'My fine art degree will help inform my existing architectural practice'

GREAT scholar Bhavana from India is pursuing a master's in fine art at Arts University Bournemouth. She founded an architectural firm in Bangalore, India and has returned to studying after many years of work to inform and add to her existing practice.

'Studying in the UK leaves space for a lot of creative freedom'.

'I came to the UK to be more experimental and push boundaries'

I am an architect and have an architecture practice at home in India, but I wanted to be more experimental with my practice. At mid-career, I felt I had explored design practice in my country, and my context, to the best of my ability. I sought out international exposure to push boundaries, go beyond architecture, and redefine what a creative practice could be for me.

That's why I decided to study fine art in the UK. There's a lot of creative freedom, and the flexibility to make what I want out of my studies.

Hauser and Wirth Gallery, Somerset.

'I've been able to travel and take inspiration from architecture and art across the UK'.

'Fine art education will enrich my architecture work and expand my creative practice'

I've always felt that as an architect, I've spent a lot of time doing many different things which result in one product - the building. Sometimes, it can feel limiting there is only a single outcome out of all that time and effort. I hope that by adding new methods and mediums to my practice, I can have multiple outcomes from my design process. I am not looking to change my career from being an architect to becoming an artist. I think they can go alongside each other, and what I'm doing here can inform and add to my existing architectural practice.

'In the UK, I have been able to try new mediums and experiment freely'.

'I'm learning to trust the creative process, without focusing too much on the result'

While studying here, for a change, I've been more focused on processes than creating a specific, pre-defined end product. There is no set deliverable that I have to achieve here at the end of the day. To find an artistic practice, I must lean into the process and trust that the product will emerge. It's been a huge change not to anticipate a product from the beginning, and just get started and do things on that basis.

'My first exhibition at Arts University Bournemouth'.

'Fine art is open to anything you might choose to make as a practice'.

'The freedom I have during my fine art studies is so rewarding'

I came to study fine art in the UK with a very open mind. I didn't know exactly what I would do because I have a design practice, which is quite distinct from having an art practice. In the last few months, I've been trying many different things. Fine art is open to anything you might choose to make as a practice, and the freedom and flexibility I have here are so rewarding.

'I love that Bournemouth is on the coast, so you're never far from a beach'.

'I've visited world-class cultural institutions and galleries, including the Tate Modern in London'.

'My critical thinking skills are being pushed'

I have reached a place where I can learn from anybody and everything. My critical thinking skills are being pushed more than ever before. I didn't expect the course to be as intense as it is, and I love it. We've had a lot of lectures on what contemporary art is because it's so wide and all-encompassing. It's fantastic to be able to focus on learning; it's a component that was missing in my life.

I've thrown myself into so many different experiences. I've received exposure to different ways of working and what art can be. Even if I pick a medium which I choose not to focus on this year, I may go back home, reflect on my course materials, and pick it up again. Studying here is giving me so much food for thought.

'I take inspiration from the nature in Bournemouth'

'The landscape in the UK is so varied, and there are incredible places to visit and spend time outside'.

'In Bournemouth, I'm surrounded by nature'

A big part of being in Bournemouth for me is access to nature. Something that I enjoy is hiking. I see hiking and walking as very meditative activities. I used to do it during my time off back home, maybe once or twice a year. But here, I do it more often and see walking and living as a kind of performance. I've found a community of artists I can talk about this with and who support my thoughts and ideas. It's good to meet people who share my enthusiasm and, even if they don't always share my point of view, they understand what I'm saying.

'Seeing bluebells for the first time'.

'The facilities at Arts University Bournemouth are amazing'.

'We have such fascinating printing presses with so much history'

The nature here has also inspired my mark-making practice. I've been working with print and printmaking, despite never having worked with a printing press before. I hadn't imagined that I would do that, and here I am. It's all new stuff, and I've come into it with a very open mind. The facilities here are amazing and at Arts University Bournemouth we have such fascinating presses with so much history. They sparked my interest in printmaking, which I'm exploring in my practice.

'Building new connections at the GREAT scholars networking event in Birmingham in May'.

'Getting a scholarship is a prestigious thing'

GREAT Scholarships offers a £10,000 tuition fee waiver to international students doing full-time, one-year postgraduate courses. Scholarships which support students to study arts subjects are usually hard to come by, but GREAT Scholarships are not subject-specific which made a huge difference to me. In addition to the money, it's a prestigious thing to receive a scholarship from the British Council. When I tell people that I did, it feels good.

'I've had lots of opportunities to share my story'.

'In the application process, reach out to course directors'

For anyone considering applying to study in the UK, regardless of what you want to study, my advice is to reach out to the course director of the programmes you've applied to. Most international students don't know this, but many will make the time to speak with you and walk you through the aims and approach of the course. A big part of why I came to Bournemouth was because I aligned with the course director of my programme and knew he was the right person to guide me. Plus, when you've had a conversation, it puts a face to your application and increases your chances of success.

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Study creative arts in the UK

If you want to study creative arts, the UK really is the best possible place to spark your imagination and your career.

Arts University Bournemouth

Learn about the GREAT Scholarships on offer at Arts University Bournemouth, a creative community focused on art, design, architecture, media and performance.

GREAT Scholarships

GREAT Scholarships are scholarships to UK universities across a variety of subjects, for students from 15 countries. Applications for 2024-25 are open.

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