Mairead’s Story

My decision to continue studying was predominantly fuelled by the community spirit of the college. Coming close to the end of my degree course, I was slightly concerned that I would lose touch with my making by not having the space to work or to be around like-minds and artists. The spaces here are very connected with the students, and I feel like I have a lot of support from both students and staff to help me accomplish my goals. Everyone feeds into any creative ventures in such a positive way that I felt it would be beneficial for my work and for my confidence, which I really feel it has!


Joining the MA Fine Art course, has given me the space to clarify my thinking about the way I work, and also given me a space to begin to open my practice out to other people – which is something I’ve never really done before.

It has begun to ground some of my ideas with relation to the delivery of my work, which is becoming more practice and process-led. My current body of work is being generated through social engagement, and through the MA and my connections to the college, I’ve recently been able to get involved with giving workshops to some local charities and things appear to be expanding from here. Our next module is going to be more about professional and public practice with the intention of refining public-facing projects and events, which I believe as an artist you often need for preparation for further employment in an arts network post-education.

Hereford has been a very nurturing environment for all of these reasons.

I am generally in college on two taught days every week and, for the other three days, I can either be found in my studio or gradually using the workshops more and more. A lot of my work is research-based, but I really enjoy digital editing and making the most of the amazing access to the teaching staff and technical demonstrators to learn more advanced skills.

Recently my work has been reflecting on personal testimony and dialogue, and I’m currently exploring (as much as I can) all the making processes I chose not to focus on during my degree – and there are plenty to experiment with, so this year represents quite a change to my previous body of work.

Outside college, I am also working on a commission with a local production company, Rural Media, so I am experimenting with new digital and virtual reality technologies in my time between class and work – which has been a really valuable experience. Although my work this year is very different to the digital work I produced during my degree, this aspect of my work is still very much in the background and I think it will remain an important part of my practice over the coming years. The digital world keeps expanding, and it’s sometimes quite hard to keep up. What keeps me interested is that it’s another form of playing with materials which can manifest in a very different way.

Digital works have the ability to be omnipresent which can draw in larger audiences, but this does not come without its disadvantages. I really enjoy the company of others, but find that being media-connected a lot of the time means I can miss out on socializing! Thinking about this is part of why my ideas on the MA course have changed quite drastically to my ideas during my degree. My enjoyment of social engagement and collaboration are reflected in VacuumArts – a project I am involved in, which is an ever-expanding, artist-led and community-based exhibition programme, aiming to connect with artists all over the UK.