Students (2014 – 2019)

This page lists students from each year of the course, beginning with 2019 and going back to the first year group in 2014. For details of this year’s students go to the Students 2020 page. These biographies were written when the students began the course:


The 2019 cohort of MA/MFA Curating students started on 7th January. Their details are listed below.


Francesca Beards
Francesca grew up in county Durham before moving to Bristol where she studied History of Art at the University of Bristol. During her undergrad studies she was not only able to expand her love of research about Art in greater depth, including the applied arts, public, and contemporary art but also encountered early opportunity to study art curatorship. As part of her studies she was involved in group exhibition projects involving a virtual exhibition proposal and later an exhibition using the university print collection.

During her studies she has volunteered for Tyntesfield House, The Other Art Fair and since graduating this year has been a young artist volunteer for Arts Lab, Dartington. Through the Arts Lab she has been able to engage with artists directly and as such become increasingly interested in the ability that art has to benefit wellbeing in the community. Francesca looks forward to exploring how successful curation might contribute to this, in addition to building her skills set during her time at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol.



Harvey Folkes
Harvey originally came from a fine art photography background, which introduced him to the world of curation. This was something he quickly became intrigued by, and hopes to submerge himself into. In his photographic work, he discusses themes such as the complexity of human emotions and our relationships to our own selves and one another. This is something that bridges across to his curatorial interests, as he believes that as the lines between artist and audience get increasingly blurred we are all becoming more connected through art and culture.

In terms of the arts, his interests include photography, art, history and poetry. Harvey enjoys reading and learning both about artists and their motivations behind their work and histories of cultures, particularly mythologies. He is motivated to share creativity and cultural experiences through curation, and hopes to bring to others what the world of art has given to him.


Simone Hesselberg
Since graduating from Oxford Brookes University with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art, Simone has been working as an independent curator based in Reading, developing her curatorial practice at the Rising Sun Arts Centre whilst simultaneously developing its contemporary art programme.

More significantly, in 2017 Simone was placed under the guidance of Reading International (R.I) to organise and deliver a series of R.I fringe events based at the Rising Sun Arts Centre where she worked with both local and national artists, as well as students from the University of Reading.

Simone’s interests lie within audience engagement, particularly the ways in which artists create artworks, as well as the ways organisations curate programmes to bring in a larger and more varied audience.

“I am inspired by how the experience of an artwork and space can bring people together to form temporary and fleeting micro-communities.”

Simone has worked, interned and volunteered for several arts organisations, gaining greater insight into different organisational models.

In pursuing a Masters in Curating at UWE, Simone hopes to develop and expand her research and  curatorial methodologies, whilst working collaboratively with students from different backgrounds, and alongside industry professionals on placement. Simone will be on placement at Spike Island, where she will be mentored by Georgia Hall, Assistant Curator.


Anna-Louise Highley
Growing up in London Anna was fortunate enough to spend a significant amount of her childhood visiting an array of artistic and heritage institutions and found great inspiration in their rich culture.

Moving away from the big city she embarked on studying a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Hereford College of Arts and then onto study a BA in Illustration in 2015 at the University of the West of England. Throughout her time at University Anna developed her Illustrative practice specialising in surreal and sublime digital collages often taking influence from unique stories within history. During her studies she undertook a project with Glenside Hospital Museum designing a trail of collaged murals utilising their archives of historical photographs. It was within this project that she realised her passions to work behind the scenes of a museum setting. She continues to work with Glenside Hospital Museum as both a designer and curatorial assistant working on a range of projects.

Since graduating Anna has spent time volunteering with both Bristol Museum and the Royal West Academy of Arts. She has been continually involved with a broad range of exhibitions both local and countrywide not only as a contributing Illustrator but also within curating roles and enjoys rhythm and diversity they bring to her differing practices. She hopes to expand her knowledge and experience of the inner workings of heritage institutions with her placement at The SS Great Britain, mentored by Nick Booth.


Stefania Kossakowska
Stef grew up in Poland before she decided to move to Great Britain in pursuit of adventure and higher education. Stef studied an undergraduate degree in Photography at the University of South Wales, graduating in July 2018 with first class honours.

During her final photographic project, Stef became highly interested in social documentary. As a result of that, she created a publication titled Her Name Is Polonia which documented the Polish diaspora in the pre-Brexit times with the main focus on women. Her research was grounded in identity, belonging to a place and migration. This discursive study on community engagement and participation in the making of artwork encouraged Stef to explore the idea of being a bridge between the audience and artwork in greater detail.

After further research and consideration, she decided to read Curating at the University of the West of England, as this course will allow her to benefit from a unique opportunity to immerse herself in the hands on experience that she craves.

During this upcoming year she will be mentored by Hannah First at Chapter in Cardiff.


