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Case Study

Emma Stark

Sunderland, UK

BA (Hons) Fine Art

Studying at Sunderland provided artist Emma Stark with the springboard to travel and work around the world. Originally from London, Emma completed a foundation year at Central Saint Martins before taking a two-year study break and then applying to Sunderland to study a BA Degree in Fine Art.

The staff at Sunderland were really welcoming and knowledgeable and I was impressed with the facilities and studio space they had for art students. I also felt that after my foundation year, I wanted an institution that would offer me more freedom of expression and Sunderland definitely did that. The tutors I worked with were very open-minded and willing to talk through ideas. You were taught to build up professional practice whilst studying and not just expect to find a relevant job because you had an art degree.
During my degree I volunteered at two galleries and worked at the Venice Biennale, one of the largest art fairs in the world, thanks to contacts I had made through the University of Sunderland. I also gained a lot of experience exhibiting my own work, both in university shows and independently and all the guidance I received from tutors forced me to constantly evaluate my own practice and make considered decisions about how to push my artwork further. 
After graduating I decided to move to Hong Kong to gain more experience of international art and to live in a completely different culture. Creating art in Hong Kong is very different as I simply don't have the same space here that I have back home, apartments are notoriously small and expensive. But my time in Sunderland has taught me not to let this restrict me. Instead, I enjoy trying to find things in Hong Kong to inspire me, whether that’s traditional silk patterns or really kitsch Hello Kitty prints.
I still try to visit the university when I'm back home to catch up with the staff and I often get advice on what I should be doing to further build a career in the arts.”

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