Why These Three Creatives Chose Leeds Arts University For Their Postgraduate Study and How It’s Helping Them Develop Their Career

· Kirsty Allen · Business

An inside look at postgraduate life at Leeds Arts University.

Maja Novak Leeds Arts Uni

Immerse yourself in a world of creativity with a postgraduate degree at Leeds Arts University. From fine art to worldbuilding, this is your chance to expand your skills and find your specialism. Check out their postgraduate courses.

Studying for a postgraduate degree at Leeds Arts University is a great way to further your creative career. We spoke to three students who are doing just that.

Whether you’re looking to continue your studies, or you’d like to try your hand at something you’ve always had a passion for, Leeds Arts University is a great destination for creative postgraduates. But there’s no one better to help you decide whether the university’s the right fit for you than someone who’s done it themselves, so let us introduce you to three of their current students.

Amy Evans, MA Animation

Amy Evans Leeds Arts Uni

Credit: Amy Evans

In the ten years since Amy completed her undergraduate degree she’s worked in publishing and print, taking on exciting freelance projects with Big Issue North, as well as working extra jobs to help pay the bills. When she received a significant medical diagnosis in 2021 it made her question what she really wanted out of life. Today she’s studying for her MA in Animation.

It was word of mouth that led Amy to explore Leeds Arts University’s postgrad options. While completing a course elsewhere, she met a previous student and they couldn’t recommend the university enough. She attended a virtual open day, sitting in on all of the course chats to get an idea of which one to do. The success stories of alumni stood out, helping to shape her decision.

This trend flowed through into the course itself – speakers from a range of creative industries visit the university to talk through their own careers and projects. There are loads of chances to make industry connections and get involved with local opportunities, helping students build solid networks and further their career prospects in preparation for life beyond university.

“It’s brilliant that they’re working so closely with such a large creative endeavour that has that wider impact beyond just the university,” Amy told us. “There’s a really big emphasis on making those connections, working with people, taking opportunities where you can, and doing a lot of cross disciplinary things as well. They really encourage students to collaborate with each other.”

Chloe Green, MA Illustration with Graphic Novel

Leeds Arts University

Credit: Chloe Green

Chloe Green took a fairly untraditional route to postgraduate studies. Rather than going to college or uni, she set up her own creative business, producing textiles and pattern designs. She also worked for the Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival and it was this four years of hands-on industry experience alongside her portfolio which led to her acceptance on the MA Illustration with Graphic Novel course.

Under the helpful and communicative guidance of the admissions team, Chloe worked through the steps required. There was an essay to test her academic writing skills, and the whole process was very straightforward. When she arrived at the university, she was taken aback by the sheer variety and talent of the students around her, as well as the passion of the university staff.

“The biggest thing for me personally, is suddenly being in this room with incredibly talented artists of all different genres,” Chloe explained. “The best of the best are in the same classroom as you. On top of that, you’ve got lecturers who have got years and years and years of industry experience, as well as academic experience, and it feels like you’re getting the best of both worlds.”

On campus, the facilities are unrivalled. There’s an entire library devoted to art, as well as workshops for everything from woodwork to screen printing. Chloe has been able to access cutting edge tech like 3D scanners, removing the need to invest in her own costly equipment. What’s more, working alongside experienced workshop staff helps her to siphon specialist knowledge.

Maja Novak, MA Fine Art

Maja Novak

Credit: Donovan Doherty

After completing her undergrad on an Erasmus programme, Maja spent five years trying to figure out what to specialise in. Alongside working as a freelance illustrator, she also taught painting and yoga, worked in art studios and took on internships. Feeling a little lost, she saw postgraduate study as a way to gain a sense of direction, leading her to enrol on the MA Fine Art course.

The course itself takes the form of two core modules, led by two tutors. In terms of learning, it’s all very hands-on, with plenty of opportunities to work in groups. Everything is structured around your practice, your skillset and ultimately the direction you want to go in – this was perfect for Maja, who was able to step back and reflect on her artistic style, under the supportive guide of the tutors.

It’s this solid support network that allows students to think big, providing creative freedom with the full backing of their mentors. “The teachers are more or less available anytime really, which is great,” Maja explained. “What made a difference for me, is while they are really interested in you, they’re not interested so much in giving you a structure you need to follow. You have a lot of space.”

Maja spends a lot of time making use of the university’s incredible facilities, including the ceramics studio and sculpture workshop. Working in a real studio offers invaluable real-life experience for when she finishes her studies. So, what’s next for Maja? She still plans to be a freelance artist, but her Masters is giving her a lot more clarity over her strengths and how to move forwards.

Cover image credit: Donovan Doherty