Bella Lucchesi
Born and raised in Northern Virginia, near Washington D.C., Bella graduated from Christopher Newport University in May 2017. She studied a double major in Oil Painting and Art History with a minor in Museum Studies. Studying alongside a wide array of artists and art historians, Bella got involved in different art mediums and art galleries around her university. She began interning at three different art galleries, helping with installation, events, and eventually curation, leading to a great interest in the field.

After graduation, Bella secured a job at a non-profit art organization called The Art League in the town of Alexandria in Virginia. In that position, Bella was responsible for planning events, installing their gallery, and administration. In addition, Bella was the Director of their Art Camps, providing professional art experience to children and teenagers. After a year and a half at the organization, Bella decided to pursue a career in curating and applied for a Masters in the subject.

Bella is looking forward to her placement at the Nature in Art Museum in Gloucester, where she will be learning from her mentor Emily Cooper.


Jess McKenzie
Raised in the North East of England, Jess moved to the South West three years ago to undertake her undergraduate degree in History and Heritage at Bath Spa University graduating in July 2018. Through student placements and her own volunteering undertaken in the sector, she gained experience in exhibition design, interpretation, handling and cataloguing objects, and working with vulnerable people. She undertook an internship at the World Heritage Enhancement Fund, Bath in her final year of her undergraduate course, which helped her develop her knowledge and thinking to heritage on a much larger scale.

She continues to volunteer at Bath Medical Museum as the Curatorial Coordinator and sits on the committee for BANES Museums Group (Bath and North East Somerset) allowing her to gain knowledge and experience from a number of sites. Her biggest passion is social history, in particular the eighteenth century, finding out how ordinary people lived. She has been visiting museums and castles for years and enjoys discovering the secrets of each place including how it was constructed, who inhabited it and what were all the roles undertaken. Jess will be completing her placement at Gloucester Cathedral and she is excited to see how ecclesiastical curating will push her own knowledge and experience.


Kayleigh O’Donovan
Kayleigh is a multi-discipline, mixed-media artist, scientist and treasure hunter. She graduated from Bath School of Art and Design in 2012 with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art Painting. University developed her love of anthropology and photography and helped her to appreciate that her love of Art didn’t necessarily have to be solely focused on creating work, she became fascinated by the concept of art within a space and audience participation.

Originally from South Africa, she has lived and worked in South Wales since her graduation. She began working within the mining industry for a global mineral exploration company where her role in planning and logistics led to the management of a team of Geologists and the design and implementation of exploration camps worldwide.

Taking a step away from art has been essential in the development of Kayleigh’s project management skills and her love of science and anthropology which she will practice throughout her placement at We the Curious during her MA in Curating.


Amy Rance
Amy graduated from The University of West of England in 2015 with a BA (hons) in Photography. She has lived and worked in Bristol since her graduation but originally grew up in the West Midlands.

Throughout her university experience she became obsessed with the spaces around her, and developed an interest in people’s relationship within those spaces.

After graduating she curated several photographic exhibitions both locally and in London, she also worked with other photographers selecting and editing their images, as well as assisting on their shoots. She decided that her main passion and interest lay in curating, and now she wants to develop her skills in creating environments that not only show art but change the way people experience it.

Amy will be on placement at Bristol NHS Trust, where her mentor will be Anna Farthing.


Julia Ray
Originally from Boston, Julia graduated with an undergraduate MA in Film & Visual Culture from the University of Aberdeen in 2017. While at university, she served as the administrative office manager for the 20th season of the Nantucket Film Festival where her interest in film curation began. In her final year, she was the executive producer for Granite City TV. Her primary focus during her studies was new media curating and archival practices.

Since graduating, she moved to Los Angeles and became a freelance production coordinator and 2nd assistant director. Working closely with the American Film Institute fellowship program, she was able to support a variety of minority and queer filmmakers. Moving forward in her career, she hopes to continue to work in aiding marginalized voices tell their own histories and stories on the global stage.

When she isn’t watching films, she enjoys swing dance and bouldering, as well as cooking for friends and family.

Julia will be mentored by Mark Cosgrove and Tara Judah at Watershed.




Thea Berry
Thea was born and grew up  in Bristol, before moving away to study Modern Languages at the University of Exeter where she graduated from in 2016 with a First Class degree in French with Spanish. While always having a great love of film, it was in her second year of study that she became deeply interested in Post-Colonial African Francophone cinema and Franco-African diasporic cinema. This then expanded into a broader interest in socially aware and representative film during her third year as a student, in which Thea moved to Lyon, France where worked as an English Language Assistant in a primary school. This experience developed her passion for cinema as an important source of education and making film, and the arts in general, more accessible and inclusive to all. Therefore, making the Watershed, being the diverse cultural hub that it is, the perfect place to learn more about the industry and to start a career in cinema.


