An Open Letter to the University Of South Wales

I was lucky enough to obtain a place on the Foundation Art, Media and Design course run at Caerleon Campus back in 2010 after being made redundant from my full-time job.  Getting onto this course changed my life and gave me hope that the career I wanted could be achieved.  What I hadn’t bargained for over the year that the course ran, was to make so many good friends, learn new skills that I never even thought about and have the help and support of the fantastic lecturers who really listened to me and made me feel that I mattered as an individual and part of a team.

The course offered me the chance to try out so many new techniques, from creating a stop motion video, 3d art, sculpture and using song lyrics to inspire fashion.  The course taught me that inspiration can be sought from so many different, unlikely sources, experimentation in your thought processes can take your project from one dimension to another.  It has affected how I approach life in general, from how I work on a day-to-day basis, to how I plan my own projects.  I am a lot more creative than I used to be, and that is not because I wasn’t a creative person before the course, it’s because it gave me the confidence to take my ideas from my head and to actually create from the ideas.  The course has taught me that mistakes are often the beginning of new creations and should be embraced, I’m not so scared of making mistakes now, and often learn from them and create from them.

The reason I chose to study Foundation Art in Caerleon Campus was because I like the setting, the university has a lot of history, pretty architectural detailing, the facilities that were offered (hello Darkroom and film processing and printing!),and the studios were bright and sunny, well-lit and the perfect place to experiment with art.  The lecturers were not worried about us making a mess, and actively encouraged us to make the space our own, pinning things to the walls, hanging things from the tables and ceilings, anything that could help our creative flow.

The other reason that I chose Caerleon as my place of study was down to its location from my home.  I live in Pontypool and at the time I couldn’t drive, I was having driving lessons, and had to catch the bus everywhere.  To get to Caerleon on the bus took about an hour, getting 2 busses and cost me around £30 a week to get back and for.  The only other place I could have studied the course would have been Treforrest, and according to Google maps, would take me nearly 2 hours in travel, on public transport to get to.  That kind of travel time would have impacted on my study time and would have had an effect on my attendance too, as missing one transport link would have made me miss lectures.  it would have also caused me to be hugely stressed out, limit me to what I could physically create and cause problems with transporting any materials that I might have needed.

Shutting the course will impact on people like myself, who want to learn and be able to stay in our own homes.  I wouldn’t consider going for a job that meant I needed to be uprooted from my home unless I wanted to, so why should going to university be any different.  It will put off a lot of people who don’t have easy access to transport, might have families and jobs that need their time.  I was lucky that I had a job to support myself through the course and had the time to travel between my home, uni and work easily.  if the course was based anywhere else then I would have had to consider moving, giving up work or not even attending the course.

The Foundation course feeds into other courses held in the University, I got accepted onto the Photographic Art degree this way.  If I had not have had the opportunity to be part of the Foundation course then I would not have filled a place on my degree, there would be one less person on that course and one less student’s funding coming through the doors.  I can’t remember the numbers of students on my degree course exactly, but I believe there were around 45 of us, out of that number, around 12 of us had come from the Foundation Art course, that is a huge percentage of students that the degree course would lose and have to find from other sources.

There are far-reaching consequences too, where shutting the course is concerned.  The local area, which is not particularly affluent, nor is it at the bottom of poverty, would suffer.  Students will not be coming to the area, going out in the area, shopping in the area or renting homes in the area.  The pubs, local shops, community will suffer.  Even the university itself will suffer from not having a wide-ranging mix of students coming through the doors and interacting , helping and inspiring  each other.

Going back to personal experiences, I would not be where I am today if I had not studied Foundation Art, Media and Design through Caerleon Campus.  I have been able to complete a degree and am now looking at furthering my career in art, combining it with helping people and applying my knowledge to day to day tasks.

Art is such an important subjects, it’s not just about creating “pretty pictures”, there is a depth to any art, whether its conscious, subconscious, easy to understand or has complex meaning behind it.  There is an emotion attached to all art, from the emotion of the creator to how looking at a work of art can make a person feel.  I do not believe, for one second, that shutting this course will have any benefits to anyone, whether it is a lecturer, a student, the local area, the finance side of things, or other courses.

IT MAKES NO SENSE TO SHUT THIS COURSE.

