2015 is likely to go down in the history of my own personal memories as one of the most exciting, most crazy and most pivotal years of my life. At the beginning of the year after deliberating about applying to study a Masters course for not the first time over the 8 years since I finished my undergraduate degree at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee, I decided to take a punt and apply to one of, if not the most well known and world renowned institutions for art and design.
My decision to apply for a Masters course was fueled by a knowing that I was up for the next thing. A big change. For a while I had been juggling several different roles within the creative industries and I had a strong sense of wanting to focus on my own work. I longed for the creative freedom and excuse to experiment that comes with studying within an art college environment. Applying to the Royal College of Art, which was voted the no.1 institution for design this year, was one of my usual punt into the sky, not really figured out the consequences, ballsy moves. While I knew I had the ability to do the work and to contribute well to the course these things can often be subjective. Oh and there are only around 20 places on the course so it is massively competitive.
In February I attended the interview. In an attempt to prepare I did a lot of thinking, writing and talking. I tried to arm myself with as much information about how the interview would go so that I wouldn’t get caught off guard. It was a sunny day in London and other than lugging about a small suitcase of jewellery and sketchbooks on the tube and through the long South Kensington walkway, the whole interview experience was pretty good. The people that greeted me were lovely and eager to put me at ease. Course director, Hans Stofer wasn’t as scary as I had heard, he was actually really nice. And although the main conversations in the interview were not what I had expected or prepared for I think it went okay. The tour afterwards with one of the 2nd year students was massively helpful. In short, it felt right. Being there felt good. On the plane home that evening, I was already there. I would be studying at the Royal College. I was locked in a not getting my hopes up/fantasy of already being there battle.
In mid April I was offered a place. The emotions that ensued were a mix of excitement, joy and panic. As fantasy turned in to reality, the sheer belief I had that I would find a way of financing the course and making it work without too much difficulty faded away pretty fast. It wasn’t wrong of me to believe in my own resourcefulness. It’s a skill I do have. But the gravity of the RCA tuition fees are a mighty beast to overcome. And, that’s without the cost of living in London.
Having spent a few months applying to trust funds and career development loans from the bank without any luck I have decided to turn to my last big option. As it happens it is actually the most creative and pro-active approach I could have taken so perhaps it could have been more fitting as my first option. Crowd funding.
For the past couple of weeks I have been putting together a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo. I’ve decided to ask for your support in helping me to raise £3,500, which is the bare minimum (half the tuition fees for year 1) that I need to get me to the Royal College in September. The support so far in getting the campaign together has been phenomenal. I have donations for rewards from many of my friends including, James Donald of Pickone Weaving, Fiona Thompson and Chris Donnolly Ceramics, Jewellery from Aoife White and Kirsty Eaglesfield, Print from Suzi Plunkett and Claire Hemingsly and printed textiles from Fiona McIntosh. Colin Tennant is the fantastic film maker and photographer who is currently putting together the video for my campaign, and Alistair Clark has agreed to do some product photography for me of the rewards. I am immensley grateful for all of this support.
Check out some of the films on Vimeo to see some of Colin’s great films.
This blog post is heads up to all of you out there who already support me. It’s a pre-emptive digital chat with you to let you know what’s happening should you want to donate to the campaign, share it with your friends or donate any rewards. The campaign will go live quite soon so please do share with your friends, family and networks.
I’ll be in touch again once the campaign goes live but until then, Have a great week.