Fili Harrington
Born and raised in London and Suffolk, Filipa graduated from her understudies in 2015 with a degree in Fine Art from the University of Leeds.  Studying History of Art modules alongside the development of her studio practice, she quickly became interested in contemporary curatorial practice and notions of museology. Throughout her course Filipa had the opportunity to collaborate with her fellow classmates to develop and produce exhibitions, an experience which solidified her interest in curating.

After moving to Bristol, she has spent a year volunteering at Arnolfini and with Bristol Museums, working with the Development team as well as at various events and workshops. During this time she has become particularly interested in audience engagement and participation, whilst gaining a new perspective on the management of museums and galleries.

Filipa is looking forward to working starting her placement at Hauser & Wirth Somerset and to working within their diverse and engaging programme. Her mentors are Dea Vanagan, Director and Debbie Hillyerd, Director of Education.


Katie Jones
Katie graduated from The Arts Institute At Bournemouth in 2001 (now the Arts University Bournemouth) with a BA (hons) in Costume for the Screen and Stage.  Originally from the West Midlands, Katie has lived and worked in London since her graduation in 2001.  She began working within the fashion industry for publications like Dazed and Confused magazine and for London Fashion Week Designers, eventually managing a design studio for a small but hugely successful designer.  In 2006 she shifted her focus to interiors within fashion, working for a high street brand, helping to create interior identities for their Global Stores, Ad Campaigns and trade shows.

Since becoming a mum to two girls, Katie worked part time at Hillman Studio in London where she was involved in all aspects of set design for fashion advertising, editorial, events, runway shows and exhibitions.  After 15 years living and working in London, Katie and her family decided to relocate to Bristol in 2016. During her spare time Katie paints portraits of people and animals.  Her portrait paintings have been exhibited at The Mall galleries in London and at the RBSA in Birmingham.

Katie has been visiting museums and galleries since she can remember, and has always been fascinated with social history, art, design and architecture and how all of these elements can have a lasting and detrimental impact on society and people’s futures. She hopes to explore this further whilst at her placement with The Architecture Centre. Katie’s mentors will be Sarah James, Director of The Architecture Centre and Jodie Marks, The Exhibitions and Events Curator of The Architecture Centre.


Nicole Mawby
Nicole grew up in South Wales before studying a BA in Drawing and Applied Arts at the University of the West of England. Throughout university, her interest in language and communication grew and she dedicated her time to further exploring ways of using art as a visual language.

After graduating with first class honours, Nicole spent time developing her passion for art as a visual language by volunteering in art galleries across South Wales and Bristol. Nicole then moved abroad to teach English in Spain, where this curiosity was able to develop further. She quietly observed the poetry of everyday life in another culture, studied the idiosyncrasies of translation and mistranslation and found ways of creating mutual understanding.

Taking a step back from the immediate ‘art world’ has been fundamental to the realisation of Nicole’s passion in audience engagement, which she will practice throughout her placement with the Participation and Engagement team at Bristol City Council during her MA in Curating. This step back has also allowed her to conclude that there are parallels in curation and teaching; communicating a message to an audience in a language or medium that is completely foreign to some.

Nicole is particularly interested in the relationship between the curator and their audience as well as engaging with emerging audiences that could be integrated, empowered and educated through the personal and relatable use of art as a visual language.


Polly Maxwell
Polly Maxwell graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Falmouth University in 2016, specialising in sculpture. On leaving university she formed the artist collective WHATCHAMACALLIT with a fellow graduate. The collective were awarded two residencies at Porthmeor Studios, St Ives and Bankley Mill Studios, Manchester. During the residencies they put on exhibitions of their work and enacted performances that focused on forming a bridge between artwork and audience.

The collective have worked across the country at different events such as the Palace of Culture, Langaland Festival and APT LIVE. Their most recent and extensive project: HOW TO SWIM, consisted of six exhibitions from ‘Trying to Float’ to ‘Dive’. The project was supported by The Victoria Baths Trust and took place at the historic Victoria Baths site in Manchester. WHATCHAMACALLIT worked closely with a number of artists to develop and exhibit new works within the varied spaces – exploring the display of contemporary works outside the gallery.

Polly is interested in working closely with other artists and collectives to collaborate at every stage of exhibition making and is looking forward to working with the curators at Spike Island to learn more about audience engagement and participation.


Holly Morgan-Davies
Born and raised in Bristol, Holly studied Ancient and Medieval History at Cardiff University, graduating in July 2017 with a first class honours. Her particular passion is social history, finding out how ordinary people lived, and what they lived for. She is a huge fan of immersive, ‘living history’ museums, and is excited to be doing her work placement at St Fagan’s, which is renowned for exploring the many strands of Welsh history in an exciting, open-air setting.

