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Experience 10 – “I built the foundations for strong working relationships with artists in the region.”

Ciara Lenihan

Posted: 11 July, 2017

During the academic year of 2014 I participated in an Erasmus Exchange with Northumbria University’s Fine Art Department; I believe my Erasmus experience has been an integral factor in helping me to forge a career path in the arts and the catalyst for my most recent achievements.

This opportunity afforded me the chance to explore new avenues and ways of working by giving me access to a wider range of facilities and faculties; I was given access to multimedia workshops including a green screen studio and I was trained how to use a variety of audio visual equipment that wasn’t available at my home college. I believe that having access to these facilities was the catalyst for my current practice as an artist, it helped me foster my own interdisciplinary practice.

Over the course of my exchange I participated in a series of exhibitions and I built the foundations for strong working relationships with artists in the region. I helped to establish a performance event and I also began a working relationship with students on the Masters of Fine Art which I continue to cultivate.

Since graduating from CIT Crawford College of Art and Design in 2015 I have returned to Newcastle Upon Tyne and I have begun to build my life here. Northumbria University have graciously given me a number of wonderful opportunities that have enhanced my professional development including an ongoing residency in Graduate Studios Northumbria, which would not have been available to me had I not been an Erasmus Alumnus. As a result of this residency I have been able to nurture a wonderful professional relationship with the University; I have been involved in mentoring undergraduate students, piloting new workshops in professional development and I have shown new performance work at Northumbria’s Gallery North. I have also had the opportunity to work with Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art both as a member of the learning and engagement team and also as an artist.

The networks I have built as a result of my Erasmus in 2014 continue to grow and develop; with all of this support I have been able to pursue some very ambitious projects including a two month residency in South Korea at BARIM Arts Space, funded by The British Council and Arts Council of England through The Artist International Development Fund. This April I will bring the work produced during this residency to Temple Bar Gallery and Studios in Dublin. In September I will start on a new path as I continue my education through the BXNU Master’s of Fine Art programme offered by Baltic and Northumbria respectively.

My plans for the future are to continue to my education to PhD level, to expand and enrich my practice by working with artist led initiatives and to further develop the profile of performance and live art in the North East of England.