“I have learned so much and feel more confident about my practice and how to move forward.”
Please tell us a bit about your work and your influences
I am studying on the Master of Fine Arts programme at The University of Brighton. I take uplifting and powerful messages found in traditional mining union banners, alongside my personal history growing up in the North East of England, and makes connections with current issues facing working people across the UK.
As well as embellishing an original National Rail jacket and an old boiler suit, I have adapted garments worn by workers in different industries, highlighting concerns over fair pay and conditions. Working with traditional letterpress techniques, I have also produced a collection of A3 prints to show alongside these garments.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to you course and made you choose it?
I have been teaching Art and Design in secondary schools for 19 years. My Headteacher agreed to a year-long sabbatical so that I could study on the Master of Fine Arts programme at the University of Brighton. I had been making my own work and showing in local exhibitions and open houses, but I really wanted time to focus on my own practice. Brighton was my first choice as I am a Brighton Alumni, having trained to teach on the Secondary Art route at Falmer, and also through my work as a lecturer on the same course.
What were the highlights of the course for you?
There have been a number of highlights studying on the MA Fine Art course this year. Learning to use Letterpress with Rose is one, and every tutorial I have had with Amy, Sean, Alex and my mentor, Jo. What wonderful and knowledgeable people they all are! The icing on the cake was exhibiting my work in Unison Centre, London in June.
Was the location of your course in Brighton important?
I have always loved the location of the School of Art and Media at Grand Parade and wanted the opportunity to study there myself. The tutors have excellent credentials, the technicians are so knowledgeable and the print facilities are awsome. The full-time MA studios are at Dorset Place look over the Royal Pavillion, and out to sea, which has been inspirational too.
What are your plans after graduation? What’s next for you?
I return to my school in September on a part-time basis. I am looking forward to getting back into the classroom. Alongside teaching I will continue to develop the ‘Power To The People’ project with opportunities to work with regional union offices, and to catalogue and make work about a large collection of Trade Union badges. Watch this space!
What advice would you give to someone considering doing postgraduate study?
If you are thinking about studying on the MA Fine Art course, DO IT! It really is full-time, so don’t trick yourself into thinking you can work alongside study beyond an occasional day here and there. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well, right? I have learned so much and feel more confident about my practice and how to move forward.