallery, as well as being selected for Leeds Artists Show.
Ronnie with her work at Leeds Art Gallery
Which experiences at Leeds do you think have helped you with your career?
Being able and encouraged to show work at loads of great (and free) artist-led spaces in Leeds throughout my time at university has helped me hugely in developing an art career. I had my final exhibition in second-year at Assembly House and after graduating I got a studio space there, which is where I had my first solo show.
I went to Marseille for my year abroad which was such a brilliant year, and I still collaborate with some of the artists I met there. Having this additional year to study in a new context made my final year so fun, as I’d already been collaborating with other artists and had lots of experiences which influenced my practice.
What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?
I loved the sound of the theory side and the distinguished tutors, which I actually enjoyed so much that I changed my course from just Fine Art to Fine Art with History of Art. The practical tutors had a real depth of specialist knowledge that was beneficial in broadening my own understanding of art history and contemporary theory, and this showed in the work I created.
What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?
The people I met over my three years in Leeds and one year in Paris are still frequent collaborators of mine, and are what make the course so great. Having time and space to really get to know other artists and work with them is what I have carried forward into my career.
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?
I would say go for it, make the most of the tutors and the equipment and studio space, and enjoy it because it’s a really fun time.
What does Leeds have as a city to offer students?
Leeds has an ever evolving and growing art scene, affordable studios and places to show work that makes it a tempting place to stay after graduating.