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Embracing creative opportunities

Emily Brewer works in variety of mediums, including sound, sculpture and textiles.

Emily’s studies, like many other students’, have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than seeing this as a detriment, Emily attempted to embrace it in her practice. Emily was pushed creatively as a result of the pandemic, which required her to work in a different way than she was used to in the studios.

"I have begun to view the restrictions as creative opportunities rather than limitations through exploring the diversity of patterns and pieces I can derive from a single framework. Working within a specified parameter across a variety of mediums, including sound, sculpture and textiles, has enabled me to investigate the potential and diversity of materials, which has really become the focus of my final year of study."

Emily has been able to develop creative thinking and skills, as well as explore disciplines in greater depth, thanks to the diverse range of workshops offered by experts at the Reading School of Art. 

"The workshops are really valuable due to the teaching fellows and technicians being appreciative that everyone arrives to university with different backgrounds and experiences, and tailoring them to all levels of abilities, which enabled me to work with sculpture having only really worked two dimensionally before studying at Reading."

Utilising the studios

Emily makes use of the studio spaces that are open with great, natural light.

Every artist requires a place to let their imagination run wild. For Emily, this takes the form of Reading's studios, where she can create and collaborate.

"The studio spaces are open with great, natural light. During each year of your degree, you progress through the different studios spaces. The studios themselves are usually open 24/7 during term time, making the space highly accessible whatever your approach to practice."

Emily has developed a sense of community with her fellow students and lecturers, which is evident in the studios where students can collaborate and gain inspiration from one another.

"Sign up tutorials allow you to discuss your work with a variety of tutors to expand your ideas and the practices you engage with, as well as to discuss specifics with experts in the field. You can also sign up to group crits to discuss your work together with other students in your year or participate in vertical crits which bring the department together across the year groups."

Ambitions for the future

Emily hopes to make a career from her passion and become an art therapist, using art to foster dialogue and aid wellbeing.

“I am excited to continue developing my understanding and passion for both of my subjects which have been fostered through my time at reading. I am personally interested in how the disciplines of art and psychology can cumulatively facilitate health and communication, which I have been able to explore through my undergraduate study.”

Making a mark on the local community

Emily places a high value on gaining practical experience to improve her employability, as well as contributing to the local Reading community and leaving her mark.

“I have been grateful for the opportunities to design and deliver art-based projects, such as collaborations with the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) and the Pharmacy department, to widen participation and open up conversation surrounding stigmatised topics, such as addiction. These opportunities have really helped me to feel connected to the local area.”

Align your values with Reading

Emily’s advice to anyone thinking of studying art and psychology at Reading is:

“Do your research. All the programmes offered by the art department present really exciting opportunities, which can include studying abroad and placements. By looking into the course, this will help you to identify the values that you share with Reading and the capacities you possess to nail your interview and excel on the course.”

Read about the BA Art and Psychology course.

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Image credit: Michaela Efford Photography, Olivia and Alice.