Life comes full circle sometimes, doesn't it? At the age of 19, I spent my Junior Year Abroad studying in Montpellier, France. Decades later, I am once again an international student at the Bath School of Art & Design's MA Fine Art program. Granted this time, I live here in the UK, but I'm still considered an international student.
Study International interviewed me recently as background for an article they wrote about international students at Bath Spa University. You can read the complete article here, and our original interview is below.
Study International: Why did you choose to study at the Bath School of Art & Design?
Kelly O'Brien: MA Fine Art at BSAD was recommended to me by several graduates of the program. I was impressed by their art practices, so I asked about their education and professional development. We live just outside of Bath on the way to Bristol, so I looked at several MAFA options throughout the region. BSAD felt like the right fit based on referrals, visiting the campus, researching and meeting faculty, and the quality of work coming out of the degree. The fact that the school is nearby is a definite bonus since I am still working while in the program.
SI: Voted as one of the top five creative universities in 2017, how does the school enhance your personal creativity?
KO: One aim for this degree is to carve out time and space for my personal art practice. It was in danger of being overwhelmed and eventually pushed out by my more commercial work. Staying on top of course requirements has helped me set boundaries to do the research and create new personal work, which has been a tremendous boost to my creativity.
SI: Please could you share a few of your favourite moments at Bath School of Art & Design? Or perhaps share any examples of personal artistic projects you have pursued that you’re particularly proud of…
KO: We are lucky, as part-time MAFA students, to have dedicated studio space on campus. Spending time in the studio among other students has been extremely inspiring, motivating, and rewarding. There is a lot of serendipity that otherwise does not happen outside of an academic environment. This feels like a really special time to take advantage of.
SI: How has the school helped you to advance your career in the arts? Did they help you to boost your professional portfolio?
KO: Although I am only in my first year, already I feel engaged professionally by opportunities at school. As part of the Degree Show Working Group, I’m learning how to mount and market a large complex exhibition. Interfacing with students from other MA programs, faculty, school administration and communications staff has been eye-opening and broadened my understanding of how things work. I am confident these opportunities will continue as I proceed with the program.
SI: If you could offer a few words of advice to international students who want to apply to Bath School of Art & Design, what would you say to them?
KO: There is no reason not to consider BSAD as a viable option! The quality of education is terrific and the new art school that is being built to launch in 2019 is world-class. The school size is large enough to offer robust learning opportunities yet intimate enough that faculty and staff can be focused and responsive to your needs. Plus, you couldn’t come to a lovelier city. Bath is an easy day trip to London and close to Bristol, another vibrant arts scene. I couldn’t be happier with the decision to study at BSAD.