Art and Design – Level 4/ Year in Industry
Can you tell us a little bit about your background before coming to study here?
I did an A level in Art and then did a Foundation Diploma at York College. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go to university at all at first. I enjoyed the Foundation Diploma so much that I decided that I did want to continue with it. I came to an open day at Leeds and just thought that it felt right. I really wanted to come here and I really liked the campus.
What made the Art and Design course here stand out for you?
I really struggled to find Art and Design courses, there’s only a few across the country. I knew that I didn’t want to do Fine Art so it really stood out for me that this was Art and Design. I really liked the campus and when I came to see the studios they were really like the ones I had used previously. I just felt that it was a nice environment to work in.
What about the course do you like the most?
I like the freedom. Even in the modules I did in previous years I got freedom to do things that I’m interested in. Now that my studio project is the biggest module of this year, I can just do what I’m interested in. The topics that they gave us in first and second year were still quite broad but this year there’s no brief at all.
What are you working on at the moment?
I initially started thinking about the process of drawing, what drawing means and the things associated with it. Now I’ve started to do huge drawings about body, gesture, presence and absence. It’s just evolved and been quite a natural process that I’ve really enjoyed doing.
How does your final year differ from previous years?
I’m enjoying the freedom of organising my time because there are less structured lectures.
What is Leeds like as a city for a student?
I love Leeds, there’s so much going on here. I stayed in Leeds for my Year in Industry placements too and I’ve got to know it so much better. There are loads of small art galleries that you wouldn’t necessarily know about. It’s really exciting because there’s always new stuff going on. There’s a really nice art community and scene.
Year in Industry experience
Where did you go for your Year in Industry placement?
I went to a place called Inkwell which is part of Leeds MIND. Nobody had ever done one there before, I found it myself through some research online. I just went along and set up a bit of a relationship with them. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I knew that I was interested in art and people and wanted to help make lives better. I think art is quite powerful and I thought it was a really good space to go and work with people.
Inkwell is part of Leeds MIND which is a mental health charity. People who are having difficulties with mental health can go there. It’s a nice space, not clinical and there’s a café. It’s really informal and people go there because they want to make art, nobody is telling them to do anything. It helps them to cope and live with mental health conditions.
What was your role at Inkwell while you were on placement?
It was really broad, I did a bit of everything. I was involved in marketing, social media and running workshops. We launched a youth project and did a lot of work with the community. We went out to the Royal Armouries, Leeds City Museum and the universities in Leeds. That helped me to learn about the city even more too.
Did it help you learn about the business side of art?
Yes and what leadership within art takes. They sent me on a lot of training courses, so I got to have formal training which will benefit me within my career as well.
Did it give you insight into what you might want to do once you graduate?
Definitely. I’m still not 100% sure, I don’t think anyone one is. I’m looking at graduate schemes in leadership because I had a bit of experience leading programmes and in project management. It’s not something I would have looked at if I hadn’t done the Year in Industry placement.
What were the pros of doing a Year in Industry placement?
The pro is everything really, it was amazing. It gave me time to think about what I wanted to do and it gave me real life experience. I have a little network of professionals in Leeds now that I just wouldn’t have if I had stayed on the student scene. It was great to learn about what other organisations do. There’s a whole community art scene out there that I just wasn’t aware of before I went.