Tell us about your time at Edinburgh College of Art
I came to Edinburgh College of Art [ECA] on an open day and it instantly felt like home. Two of my teachers at school had been there and had a real love for the place that they somehow instilled in us. One of them had done what was to be my degree, the Fine Art - MA joint, and the other had graduated in Sculpture, which became my specialism, so they were pretty influential!
It was tough to get into, and a tough course to study. We were basically doing two programmes simultaneously, and looking enviously at our studio mates in Sculpture as they seemed to spend endless days experimenting while we had to trudge off to lectures every day. I think it was worth it, though. The balancing of schedules and meeting the same assessment demands of students who were full time in either programme was a real training. I attribute a lot of my ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously to the timetabling of uni.
I think the crit-based learning, while quite daunting at the time, actually creates an ability to collaborate that no other learning does. I can tell the difference between people in my team who have been to art school and those who haven’t because they can easily switch off their egos and work with others to finesse something that’s maybe not quite there yet.
Generally, I had an amazing time at ECA. Most of my strongest friendships were formed there and that peer group has influenced most of the things that have happened in my life personally and professionally.
Tell us about your experiences since leaving Edinburgh College of Art
The first year after graduating was very hard, suddenly being without a clear route to creative expression. I was writing for The Skinny, where I am now Editor-in-Chief, but that was only a monthly thing at the time. I did an internship at MAP magazine which was fascinating but wasn’t going to lead to a job. I worked as a waitress and on a switchboard in a law firm.
After a year, I went travelling. I lived in the rainforest in Ecuador for 6 weeks, travelled the west coast of South America, worked in an 80s bar in New Zealand, and then travelled around India and Nepal. It was an opportunity to learn a world of weird and wonderful things, and experiment with writing and drawing.
I came back to face up to real life and worked in Inverleith House art gallery and then the Scotsman as an online journalist. I also became Art Editor at The Skinny, then Chief Subeditor (due to my extreme pedantry). The Scotsman was a fascinating insight into working in a newsroom that I was in no way qualified for, but quick to learn. Doing the football blog on a Saturday is an experience I am in no way keen to repeat, though.