- School: School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies (FAHACS)
- Course: History of Art BA
- Level of Study: Third Year
You can find the full course details here.
What did you study before going to university?
For my A-Levels I studied English Literature, Art, History and Fine Art.
What are your career aspirations and how will your degree help you get there?
I would love to work in the heritage sector, particularly in heritage consultancy. The course at Leeds has been life-changing. I came in with a lot of misconceptions about art and learnt that its study is interesting and important because it is enmeshed in networks of social relationships. As much of a study of art, it is a study of people and of landscape and of history. I surprised myself when my dissertation investigated the role of heritage sites on community identity, rather than focusing on the art/heritage object itself. This study revealed the importance of people in my love of the subject, which is reflected in my career aspirations. A common misconception with history of art, and humanities in general is that they won’t get you a job. Indeed, they might not lead directly to any one job, but my course has given me a unique angle through which to look at the world, and the tools to challenge and make change.
Why did you pick to study at the University of Leeds?
I did a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Falmouth University before coming to Leeds. I initially wanted to study Fine Art and History of Art at a Russell Group University and I could only find a couple I was interested in. I had a couple of friends already in Leeds and had visited once and immediately loved the city. I ended up dropping the Fine Art part before arriving in Leeds – I ended up doing History of Art at Leeds almost by chance, but it is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
How is studying at university different to school and college?
There is a lot more freedom. The libraries are large and lovely and studying becomes a way of life rather than something that feels like a chore (in my experience). My social world revolves around the library and some of the best days involve long, early walks with friends, followed by a day in the library and ending in the pub. It is different because you will be surrounded by people who have chosen a particular academic route they are passionate about. It has been amazing to see the expertise of my friends and I grow in our subject areas. Also, you will be studying in a school with lecturers who are experts in your field who you can call upon for help or go and have a chat to.
What do you do in your free time?
I volunteer for Leeds Nightline, a non advisory, non judgemental listening service run by students for students. This has been an amazing thing to do, it has allowed me to help people but also introduced me to so many fantastic people. I have played in the jazz band at Uni. It is very big, so you can choose whether or not you want to play in the concerts – I chose to play for fun. I have volunteered at the Leeds Literature Festival and the Leeds International Film Festival. I would really recommend doing the same if you have the opportunity. The people I volunteered with were wonderful and it gave me access to some incredible talks and film screenings. I wrote an essay for my ‘Postcolonial Feminism’ class on one I saw! I have also been involved in extinction rebellion whilst in Leeds. I have protested in the city and planted trees in nearby towns. I eat three times a week at Rainbow Junktion and help at their bistros. They are a ‘pay as you feel’ waste food cafe about a fifteen minute walk from campus and everyone there is wonderful. The nightlife in Leeds is very varied and very fun. I particularly like Wharf Chambers, a cooperatively run bar and event space. Cosmic Slop is also amazing and all the proceeds go to funding MAP charity. A regret of mine is that I didn’t explore the surrounding countryside as much as I would have liked – it is really accessible by train and bus and the scenery is spectacular.
What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
I was told once that if you choose subjects that you love, then you won’t go wrong. This has certainly been the case for me! I often look back and feel baffled by how I got here, but I am so grateful. So, trust your instincts, do what you love, and carry on trying really hard because in the end that matters so much more than the grades you get.
What are your top tips when applying for University? Is there anything you did that boosted your application?
Show them that you care. Really research your subject area and show your passion.