Having volunteered with organisations such as National Museum Cardiff and the Churches Conservation Trust, she decided she wanted to pursue a career in curation and museum work, in part to find out about bringing history to life in different ways for different audiences. Holly will be mentored by Elizabeth Walker (Interim Head of Collections Management / Specialist Curator for Palaeolithic & Mesolithic Archaeology) and Evan Chapman (Senior Curator Archaeology: Collections & Access) from National Museum Wales.


Jane O’Brien
Jane graduated from the university of Bristol in 2014 with an undergraduate degree in Sociology. During her time at UoB she became particularly interested in the study of citizen participation in the public realm.

After graduating she moved to Berlin to undertake an internship with the Cinema for Peace foundation which ignited her passion for the use of documentary film to further social causes and inspire activism. She was involved in organising the Cinema for Peace annual Gala and also ran many of her own public screenings as part of their free monthly screening initiative.

Throughout the two years jane spent in Berlin she worked at film festivals including The British Short Film Festival and the Berlinale. She also helped run an open-air cinema specialising in art/experimental cinema, organising screenings in unusual urban locations such as rooftop car parks and abandoned petrol stations.

Her particular interests lie in visual anthropology, documentary film, and the role of art in the pubic realm. From her placement with Encounters Short Film Festival she hopes to kick start her career as a curator in the world of film festivals.


Audrey Remmert
Originally from Texas, Audrey lived in New York City for eight years (2009-2017) before moving to England in September 2017. In New York, Audrey began her studies at the School of Visual Arts in photography, before ultimately transferring to Fordham University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History in 2014. Audrey went on to New York University to receive her Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education in 2016. Whilst pursuing her degrees, Audrey taught primary school in New York City and served on the board of a charitable foundation focused on arts education, health and sustainability. She also worked as an intern at a photography gallery and as an assistant curator at her university art gallery.

In an aim to further develop her simultaneous interest in art history and education, Audrey moved to London in September of 2017 to take a continuing education course at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. The course focused on the many roles of museum professionals, with an emphasis on curating. Audrey’s primary interest is in museum education and in developing engaging content for children at museums. She also has a keen personal interest in photography and contemporary art, specifically contemporary art interventions at historical sites. Audrey’s mentor is Gemma Longhurst, science education officer at ss Great Britain.


Georgina Thomas
Since graduating from Loughborough University’s Visual Communications undergraduate degree in 2013, Georgina has worked in London at a mobile technology start-up. Whilst following a keen interest in the development of galleries, exhibitions and shows throughout the UK and abroad, Georgina has been captured by the concept and possibilities that are thrown up by running such an endeavour.

Having moved back to Bristol in 2017 Georgina has gained experience and knowledge through volunteering and working at commercial and public galleries throughout the city. This freedom to spend as much time as available at art institutions has affirmed Georgina’s keen interest in modern art, which is where she will be focusing her interests throughout her next year of study.

Georgian will be on placement at the Royal West of England Academy, where her mentor will be Nathalie Levi.


Surya Varma-Mehta
Surya was born and raised in Madrid, she decided to move to Bristol three years ago to study an undergraduate degree at UWE in Media, Culture and Practice. This degree inspired her to take up MA Curating as she gained interest in two of her final year modules, visual culture and youth culture and consumption. She presented her final piece as an exhibition at the Island’s gallery space (Bristol). Her curiosity for photography grew when she discovered and analysed the work of New York based photographer, Nan Goldin, who presented her work at the Museum of Modern Art in 2016. Surya’s exhibition, ‘Raw Souls’ was a range of film photographs where she displayed ‘A visual diary documenting young adults in an intimate space, exploring the world through nightlife, love and relationships’. Furthermore, she has a passion for music and how new technologies are used to develop innovative sounds in contemporary music. She wants to develop her understanding in this area and would like to curate an exhibition on sonic art in the near future.

Surya has also gained curatorial experience by working at the Watershed at the Ambient Literature Experiment, as well as working at the IFEMA exhibition centre in Madrid. She hopes to expand her knowledge and skills at her placement at IBT Festival, where she will be mentored by Helen Cole.


Tanja  BAH

Tanja recently graduated with a BA in History and African Studies at the University of Cologne in Germany. While on her BA she was particularly interested in (post)colonial contexts, the power of narrative, gender, national myth (de)construction, slavery, US history and lastly the connection between popular culture and the humanities. Tanja was part of a research class on cultural management in the UNESCO World Heritage context and spent time conducting research on the role of myth construction and interaction by Afro Americans for narrativity in the so-called “Slave House” on Goree Island in Dakar, Senegal. In her free time she explored an interest for organisations and international policy making, through Model United Nations, attending conferences like the Harvard WorldMUN.

Tanja has undertaken work experience at the Black Cultural Archives in London, (an archive dedicated to black experiences in Britain) and at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation where she acted as a voluntary member of the council of speakers for the scholarship holders. Tanja also helped to create an audio-walk on the colonial history and pre- colonial involvement in the city of Essen, Germany.

