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Why did you choose HCA for your degree?

I chose HCA for my degree as it was local and I have a family so moving was not an option. Mature students at HCA are lucky to have such a vibrant arts community in close locality, it gives us a second chance at enhancing our creativity. For me it was life changing, instead of focusing on my family and nurturing others it was finally a chance to nurture myself. Utilising my social experience gave me the mechanisms to embrace contextual work in a contemporary manner.

What did you love most about studying Contemporary Design Crafts at HCA?

What I loved most about the Contemporary Design Crafts degree was the chance to experiment and become independent, the projects you work on set you up for life on the other side of graduation. The focus on project management has allowed me to move forward in my practice and make great leaps in technique and getting myself out there.

What advice would you offer students joining HCA?

My advice to students joining HCA would be to embrace all of the course and activities. it is very easy to just cherry pick the bits you most respond to, but by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone you grow and develop in a more rounded way.

Libby Vale 1

What is the best thing about studying in Hereford?

Hereford is a great place to study if you love getting out and about in the countryside. I like visiting big cities but living in one would be a very different thing. Hereford is great place to live and work, with clean, safe streets and just a short drive to some of the country’s most beautiful countryside, what’s not to like?

What are your plans for the future?

I have moved into lecturing part time to further support my practice. As a contextual textile artist my work takes me away from product lines and more into interactive social commentary pieces, so moving into public realm work is key. I have been working for the last year with the Embroiderers Guild and have been exhibiting at the Alexandra Palace and other sites. My next big project is an exploration of rural gentrification called ‘my place in the countryside’ which will highlight some of the difficulties for rurally based people addressing poverty issues. So all go.