Please, if you value art and creativity as much as I do, click the link below, and sign the petition…your signature counts.

https://www.change.org/p/the-university-of-south-wales-restore-the-foundation-art-and-design-course-in-newport?recruiter=38412930&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_term=des-lg-no_src-no_msg&fb_ref=Default

 

Read more about the course from the news links below…

 

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/11867629.Hundreds_join_campaign_to_save_art_course/

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/11862801.Protest_to_be_held_over_art_course_closure/

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/11843775.Lecturers_campaign_to_keep_University_of_South_Wales_art_course_open/

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/11870687.Students_protest_in_Newport_against_closure_of_art_course/

New Year…New Resolutions

Happy New Year to all my lovely followers and blog readers out there!!!  I can’t quite believe (still, 7 whole days in), that it’s 2015!

I didn’t really make any resolutions last year which, at the time quite suited me, I was, after all battling to complete my degree, college course and holding down both a full time job as well as a part time one.  I think my very words to resolutions last year were “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”.  And, you know what?  I kind of missed them.  In a way I had a ton of goals already pre-set for me and they were more important (dissertation writing, project sorting and getting all my assignments completed for college) but I missed setting my own goals and tasks for the year.

This year I have given a TON of thought to my resolutions.  I have been thinking about them since December!!!  So, here they are…

  • Save money – easy huh?  But under this broad spectrum resolution, which I have made time and again, and never stuck to are ways of saving that bit extra this year which become their own resolutions, helping me to keep this one…
  • Budget my spending – I have already created a spread sheet for this, logging my income and main outgoings – bills, food, fuel, savings etc.  I can add to it each month with other spending I do which will help me have a better idea of where my money goes.  I’m also hoping that by seeing all my spending in black and white will put me off any “extra” spending that I don’t need.
  • Plan purchases – For example – I am a huge beauty product geek and will buy something just because its on offer, regardless if I need it or not.  Planning my purchases means for me, planning when things will run out and only buy when I truly need them, not want them.
  • Stop unnecessary spending on things I don’t really need – pretty similar to the above really, except this goes for “pretty, shiny things” – shoes, bags, clothes, the list could go on and on… I have a ton of bags that I don’t use as they just aren’t quite right and keep impulse buying more in the hope that they will suffice, and they haven’t. I’m always returning to use the same bag again and again as its big enough (read too big) but not that practical or smart.  I need to research any future purchases in detail before handing over the cash.
  • Scale down the contents of my bag, and stop carrying around the same, unused stuff on a daily basis – maybe then one of the bags I have will become the perfect bag….???
  • Plan my meals better – at the moment I tend to snack eat which isn’t healthy.  I really need to plan meals in advance, and if possible pre-cook and perhaps freeze them so there is always something on hand to eat when hunger kicks in.  Hopefully this will lead to saving money too.
  • Do something creative at least once a week – since finishing university and college, apart from creating nails I have not done much creative until now!  I purchased a “Wreck This Journal” by Keri Smith last year and vow to complete it by the end of the year.  If you have never heard of “Wreck This Journal” then check it out here .  This book, and the others in the series are sure to get your creative juices flowing!  I will be posting images of my “Wreck this Journal” to my Instagram if you would like to see them!  (You can find me here )
  • Take more photos and actually do something with them…I already do take photos but not nearly enough and I don’t feel like I have worked on a project in so long.  I have now started a new project which I hope to share a bit with you all soon!
  • Use all my cameras at least for one whole load of film this year.  I have hardly picked up a camera in ages, not since I have owned an iPhone, and somewhere along the way I have started to neglect my other cameras, and I own a few!  I’d like to be able to create something at the end of the year which documents, truly, the year I have had – the good, the bad and the everyday.
  • Read more books and make a list of what I have read- I love books and since owning a Kindle I have read loads more than I have done since starting uni (well textbooks don’t really count do they?) but I have no idea the extent of books I have actually read.  it would be interesting to me to see the number of books I have read in a year and the variety I have read at what times of the year too.
  • Go on more trips – I have a vintage camper that we started to use more last year that the year previous, I think we had about 10 trips (or more) away in it during the summer and I’d like to be able to travel around a bit more and experience more of our beautiful island.  Getting passports is another must do this year, we are planning a trip abroad at some point!!!

I’m sure there will be many more things I could add to this list of “resolutions” and probably will at some point but I feel this is a manageable amount, and the smaller the list the more likely I am to stick to them!
What are some of your resolutions this year?

