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Case Study

Kathryn Wightman

MA Glass and Ceramics

Studying at Sunderland gave Kathryn Wightman the chance to change her degree course and the course of her life! Kathryn, from Newcastle, studied glass to Degree, Masters and PhD level at Sunderland before moving down under to New Zealand, where she now teaches at the Wanganui Glass School.

I had started studying for a degree in Psychology and knew it wasn’t for me, so I asked if I could change to something more suited to my practical nature. After a great deal of help I went on to study glass and ceramics – a world away from my original course – and when my degree finished I went on to do an MA in Glass.

It’s amazing to think that when I started studying I was heading in a completely different direction. Thanks to the University of Sunderland I was given a fantastic opportunity which has really shaped the rest of my life.

A lot of people I talk to within the glass community over in the States, here in New Zealand and in Australia, are all aware of Sunderland’s reputation. In a way when you are studying you are surrounded by your own bubble and it’s not until you leave that you realise how much you actually know and what a great experience you had. I’ve come to realise that I know a great deal about the subject and it is fantastic to now pass that information on to students on another continent.
Perhaps I didn’t realise at the time how much is constantly going on around you at Sunderland and the variety of what is on offer under the umbrella of Glass and Ceramics. This is something I am trying to instil in my students in New Zealand and is very much a case of the Sunderland approach spreading itself to other parts of the globe.

It’s very different here in New Zealand – it is a much more relaxed way of life compared to back home. We have an annual glass festival here in Wanganui, which attracts different artists from all over the country. I always plug Sunderland whenever I get the chance!”

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