Kate Frances Lingard. Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia

June -December 2017 

Firstly, thank you so much for the bursary money you so kindly provided- I can honestly say that without it I would have not been able to complete my semester abroad! I am currently studying on the Sculpture and Environmental Art programme and I am now in my third year. 

I attended the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia from June -December 2017. I chose to attend this school as it offered a completely opposing style of education to the structure that Glasgow School of Art provides me. It certainly didn’t disappoint! I embarked upon an intensive 5 month period of strict timetabling, classes, lectures in which I learnt so many new skills. The main body of my study was centred around sound design. I am incredibly interested in the artistic ways sound can be employed- beyond music and film into a spatial context. Here I learnt how to make speakers, and how to work within professional sound production studios. My fellow peers where incredibly talented and established artists, learning from their personal banks of knowledge made the complexity of the course seem manageable! I also took up classes in metalwork, in which my welding skills have improved greatly. Combining these two skills was also an exciting way to creatively work with the skill sets RMIT taught me. I really enjoyed these two disciplines, notably because I felt very powerful as a woman working within such male dominated fields (I was one of two girls in a class of 15!) Here I learnt the importance of my own femininity which gave me great confidence for when I graduate and hopefully go on to make work within these fields. 

I come from a very scientific background as both my parents and grandparents all work in veterinary and pharmaceutical disciplines. This has always influenced my approach to my practice. The academic side is vital to not only my work but also to the way I understand the world around me. I am inherently curious! I leaped at the opportunity to study a Neurology and Philosophy course while I was at RMIT. To be able to grasp a deeper understanding of why and how we physically make work as artists really opened up new chains of thought. 

While I was in Melbourne I also got the chance to work at the ‘Science Gallery’ on a show entitled ‘BLOOD’. Here I was a mediator and gave tours to the public about artworks which had a strong scientific basis. It was amazing to meet lots of lovely people and they even said I can go and work for them in their gallery in Dublin. It was also great to be able to study in a university setting as I have always circulated within an Art school context- the closet friend I made was a journalism student! 

Additionally, I got the chance to work with my tutors who are established artists themselves. I got to help them install their work, almost taking upon an

apprentice role. This was a great opportunity as my main tutor Michael Greave is coming to Europe next year and I may go meet him and we will continue our work together.
While I was in Melbourne I also learnt the basics of glass blowing from a fully trained French glassblower. It was so therapeutic to be able to grasp the basics of such a specialised skill. I made some beautiful glass sculptures and vases in which I managed to get home with me (in hand luggage!) It was such a unique and valuable experience- also a very hot one working with the kilns in 30 degree Celsius weather!

I managed to squeeze in a small amount of travel at the end of my stay. I went to Tasmania and it honestly blew my mind! The landscape was so diverse and beautiful, ranging from harsh coasts to giant eucalyptus trees. I also managed to see a platypus when a local took us on a tour of his farm (which apparently, according to my mother, is very rare.) Tasmania was crammed with friendly people who had a real appreciation for the amount that the artistic community has benefited the whole island. The Museum of Modern and New Art was the best art gallery I have ever been too. It contains works ranging from classical Australian art (Sydney Nolan) to James Turrell’s architectural pavilions, I spent two days there! 

It was amazing to live and be in such a thriving city like Melbourne- it was so large- the urban sprawl was ridiculous! I got to witness amazing events such as the legalisation of gay marriage- it was a such a happy, loving day. I also wanted to thank you for the money as it not only paid for my flights but also the chance to visit my grandparents who live in Sydney. I flew to see them in a week’s holiday we were given in late August and celebrated my 21st birthday with them. I have not seen them in 10 years, it was magical. We really did wonder if I would ever get a chance to chat in real life (not just skype) ever again! 

Overall, my experience was unforgettable and I cannot wait to really apply all the skills and thoughts I developed in Australia now I am back in Glasgow. Hope this reaches you in good health,

David Findlay