Fine Art - BA (Hons)
Redundancy is something Ian didn’t foresee in his future. Unfortunately, things didn’t map out as planned and he found himself unemployed and applying for jobseekers allowance whilst trying to find his feet again.
I always intended on returning to higher education to pursue fine art, however after completing a foundation course in 1983, I found myself making money in one job which then lead to another job and another… Before I knew it, 35 years had gone by.
I was shocked by the lack of encouragement provided by the job seeker officers: “The government doesn’t like all that arty-farty stuff, you need to be thinking about a proper job”. They did everything to put me off and downplayed my ambitions. It was suggested that as a mature student I would struggle to get a loan from student finance, in fact it was recommended that I find a Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm job.
Despite the lack of support, I proceeded to put my portfolio together and applied for BA (Hons) Fine Art at Birmingham City University as a mature student. I attended the Open Day where I was able to get a feel for the rhythm of the School and meet with the other students. It was nice just to discuss work with the tutors and technicians who are happy to go into the nerdy details which then creates a bond.
Since studying at BCU I have really enjoyed interacting with the other students and hearing their opinions. The large body of work that I am creating is something I am really proud of. I can see a trajectory from my first days here and now in second year, the development is amazing. The odd thing is I don't feel different towards my work, but I know my artistic voice is being tuned and edited by the conversations and opportunities I'm finding here at BCU. Every day is exciting!
I plan to continue developing and creating work, but ultimately I want to make my living and my way through life as an artist. It will be difficult and I know I will face challenges, but feel the experiences and the confidence that the tutors have instilled in me are preparing me for this journey.
The most challenging aspect has been getting back into the rhythm of academia; writing essays and meeting deadlines. However I’m grateful for the support and happy that my work has been taken seriously!
Being part of a creative and supportive network definitely helps you strive for the best.