Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Design

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Christopher Pearson

 

Art and Design – Level 4/ Year in Industry

 

Can you tell us a little bit about your background before you came to Leeds?

At A Level I did Art and Design, Photography and English Literature. I always wanted to do a creative degree but I was worried about doing Fine Art. I was really please to find a degree which had the academic context. It wasn’t just about your own practice, it was how that would relate to the wider field of design and how you can implement that in the creative industries. The Year in Industry programme was a big attraction too.

What particularly attracted you to the Art and Design course here rather than anywhere else?

I think it was the fact that I wasn’t entirely sure where in the creative industry I wanted to work, so I liked that it was quite a broad course that you could tailor to meet your own needs. Also the optional modules are great because you can add extra components.

The facilities are amazing especially the printmaking workshop and sculpture workshop.

What do you enjoy most about the course?

I think my favourite part is the studio practice. There’s a lot of creative freedom and it gives you quite a nice new perspective. Obviously there are the design components but the evaluation and the analysis that you learn from the more fine art related side of the course is really valuable.

I’m in the sculpture studio working a lot with expanding foam at the moment. I’m doing a lot of large installation drawings, a bit of casting and I’m also in the printmaking workshop.

What’s it like to be a student in Leeds?

I’m from near London which is obviously a massive city. Especially from the suburbs you’re always having to travel to get somewhere. In Leeds it’s one nice hub and the university is perfectly located just outside the main bit of the city. There are a great range of museums, art galleries and other cultural places like Opera North. It has everything that London has, it’s just more concentrated.

 

Year in Industry experience

 

Where did you go for your Year in Industry module and what did you do?

I first worked at a performing arts management company called IMG Artists. They specialise in classical music and I worked in their marketing division which involved a lot of web design and digital marketing.

I then worked at Contemporary Applied Arts which is a gallery. It was more hands on and it was nice to have a contrast between placements. I worked there four days a week and then worked one day a week for IMG Artists who had then hired me. After that I worked at a fashion brand called Syndicut for my last six months. It’s a fashion brand that collaborates with designers and artists, these collaborations are at the core of the brand. The prints on the clothes are all designed by artists and they get an income from the sales of the products. I was a Marketing Sales Intern but I also had a lot of design responsibility, so it was nice to have a bit more creative input and to get to see how a smaller business works.

Has your experiences on placement influenced your studies in final year?

I was exposed to the influences of the artists I worked with in two of my placements and I think that’s fed into my work this year. I also think it gives you a good worth ethic and I’m a bit more driven to get up and get out there and do it.

Has it helped you to decide what you might like to do once you graduate?

It has definitely shown me that there are more options than I thought there were and that this degree is more versatile that I thought it might be.

What I would really love is a mixture of all my placements in one but realistically that isn’t going to happen. In my first placement I did a lot of marketing and a lot of the digital, social media and communications side of the arts industries. I would love the opportunity to work in a role like that in a creative field. I would like to try to do my own thing as well and see if it takes off.

Do you have any tips for anyone thinking about doing the Year in Industry module?

I would definitely encourage them to do it if they were on the fence. Just don’t give up when you’re applying for opportunities, I must have sent out around 50 applications. Don’t give up if you don’t hear back and if you don’t hear back ring them and follow up.

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