During her time on the UWE Curating course Tanja hopes to further her interests in visitor engagement and digital opportunities, focusing on issues like diversity and inclusion as well as producing exhibitions and displays in non traditional settings.

Tanja’s mentor is Catherine Littlejohns, Curator of Social History at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and M-Shed. Tanja will be the UWE student representative for MA/MFA Curating.



Isaac Blease grew up in Cornwall before moving to Newport where he studied Documentary Photography at The University of South Wales. Since graduating in 2015, he has continued to work within this medium, developing a practice oriented around long-term subjective documentary projects. His most recent work, ‘Charaxes Imperialis’, about the butterfly collection left to him by his Grandfather, was shortlisted for the Jerwood/Photoworks award. His work has also been exhibited widely in places such as Bristol, Gdansk, London and Beirut, as part of Beirut Art Residency.

Isaac has a particular interest in Colonial history, and during this MA he will be working at Bristol Archives within their Empire and Commonwealth photographic collections.

Isaac’s mentor is Julian Warren, Senior Archivist, Bristol Archives. Isaac will also be working with archivists Jayne Pucknall and Nicky Sugar.


Susannah CANNING

Born and educated in the south of England, Susannah graduated with a first-class honours degree in Fine Art from Oxford Brookes University. After graduating, she was nominated for the Contemporary Visual Art Network’s Platform Graduate Award and exhibited a new body of participatory sound work at Modern Art Oxford. Susannah has also worked and interned for several arts organisations, including galleries, art centres and theatres, working with exhibitions, collections, performance, and art festivals.

Susannah has a particular interest in site-specific work and art which places the audience at the centre of an experience. She is looking forward to working with the Arnolfini’s diverse, cross-disciplinary programme and developing her research and curatorial skills.

Susannah’s mentor is Lucy Badrocke, Curator of Exhibitions, Arnolfini.


Alexandra CICIRIC

Alexandra Ciciric moved to UK three years ago from Italy to study BA Fine Art Photography at the University of Gloucestershire. During her undergraduate studies her interest towards photography transitioned to a more academic approach. She realized she wanted to pursue a career as a curator, working closely with artists in order to deliver a high quality exhibition that’s not just beneficial to the artists but to the audience as well. To gain more experience she volunteered for various organisations and galleries, such as Doomed Gallery, The Open West and Bristol Biennial, helping out with the organisational aspect and liaising between the curators and artists. She decided to study MA Curating at UWE, Bristol in order to gain more experience and knowledge to begin a career as a curator of photography.

Alexandra’s mentor is Bronwen Colquhoun, National Museum Wales, Cardiff.


Caitlin DAVIES

Caitlin has recently graduated from University of Wales Trinity Saint David: Swansea College of Art with a first class honours in Photography in the Arts. Since she has finished her undergraduate studies she has volunteered at Chapter Arts Centre. Her role at Chapter is Curatorial Volunteer where she helps with exhibitions and events such as Wales in Venice at the Venice Biennale and EXPERIMENTICA: Secret Language 2017.

Caitlin has a particular interest in contemporary art; she has worked a lot with contemporary photography and is looking forward to learning about different mediums through the course and the placement at Chapter.

Caitlin’s mentor is Hannah Firth, Director of Visual Art and Programme, Chapter, Cardiff.



Fridy was born in the Netherlands where she studied Art History at the University of Nijmegen, specialising in architecture and landscapes. She came to the UK in 1994, where she completed an MA in Conservation Studies at the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies in York. She has been working for Historic England (formerly English Heritage) in different roles since 1996, and now works as a Listing Adviser, assessing heritage assets for inclusion on the National Heritage List for England, ranging from buildings to parks and gardens and from archaeological sites to public art.

Fridy is interested in developing her career through expanding her knowledge by gaining vital curatorial skills and experience of working in a museum environment, whilst using her experience of working in the heritage sector. She is particularly interested in modern art and architecture.

Fridy’s mentor is Julia Carver, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. She will also be working with Jenny Gaschke, Fine Art Curator.


Salli-Louise JOHNSON

Born and raised in Liverpool, Salli moved to Falmouth, Cornwall in 2012 to pursue further education in Fine Art. During her degree, Salli found a passion for printmaking, focusing her studies on ‘The Nude’. After having the opportunity to solely organise and display her artwork for the Falmouth University degree show, her interests in curating began to grow.

Since graduating in 2015, Salli has spent time volunteering in numerous galleries including Tate Liverpool where she became a Volunteer Family Host, encouraging and educating families on how to truly experience gallery visits. Salli is looking forward to working and training along side the curators at Spike Island, and is excited for future opportunities that will help towards a career within the art industry.

Salli-Louise’s mentors are Elisa Kay, Curator and Georgia Hall, Assistant Curator at Spike Island.



