LCFMA16 Graduate Spotlight continues with MA Fashion Curation student Philippa Allison who tells us why she chose the course and LCF, her experience of studying in London as well as offering her top tips for new students.

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What did you study before MA Fashion Curation?

Before my MA studies I did a BA (Hons) in History of Art, Design and Film joint with Museum and Gallery Studies at Kingston University.

Why did you choose LCF?

I chose LCF predominantly for the MA Fashion Curation course  – it’s a unique course, which offers so many learning opportunities that aren’t accessible to the public. Course leaders Judith Clark and Amy de la Haye, organise a variety of lectures and offsite workshops to coincide with the modules – visits to archives, museum workshops and talks with curators in the industry.

What was your favourite thing about studying in London?

For a course like MA Fashion Curation, London is definitely the place to be. It offers access to a number of incredible fashion exhibitions – for example Savage Beauty at the V&A, Women, Fashion Power at the Design Museum, International Fashion Showcase (IFS) – the list goes on. Fortunately as fashion exhibitions are becoming increasingly popular, there are many more upcoming ones to get excited about, such as Judith Clark and Adam Phillips’ exhibition on the Vulgar at the Barbican in October 2016.

Can you tell us a little bit about your final project and dissertation…

My final project, titled Censored: What fashion lies beneath? was a fashion exhibition proposal along with a visual portfolio. The subject was inspired by reading imported fashion magazines in Dubai which is the place I grew up, where images were hand censored with thick black markers by the National Media Council (NMC) to fit the cultural context they entered.

Pages were filled with black marker pens covering ‘indecent’ or exposed areas of the female body. The guidelines of what should be censored over the years have become more relaxed and typically only breasts are covered nowadays. However previously, shoulders, knees, breasts and bums would be scribbled over too. As a result of these markers, much of the fashion adorned by the model is no longer visible to the readers, so they would have to use their imagination and construct their own ideas of what the garment looks like under the censorship line. My project aimed to flip this on its head and show only what is censored and cause frustration amongst the hypothetical visitors in the same way readers in Dubai felt frustration as a result of the obscured and concealed fashion.

What would be your top three tips for prospective students?

  1. Visit as many exhibitions as you can – art, photography, science, fashion – get an insight into different display methods of materials or text panels, what is effective, what wasn’t and why. This knowledge is invaluable when designing your own exhibitions but also you can apply this knowledge to group discussions.

  2. Begin a personal archive of exhibition images – these are great visual references for essays and again they are immensely inspirational when designing your own hypothetical exhibition and final project.

  3. Take on as many Internships, placements, writing opportunities you can to gain experience for your CV. Whether this is assisting on an exhibition or researching in an archive.

What are your plans for the future?

My plan is to find work in a museum or a similar context. I thoroughly enjoy undertaking research so I am aiming to find a position in either exhibition research or archiving.