 

A bit of everything…

I’m just updating as I have a new camera to add to the collection!  😀  I got bought this baby at the weekend by my lovely boyfriend as an early birthday gift!  It’s the Diana Mini and I cant wait to get the film finished and see what the images come out like!  This is the camera http://www.urbanoutfitters.co.uk/lomography-diana-mini-camera/invt/5560410283648/&bklist= (here) and I also got some film for it which you can get here … http://www.urbanoutfitters.co.uk/lomography-35mm-colour-film/invt/5560410284363/&bklist= .  The camera takes 35mm film and shoots to a square format or half frame.  So far my film is set to half frame which means that a 36 exposure film now becomes a 72 exposure film!!!  I have a lot of photos to take!!!!

 

In other news Damien Hirst (<3) has unveiled his new work, Verity in Ilfracombe.   Now,  I love Damien Hirst and his works (reading my blog should make this apparent!) but I also love Ilfracombe.  It’s the place my parents used to take us when we were on holidays, we have spent many an evening walking along the quayside eating prawns from little polystyrene cups, watching fudge being made in the First Shop/Last Shop and taking boat trips out to see dolphins and even a trip on the Balmoral paddle steamer!  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2214616/Damien-Hirsts-disgusting-giant-statue-naked-pregnant-woman-arrives-sedate-Devon-seaside-town.html?ito=feeds-newsxml here’s just one of the “reviews”.

Exhibitions I’d Like to Visit This Summer

Here are my top 8 exhibitions that I would love to go to this summer.

At number 1) Damien Hirst, 4th April – 9th Sept, £14, Tate Modern (http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/damien-hirst).  I LOVE Damien Hirst and all the work that he has created and I would give anything to go to this exhibition.  I was so excited when I found out that he would be exhibiting work this year!

2) Yayoi Kusama, until the 5th June, £10, Tate Modern (http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/yayoi-kusama )  I really want to go and see her dot patterns!  Yayoi has used many different mediums to create works and this really interests me as I love working with all sorts of different things and creating works that are completely different to each other.  Yayoi as created sculptures, drawings, paintings and film amongst many others and I am keen to go and explore her works.

3) Gillian Wearing, until the 17th June, £9.50, Whitechapel Gallery (http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/exhibitions/gillian-wearing) I have looked at some of Gillian’s work this year as inspiration for some of the ideas I have had.  It would be brilliant to see some of her works up close, especially “Signs that say what you want them to say, and not signs that say what someone else wants you to say.” which I think is a really interesting piece of work which involves the public and is quite revealing about what others are thinking.

4) Rachel Whiteread, 1st June – 30th December, price TBC, Whitechapel Gallery (http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/http://www.timeout.com/london/art/event/91795/rachel-whitereadexhibitions/gillian-wearing

I have looked at the work ‘House’, a cast of the inside of an end of terrace house for my project in Foundation on the home.  I would love to see her other works as the ‘House’ piece was really thought-provoking and was a source of inspiration to me.  I havent seen any of her other works and this would be a oppertunity to see some more of her pieces.

5) Martin Parr and Tom Wood ‘The Last Resort’, 5th May – 17th June, Third Floor Gallery (http://www.thirdfloorgallery.com/exhibitions.html)  This exhibition is of photographs of New Brighton.  It is a documentary of British holiday makers amongst other things and would be interesting to see as a photographer myself.  I’d love to see how the photos are captured and how they are exhibited.

6) Through the Mirror – The World of Anthony Browne, 2nd June – 23rd September, Free, National Museum Cardiff (http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/news/?article_id=752)  I’d like to go to this as it looks like fun!  I love the drawing style of Anthony Browne and am interested to see much of his work in one place as an exhibition!

7) Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year, 16th June – 19th September, Free, National Museum Cardiff (http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/whatson/?event_id=5731)  This would be a fantastic opportunity to see some award-winning photography by some of the best wildlife photographers in the world!  I can’t wait to go and see these works, not just to see the photos of the animals but to learn more about wildlife photography from seeing these works.

8) Brendan Stuart Burns – Glimpse,  11th May – 13th June, St David’s Hall (http://www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk/English/Exhibitions/)  I have seen a tiny amount of Brendan’s work and there is something about it that interests and fascinates me and I would like to see more of his work and how his work is created.  I think you can only really get a feel for, and an idea of how work has been approached, by seeing it in the flesh.  I think that this one will be really interesting to go and see.