UAL’s Postgraduate Community are currently recruiting new student ambassadors for the upcoming academic year. We caught up with Noemi Gunea (MA Performance Design and Practice, CSM) and Frederic Anderson (MFA Fine Art, Wimbledon) who discussed what is was like being a Postgraduate Community Ambassador during the last academic year 2016-2017.
Why did you apply to become a PG Community Ambassador?
Noemi: One of the most precious aspects of studying at Central Saint Martins for me has been meeting and collaborating with fantastic artists from all over the world. However, I found it very difficult in my first year to meet people from outside my course – everyone is very busy and I wasn’t aware of many networking opportunities in the college. I was interested in becoming a Postgraduate Community Ambassador because that meant I could approach students more easily and create my own opportunities for networking. I organised Theatre of the Oppressed workshops, a space to talk about ideas and an interactive walk around King’s Cross, as well as participating in the events other PG Community Ambassadors were organising. That way I was able to meet people through performance events, my medium of choice, and also be paid for it!
Was the experience what you expected it to be?
Frederic: Like you, I was quite surprised during my first year at how rigid the boundaries between the postgraduate courses seemed to be, even in a smaller college like Wimbledon. I did what I could to break them down and start some fruitful cross-course dialogues, so when the opportunity came up to work for the Postgraduate Community I didn’t think twice about applying. I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the beginning, and I was a little daunted at the prospect of having to organise and deliver an event, but it turned out to be a valuable and rewarding experience that complimented my course and gently pushed me out of my comfort zone. I got to meet some great artists not just from other courses at my college but from all across UAL, most importantly also alumni who could offer advice on early steps after graduation. As an added bonus, the event I organised plus all the others I took part in, could be written up and used for Professional Development section of my course. All in all, I got much more out of it than I could have imagined when I first showed up for the interview.
How did you find the process of organising and delivering an event?
Noemi: My first event was Keen Eyed Strollers. I’d heard about the Midnight Run events, where artists join the audience for overnight walks around London and perform different activities and workshops. Initially I just wanted to organise something like this, but realised soon that it would be a big commitment for people to spend 6-8 hours on a pilot event so I reduced the activities to 3 hours, and scouted for locations around Kings Cross. Getting the event approved by the local site management company Argent was the most difficult part of the event, as I’m quite impatient and they were not quick in replying to my emails. Camilla (Postgraduate Community Co-ordinator) was of fantastic support and consolation when out of 30 people who booked only 7 showed up on the day. Further along the year, that was the most difficult aspect for me; making sure people turn up to free events!
What would you change if you started over again?
Frederic: I don’t think I’d change that much really. I only wish there could have been more time to organise more events and get even more involved, but with the pressures of the final year and having to prepare a degree show there just simply wasn’t time. The gallery tour I organised went pretty well and I would have loved to have made that into a regular event. Being able to write blog articles and exhibition reviews was great because I could do that on the train and in the evenings. I think it helped improve my writing skills and that was one outcome I didn’t expect at the beginning.
How did you find writing the blog articles?
Noemi: Quite exciting. I used to write personal essays for a Romanian magazine, similar to Vice back in the day, but I felt quite nervous to write for a more academic audience. English is also not my first language, so I put quite a lot of time trying to make sure everything is correct. I think it helped me improve my writing quite a lot!
You can read a sample of what Noemi and Frederic wrote whilst being PG Community Ambassadors here:
Sustainability in the Performing Arts – by Noemi Gunea
American Dream – A UAL takeover of the British Museum -by Noemi Gunea
DRAW event – with architect Marcus Beale – by Frederic Anderson
Summer Residency at the Koppel Project – by Frederic Anderson
If you are interested in becoming a Postgraduate Community Ambassador during the 2017/18 academic year, please apply!
Deadline, Monday 9 October 2017, 12pm