After graduating from Winchester School of Art (WSA), I returned to help current students understand what life is like after university. My aim was to further students understanding of their practice through exploring why they came to university in the first place and to highlight the importance of making the most of their time at WSA.
Following from my work at WSA, my interest in personal stories and how they help people has grown. With this at the heart of my work, the project focused on sharing stories, experiences, opinions in the hope of helping students confidence in their abilities.
The first lecture concentrated on the work I did at university and more recently my work at Chapel Arts Studios. I touched on the highlights of university that current students should remember to make use of while they can. The enthusiasm of students from this lecture alone was inspiring, comments like:
“Already making me feel more positive about my year after feeling VERY fed up. THANKS CHLOE!”
“Chloe you are inspirational both as a person and as an artist – we need to see more of you until you go to Australia please! I think it’s important that all years participate in this – I so wish I had met you in my first year!”
“I’ve been inspired to take advantage of the resources available at WSA while I’m still here.”
Click to enlarge the images
Afterwards I led a workshop in which I asked questions about why students came to university in the first place. The emotional response was surprising, moew than I thought I would get. We explored what work students do, including themes, medium and what made them choose that specifically. The aim was to build up their confidence talking to each other as well as getting them to be honest with themselves and everyone about their reasons for being at WSA, because I believe that without knowing why you are studying, your purpose can get lost, and when things get difficult it’s key to remember why you’re at WSA.
We explored why WSA was chosen other universities, the WSA interview process, and also why art? This ended with a collaborative drawing using mixed media, as an expression of emotion without worrying about the outcome whilst continuing the above discussion.
The second lecture carried on with the theme of story telling. As my dissertation looked at the use of storytelling, I shared this knowledge with students, using artists work and quotes as well as my own work.
In the second half of the lecture I asked the audience to share their thoughts on university life, in order to get them thinking. My intention was to create an atmosphere in which they felt they could be truly honest without judgment.
The afternoon workshop used photographs that either the students had brought with them or a photograph they had chosen that I brought with me and they felt they could relate to. We started off by sharing stories, which once again was more emotional that I thought it would be but also took a lot more time than I thought it would. It was great to see everyone being so supportive, honest and empathetic to each person’s story, listening, giving advice and offering related stories before we had even started the second half of the workshop, which was using the wool to show these connections. Students showed a willingness to share their related experiences, helping those who felt alone in theirs to realise they have support in others.
The Artists Manifesto
The final lecture aimed to help the students create a personal manifesto, but started off with reminding everyone that this was professional practice. We explored what they could start doing now to build their CV in preparation for life beyond uni. This was inspired from personal experience as well as talking to graduates about their experience and what advice they would want to give currents students.
The personal manifesto section asked the students to think about a wider range of things they could do, not just becoming a professional artist, in order for them to think about the questions from a broader perspective. For example I asked who inspires them – not just artists but what about filmmakers, teachers, actors? I asked ‘who do you want to work with?’, ‘what makes you different?’ and much more.
The feedback from the project was amazing and I am hoping to continue giving lectures about making the most out of university and sharing my love for people, story sharing and of course, art.