"There is a real sense of community and a small culture within such a small institute which was unique to the university."

"I chose Fine Art because I liked the flexibility of creating my own briefs and having an input into the modules. The subject was also multidisciplinary which allowed me to use all the facilities available to produce work of different mediums using a variety of techniques, all with guidance and support of the specialist technicians! The tutors dedicated a lot of time to support students using 1:1 tutorials in addition to lectures unlike other subjects."

Born in Tanzania and raised in Zanzibar, Fiona moved to Wigan before eventually going to Carlisle to join the Brampton Road arts campus as a Fine Art student. "I really liked the fact the course was small and the tutors all knew the students. The studio spaces were also big and spacious and that was a bonus. The Brampton road campus was very close to Stanwix which was were I stayed, similar to other university students, as it was an easy walk/commute to the university. It was great being so close to Rickerby park and the Carlisle City Centre having both the benifits of country side and city.

"I liked the intimacy of the course and the fact it was a small intake so you could build good relationships with fellow pupils, technicians and tutors. There were also many opportunities outside to the institution such as trips, spaces to hire to set up exhibitions and residential set up my past students. There is a real sense of community and a small culture within such a small institute which was unique to the university."

Fiona did her part to help raise that community spirit. "As a student representative, I was fortunate enough to see what the university did to support their students. I would raise problems from peers and suggest solutions at the meetings and saw the university take action to resolve any issues, from ordering more bins to changing whole modules to accommodate the student’s needs."

There were plenty of opportunities to make friends, even amongst her tutors. "Jane Topping was brilliant with all students and got to know everyone on the course. She was professional and organized and extremely reaible but also approachable and easy to talk to! I am still in contact with my university friends from my subject and students within other subjects at the Brampton road campus and we see each other frequently considering we live quite far away."

"I learnt so many skills as an artist but most importantly teamwork, communications and organizational skills through having the opportunity to be team liaison at the degree show."

"I knew that I wanted to teach before I went to university, and fine art has always been my strongest subject, but the fine art degree taught me so much about so many disciplines from computer aided design, photography, editing films, textiles and surface design, sculpture using ceramics, wood and metal to more traditional drawings and painting techniques! I had a great time exploring all mediums over my 3 years at the University of Cumbria. I am proud of achieving a first class honors, I didn’t enter the course thinking I would ever have achieved that and I enjoyed going to university so everything fell into place."

After completing her undergraduate degree, Fiona continued her teaching ambitions by studying a PGCE at a university closer to her home town. "I am now moving to Sweden to teach at an English speaking school. My degree taught me fundamental skills such as time management, organisation, communication and creativity, just to name a few and I have carried these into my teaching practice. I have also been inspired by great tutors at university and have taken inspiration from their style of teaching to form my own teaching style."

Fiona has now completed her dream by becoming a Teacher of Design. "I enjoy working with pupils and watching them create ideas and be problem solvers. Younger pupils don’t always have many opportunities to explore new materials and technologies and learn about design and I enjoy watching pupils try new creative processes for the first time."

She's definitely ready to recommend Cumbria to anyone interested in art. "If you want to explore different media and be creative with plenty of support from specialist technicians and tutors when needed; develop your own projects personal to you by getting opportunities to write your own briefs for modules and become a part of of a small creative community then UoC is right for you.  Make sure you know what makes you tick - as much as the tutors are great at supporting you, you have to meter your degree with a drive and passion for your subject!"


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