Originally from London, Freddie studied History of Art at the University of Bristol, focusing largely on the European avant-garde and postmodern art theory. Since graduating, he worked at Francis Kyle Gallery, Mayfair for a number of years, while pursuing a number of curatorial projects, most recently at Brighton Museum, where he is working on a retrospective exhibition scheduled for summer 2017.

Freddie will be mentored by Gemma Brace, Curator of Exhibitions at the RWA.



Louise was born and raised in Bristol and studied for an undergraduate degree in Film at UWE, Bristol. During her first year she was introduced to two topics that simultaneously fuelled her desire to research a career as a film curator: first, about the growing need to preserve and archive film stock and film memorabilia, in order to ensure the future of studying film as a discipline. Secondly, she learned the importance of film festivals in order to reach various audiences, and build communities where people could form connections and share their own special interests and opinions with others of a similar mind. Starting in the summer of 2014 Louise volunteered at various institutions including Glenside Hospital Museum and the Brunel Institute to gain experience of archiving and cataloguing delicate materials. After graduating in 2016 Louise volunteered at various film festivals including Cinema ReDiscovered and the Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival, to gain more experience in an environment specifically catering to film. From this course and placement, she hopes to gain the skills necessary to turn her passion for film into a career.

Louise will be mentored by Mark Cosgrove, Curator of Cinema at Watershed.



Josie graduated from UWE in 2010 with a BA (Hons) Fine Art. Since then she has worked at Plymouth College of Art supporting the delivery, organisation and evaluation of an annual programme of residencies, pop up shops, exhibitions and events including the international conference ‘Making Futures’.

“My interests lie in developing and operating in collaborative situations, and I am particularly attracted to organisations with a willingness to invite purposeful partnerships that add value to creative projects and create potential for powerful and unexpected outcomes. It is interesting to see how utilising resources not just within the four walls of an organisation, but also incorporating a wider set of resources and people can enhance and enrich a creative project. I look forward to discovering more about how Situations work collaboratively with a number of people and partners locally, nationally and internationally.”

Josie will be mentored by Georgina Bolton, Producer at Situations.



Erika has a BA in Anthropology and an MS in Library Studies. She has had a number of odd and interesting jobs and most recently worked as a bookseller, a librarian, and as a production artist, fabricating museum dioramas and exhibit materials with a studio in Seattle, Washington. During her graduate studies she specialized in Archives and Special Collections with a focus on book history and rare book librarianship which led to a year-long assistantship at Florida State University’s Archives and Special Collections Library and gave her her first taste of curating and exhibit design. She is especially interested in exploring innovative ways of providing access to social history collections physically, digitally, and particularly intellectually.

Erika will be mentored by Phillippa Turner, Assistant Curator of Library & Collections at ss Great Britain.


Athene Bain: Bristol Museum & Art Gallery


Born and educated in Bristol, Athene returned to the city after graduating from the University of Brighton with a degree in History of Design, Culture & Society. Since 2012 she has volunteered and interned for several institutions, most recently at the Ken Stradling Collection, where she helps predominantly with cataloguing the collections.

Athene has a particular interest in object interpretation and visitor performance in museums and heritage sites, but is looking forward to learning as many new skills as she can during her placement.

Athene’s mentor is Julia Carver, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. She will also be working with Jenny Gaschke, Fine Art Curator.


Brittney Bies: M-Shed


Brittney graduated with honours from the University of Redlands in the United States, majoring in History and minoring in Government. During her undergrad she represented her peers as Vice President of the National History Honour’s Society, a nationally recognized organisation. Her honours thesis was titled, “Secrecy, Sexuality, & Eleanor Roosevelt,” which she presented at the “Women’s and Gendered Studies Conference” held at the University. The research she did for her thesis and presentation is where her interest in cultural and social history emerged and sparked her focus in women’s plights, important roles, and continual under-representation in history and society.

Since graduating, she has been living and working between the US and the UK and has continued to pursue experiences where she can engage in cultural dialogue through volunteer work and travel.  She has traveled to over 30 different countries chasing her love of history and culture by visiting as many museums as she possibly could in different countries around the world. Most recently, Brittney has been living and working in California where she volunteered at the Women’s Museum of California. Her travels and volunteer work inspired her to pursue UWE’s MA/MFA in Curating Programme to further her education and research experience with the goal of starting a career in public cultural history.

Brittney’s mentor is Catherine Littlejohns, Curator of Social History at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and M-Shed.


Laura Bottin: Spike Island


Laura Bottin is an Italian-born arts manager and curator. She is a postgraduate of Brera Academy in Milan. In 2009 she moved to London where she studied Arts Management at Birkbeck, University of London.

