Case Study

Emma Stark

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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