Visual Arts officer Katie Boyce talks about her experience at Coventry Uni.
Course and year of graduation – Graduated in BA Hons Fine Art in 2009
Employer – Rugby Museum and Art Gallery
Job title – Senior Visual Arts Officer
Why did you chose Coventry?
I initially wanted to be a Vet, I really wanted to work with animals…..but I had this amazing Art teacher at secondary school in Corby. I loved sculpture, drawing and eventually I was spending so much time in the Art studio and realised my passion was art.
I visited lots of universities…Coventry, Birmingham, Loughborough, Falmouth and Cumbria. I chose Coventry because I loved the size of the studios and it felt a mature space different from school and it felt right for me.
Who taught you?
Ranald Sherriffs Jonathan Waller, Jane Ball, Mandy Havers, Graham Chorlton they were all so different and taught me so many different things….sculpture, drawing, film, photography..I loved working out my ideas in a sketchbook.
Did you do a Placement, Erasmus or work experience whilst at Coventry?
Whilst studying on the Fine Art course I volunteered to run the Fine Art auction at the Herbert gallery to raise for our Degree show and Free Range in London. I loved organising it and it was a real success. That really set the seed of my future career.
What did you learn about yourself whilst you were studying with Coventry?
The end of year Degree show was a complete epiphany for me, it was the culmination of all my hard work across the 3 years, but I realised whilst I enjoyed making, I actually loved setting the show up and designing the space it gave me a real buzz. It was then I really realised what career I wanted.
What was your happiest moment at Coventry?
At Degree Show I was selected to show down in London Free range, I was really proud to be selected and my work got chosen to feature in the Virgin magazine.
Where you part of any societies whilst at Coventry? What did you do on a night out?
No, I wasn’t part of any societies, but I lived with some girls who were part of the Cheer-leading society so often helped out if they were a person down! A night out?..Gosh…Well the course was full time and you tend to spend every moment in the studio, heavy nights weren’t a thing…but when I did…Inspire, Jumping Jacks, Lava Ignite. 10 quid got you in to see a live band, a few drinks and take out on the way home!
What was the funniest thing that happened to you on the course?
Hah!..During my course I dislocated my shoulder so struggled to work in the studios. My parents allowed me to take over their garage as a studio until I could get back into University. I was building a huge monkey out of wire mesh, straw and plaster, it was massive…I had to transport it into Uni for it to be assessed. I couldn’t understand why I kept finding mice droppings on it. One day I came into the studios and it had all disintegrated as a family of mice had made a nest inside it! It still makes me laugh.
How would you describe your staff team in 3 words?
Inspiring, quirky and ambitious for us
How did studying at Coventry equip you needed for your career?
My degree really showed me what I wanted to do, it gave me life experience and confidence to chase what I wanted. The Fine Art Auction and Degree Show allowed me to see what I wanted. I applied for a travel bursary and a result gained a 10 month internship at the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry, I then undertook a MA in Museum/Gallery with Curation and then got this job at Rugby Museum and Art Gallery.
Describe what you do and what you find most enjoyable about your job?
There are so many different elements to my job, I love supporting emerging artists and seeing them grow. Discovering the narrative behind the work and artist is fascinating. As well as reviewing proposals, caring for the 200 piece collection, I really enjoy designing the spaces, and the changeover of exhibitions.
The highlight of the year was proposing and solely curating the Rugby spring collection called ‘About Face’ the exhibition doubled the gallery visits to 10,000 visitors, something I am really proud of.