She worked for commercial galleries, art associations, festivals as well as a freelance curator between London and Italy. Laura recently moved to Bristol and decided to study MA Curating to gain practical skills in order to further develop her interest in participatory oriented arts projects and exhibition making.

Laura’s mentor is Elisa Kay, Curator at Spike Island.


Megan Collier: Situations

megan c

Megan Collier graduated from Lancaster University in 2015 with a first class honours degree in Fine Art. “I loved having the space to experiment within my drawing and painting practice at university. I specialised in portraiture, exploring how images of the human form could reflect deeper psychological themes. I am still a practicing artist and you can see examples of my work at However during my time at university, I began to realise that I was most happy when working on projects that involved producing exhibitions and art based events. In my final year, I organised art workshops with blind and visually impaired participants, culminating in a public exhibition of their work. Visitors were invited to experience the artworks blindfolded, encouraging them to explore new definitions of what an art exhibition can be. This was a rewarding and fulfilling experience that confirmed that a Masters in curating would be the perfect next step for me. This project also sparked my passion for finding new and interesting ways of engaging audiences. I am fascinated and inspired by the world of public art and am very excited to work with Situations and delve into these ideas further”.

Megan will be mentored by Georgina Bolton, Producer at Situations.


Ally James: Royal West of England Academy


Ally has moved to Bristol from London where she studied and worked as a writer and editor. She writes about everything from art and theatre to music (and even healthcare and insurance – bills have to be paid). What Ally loves most of all is writing about art and artists, and especially about the discourse between different mediums, artists and audiences. She hopes her move to Bristol and her placement with the RWA will help expand her knowledge and her practical skills as well as provide an invaluable opportunity to immerse herself in this exciting and diverse city.

Ally will be mentored by Gemma Brace, Curator of Exhibitions at the RWA.


Dave Taylor-Matthews: Watershed

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Dave originally studied Philosophy at University College London. He is a consultant in project management and business analysis and has worked as a volunteer programmer at Cube Cinema, Bristol for several years.

“I have been a Cube volunteer and programmer since 2011, and have a broad interest in film with a particular love for cult film. The Cube programmes collectively of course, but I’m largely responsible for programming The Standup Picture Show strand (combining film with live comedy) amongst other things such as the marathon screening of The Story of Film and 2014’s Groundhog Day celebration. I am also responsible for programming live comedy events across Bristol under the name of Bristol Punchline.

I think we are at an interesting moment in film presentation history, with online streaming offering unprecedented access to new films in the living room whilst audiences simultaneously flock to huge social occasions such as Secret Cinema’s recent events. I am part of a mobile social cinema project (the Nepal Kids Kino Project) which aims to create a sense of community for people who have been displaced by disasters by screening films for children in camps and temporary accommodation sprung up in the wake of the Nepal earthquakes. Outside of Bristol I am a big fan of the programmes at Cinefamily in LA and the Prince Charles in London, and I am interested in the increasing trend towards event cinema and the “immersive” experience – the Alamo Drafthouse’s Hallowe’en Camp to Bristol’s own The Caligari Experience from Compass Presents. I’m interested in how the use of projections and live performance can enhance audience experience”.

Dave will be mentored by Mark Cosgrove, Curator of Cinema at Watershed.


Rich Warren: Encounters

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Rich Warren is the Festival Director for Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival, the UK’s leading short film and animation festival based in Bristol, UK. The festival prioritises the showcasing, supporting and progression of new and emerging talent in film and animation. The 22nd edition of the festival will take place between 20-25 September 2016.

Rich began working for the festival in 2008 however during this time he has also had the opportunity to continue his support of new and emerging talent with roles such as the Talent Scout for the National Film and Television School and a sabbatical in Sydney working with FlickerFest and Metro Screen.  His role requires him to attend festivals across Europe and spends hours of his life online in search of new and emerging talent.



Liz Chege – Watershed

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Elizabeth Chege trained as an architect and town planner but has long held a passion for film, art and music. She is from Kenya and is currently based in the UK. In 2013, she founded Cine Kenya which is a curatorial space devoted to African cinema with a special dedication to Kenyan cinema. It is a repository of inspirations that includes visual arts and music alongside its main focus on film. Elizabeth also contributes to African Digital Art and is a co-curator for Afrika Eye Film Festival in Bristol. Elizabeth’s final project on MA Curating was a season called ‘On the Margins: cartoonists, satire and democracy‘, hosted at the Watershed on 5 and 6 December 2015.

Elizabeth’s mentor was Mark Cosgrove, Curator of Cinema at Watershed.

Emily Cooper – Bristol Museum

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Emily Cooper joined this course as a fine art graduate. Her placement is at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery where she has been working closely with Julia Carver, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Since January 2015 they have been developing a new contemporary art commission (Erdkunde) which went on display from 19th September 2015. Bristol based artists John Wood and Paul Harrison were selected to make new work in collaboration with the museum’s geology department. They have used their extensive exploration of the collection to develop an original interpretation of Bristol’s geological history. Emily has developed a strong rapport with the artists and the rest of the team and contributed significantly to the project in both a creative and administrative sense. She has taken the lead for the development of a number of events to compliment the exhibition, which will contribute towards her final project for the course. Emily’s blog gives further details of the project.

