Sara Pagganwala graduated in BA(Hons) Fine Art from Central saint Martins in 2013.
Since then she has moved to Pakistan, and recently decided to set up a new Alumni group for those living there.
We caught up with Sara to find out more about what she has been doing since graduating, and her future hopes for this newly established group.
What made you decide to come to London and study at UAL?
I was in the process of doing my foundation year at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi, Pakistan. Before I enrolled, I wanted to go abroad for my higher education but decided to do a foundation year here so as to get more grounding in exactly what it was within the arts that I wanted to focus on. Whilst applying, CSM was at the top of my list.
I was inclined towards studying there as they had just introduced a new course at the time, XD (cross dimensional).
I was intrigued by the idea of not having to restrict myself to a certain pathway, as I have always thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with new mediums. The course made the decision for me, and that was the beginning of life at UAL!
What did you study? And did you enjoy your time at UAL?
I did my BA (Hons) Fine Art as an XD pathway student. The time I spent at UAL broadened my horizons and gave me great insight and exposure. Also, having done a foundation year here at Indus Valley, I had the opportunity to study in two very distinct styles of institutions.
Being away gave me the necessary distance to look back in retrospect at not just the education, but life as an artist within the broader spectrum as well. Collaborating and connecting with people from all over the world really opened up doors, which perhaps might not have been investigated whilst being in such close proximity of the comfort zone of home.
There were ups and downs that are part and parcel of being an international student, but the support from UAL made it easier to integrate into life in London and taught me the necessary tools to be a self initiated, independent artist.
What have you been doing since you graduated?
Ever since graduating and returning back to Pakistan, I have been actively practising my art and have been a part of numerous exhibitions. I also teach Introduction to Performance Art within the Liberal Arts department at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, which was introduced for the first time in Pakistan.
Aside from that, I am an assistant curator working for the Karachi Biennale that is to take place later on this year – the first ever to take place in Pakistan!
What made you want to set up an alumni group in Pakistan? And what do you hope to achieve from it?
I realised that there was no UAL alumni group for Pakistan and thought it would be great to start one here. Being a part of UAL, we all have something in common, and I felt the next step would be to set up a platform for all UAL graduates to collaborate, support and connect not only to each other, but also with the institution.
I think the group will be beneficial not only for alumni, but also for those who are currently studying at UAL, as well as those thinking of applying there. I would like the group to be able to provide a service where prospective students can meet with alumni to discuss their queries and to be pointed in the right direction. I have already had numerous questions with regard to applications and portfolios.
I think if the group could support and assist prospective students in such matters, it might help make the process a little easier for them. From my experience of applying to UAL, it can be a very daunting task.
Going to an alien country no matter how many times you may have visited previously is daunting, and being a student there is a whole different ball game, so I think that a little reassurance goes a long way!
It all began with proposing the idea about two years ago, when we began talks and now we are here! Hopefully, this leads to a lot of fruitful, productive and constructive conversations and ideas!