Student Spotlight: Foundation Course

Friday,19 February 2016 in  Courses, Spotlight, Students


"I think this is the best kick start to education in art you can ask for"

This week's spotlight features Katherine Allan, a 2015/16 Foundation Course student and her experience of Leith School of Art.

To see more of the 2015/16 Foundation Course students’ work you can go to their Facebook Page.

Why did you choose Leith School of Art and its Foundation Course?

My adventure with the School started after my gap year, when I heard of the Foundation Course at Leith School of Art and its excellent reputation and tutors from my art teacher.  I was also inspired by my friends’ stories who had attended the School, as well as the atmosphere and aesthetics of the building.

For me the intimate working environment, small course numbers (around 25 students) and the fact that I would be working closely with tutors who provide guidance were really important.  The School’s distinctive atmosphere of encouragement, honesty and the exchange of ideas within our group helped me to flourish and strengthen my application for further art education.

What is so special about this Course?

I think it is the design. The course enables students to experience many kinds of disciplines and ways of working every week, which is really helpful. Before I came here I didn’t know who I was, whether I was a painter, sculptor or a graphic designer. Here you learn about yourself as an artist because of this environment.  You start to work out how you like to work, what medium you like and what atmosphere. During the weeks we quickly build up a lot of experience and when the first personal project arrives, you know which avenue to go down as you have tried it out before.

What is your best moment or memory of the Course so far?

One of the best moments was a field trip to the abandoned RBS building at St. Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh.  It was a 3-day opportunity to explore this neglected building and its atmosphere.  It felt like exploring vaults.

Another great moment was the first exhibition which took place before Christmas.  Seeing your work and seeing people looking at it with understanding was really rewarding.  It confirmed that I have made the right decision.

What is your favourite project so far?

My favourite project was the personal project when I could choose my own discipline and medium. I made an installation and worked with domestic objects in response to some artists I love.  It was another journey of self-discovery.

 I really got to explore a personal subject matter and I started to refine what I was interested in. That gave me a chance to understand my working methods and I got something out of this work.

What project are you working on now?

At the moment I’m working on my second personal project, which is another installation focusing on the idea of how we are all connected and how we all impact each another in a certain way. I want to create an experience for the viewer.   I’m exploring glass and mirrors and the butterfly effect is the motif.

How did the course help you to develop as an artist?

The intimate size of the group boosted my confidence. It allows you to get to know everyone and discover what they are interested in. Everybody is really supportive so you feel confident to try new things and we encourage one another. When somebody gets stressed out we just talk about it and there is no pressure in the group.

Moreover, Leith School of Art gave me an opportunity to discover new things and share ideas within a group. We are all interested in different people, so we very often inspire each other.  I think it comes from this intimate working environment.

What’s next for you?

I have applied to Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee, Edinburgh College of Art and Glasgow School of Art, for the first or second year of Conceptual Art, Intermedia and Sculpture courses.

What will you take away from this experience?

Skills, confidence in my own work, and lots of great memories.  Everybody gets really upset when we think that this course will finish, I’m going to be nostalgic about this place. Another thing I will take away is lasting friendships and I feel that I can always come back to Leith if I need any reference or advice. I will definitely be back to see the other exhibitions!

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