Tell us a bit about your background…
I grew up in Renton which is a village about 45 minutes west of Glasgow near the south of Loch Lomond. After leaving school I went on to study at the RSAMD (now known as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) I graduated in 2004 with a BA in Contemporary Theatre Practice. Since graduating I have freelanced in a variety of roles in the arts sector and much of the projects and work I do centres around community arts. I currently live in Inverness with my partner and commute one day a week to attend classes at Strathclyde.
What inspired you to re-enter the world of Higher Education?
For the last two years I had been programming the WOW - Women of the World Festival in Perth. The role demands a huge amount of research. In addition to my work with WOW I have been part of several arts projects that have implicitly or explicitly had gender as a theme or question as part of it. WOW and these other projects have, over the years, consistently perked my interest in the question of how various social practices and policies intersects with the arts.
So the inspiration comes from wanting an opportunity to create time and space to delve deeper into gender and this question above without the pressure of a professional work led end point. Also the opportunity a Masters course offers to network with other people, often from quite different fields and backgrounds, was something I was very interested in. I wanted to be in a challenging environment and more study seemed like a great route to that.
Why did you choose to study MSc Applied Gender Studies?
I think the calibre of the teaching staff and course leader is what attracted me to Strathclyde. That the course explores the application of gender studies in a variety of fields was also a big pull. For me it means I can explore how I might apply it in the settings I already have experience of working in but it also gives me an opportunity to explore other areas, industries or fields I could go on to work with.
What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde/highlight of the course so far?
There's been a few already. I would say the connection with the Glasgow Women's Library has been great. I think is so awesome that the University is working with organisations at the forefront of what the course is examining is really exciting.
The variety of people in my classes from across Scotland and the world and the mix of teaching staff has been very fun and makes conversation and debates in our seminars really rich.
How have you found studying part-time?
I was incredibly daunted by the gap between my first degree and coming back to study after 14 years, however I'm pleased to say that those initials fears have totally subsided. Studying part-time is the absolute right fit for me as I am able to continue working. I also live in Inverness so the part-time and the way it is programmed means I don't have to be away from home for more than a day a week.
What would be your advice for people considering taking this course?
Get in touch and talk to Karen. The staff are so approachable and up for a conversation. Don't be afraid to ask all the questions you want and need to ask. For me this course is so relevant in so many ways to what is going on in the world right now, it's really at the front of loads of important social and political issues and I would recommend it to everyone!
What do you think of the support available?
Really great so far. I haven't tapped in to loads of it but I'm aware of the multitude of support that is available should I need it.
What are your ambitions for the future?
Tough question! I'm not a natural look ahead to the future person (unless I'm working on a big event).
I think my main aim is to explore how the Applied Gender Studies course will combine with my professional arts practice and what avenues that might open up.