Emily’s mentor was Julia Carver, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

Jennifer Dudley – Cardiff Museum

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Jennifer Dudley graduated from her first degree in History of Art at the University of Bristol in 2013 and then decided to go on to study for an MA in Curating to gain practical skills and hands-on experience of working with art in a museum setting. As part of the course she’s been on work placement at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, where she’s learnt about art handling, public outreach and community engagement, event management and all about the admin and paperwork that comes with being a curator.

Jennifer’s final project for her MA was a day of workshops and arts and crafts activities at Cardiff Museum, suited for adults living with dementia and their carers. Throughout higher education she’s been interested in making the arts more accessible and how museum and gallery visits can be therapeutic and this gives me a chance to put all that in to practice.

Jennifer has said that ‘The MA at UWE has hugely improved my self-confidence and equipped me with the skills to begin my career in the arts’.

Jennifer will take up the maternity cover post of Derek Williams Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at National Museum Wales in January 2016.

Jennifer’s mentor was Andrew Renton, Keeper of Art at National Museum Wales.

Eloise Dunwell – Situations   


Eloise Dunwell is a British-born artist and curator who grew up in Australia. Moving to the UK in 2010, she studied a foundation course at Plymouth College of Art, where she discovered a crossover of her love of flora and fauna in the Autumnal colours of Plymouth’s parks. Then moving up to Bristol, the Fine Art course at UWE honed her sense of the conceptual within art – with its strictly philosophical approach to making work. Having enjoyed the intellectual side of her course, she then applied to the MA in Curating.

Having heard Claire Doherty speak in first year, her heart was set on being placed at Situations, where she has worked as part of the team developing a large-scale sound-work, ‘Sanctum’ with US artist Theaster Gates. You can find examples of both her artwork and curating at and more on the Theaster Gates project at

Eloise’s mentor was Sarah James, Deputy Director at Situations.

Conor Fitzpatrick – Encounters


Conor Fitzpatrick studied Interior Design at Chelsea College of Art and Design (University of the Arts London) before coming to Bristol to study MA Curating. He has been on placement throughout the year at the Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival.

At the beginning of the year, Conor and three other students formed curate 15, which successfully curated the Bower Ashton University Campus archives. This exhibition showed the transformation of the site from being a polytechnic to an arts university. Curate 15 took a lot of inspiration from the Love is Enough: William Morris & Andy Warhol that was on at Modern Art Oxford. Conor’s final project was curating a pedal powered, short film screening, to launch the Encounters Film Festival Love programme. This was a fun interactive evening held at the Love Inn, in Bristol on the 6th of October 2015 called Love and Spandex.

Conor’s mentor was Encounters Director Rich Warren.

Georgia Hall – Spike Island 

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Before joining the MA Curating course Georgia worked on a placement at the National Trust site Castle Drogo in Dartmoor as a Creative Programme Assistant and gained experience working with various organisations such as Bristol Biennial, g39 Gallery in Cardiff, Llandough Hospital, Elbow Room Arts Project and Engage in the Visual Arts.

“The Curating Masters programme was a way for me to push my creative skills so that maybe I could come a step closer to making my preposterous artist ideas realistic, just as those ideas of ingenious artists such as Christo, Whiteread, Serra, Kapoor and Barlow, who are a constant reminder that anything is possible. Richard Serra’s verb list has remained the most significant influence throughout my sculptural and curatorial work so far which I used to develop community and contemporary projects”. 

Earlier in the year she co-curated a UWE alumni exhibition ‘It’s not all beards and wild parties’. During her placement at Spike Island in Bristol Georgia has had the opportunity to participate in events, previews, technical installs, exhibition and associate programming, administration and work with volunteers. Her final project ‘Conversation Pieces’ works with Spike Island studio artists and was on display in the Test Space Gallery at Spike Island.

Georgia’s mentors were Alice Motard and Juliet Lennox, Curators at Spike Island.

Karen Holbrook – RWA

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Karen’s placement on MA Curating has been at the Royal West of England Academy. RWA. She has worked with the permanent collection, and on planning, research, interpretation, install and deinstall of exhibitions with internationally renowned artists. She has also worked extensively on events and has worked with the academicians, the director and staff team and with art handlers from across the UK. Karen’s final project was a day of events at the RWA specifically for the patrons.

“Course highlights include co curation of an exhibition using UWE archives, group visits to galleries across the UK, research, reading, visiting speakers and lots of seminar discussion and debate”.

Karen’s mentor was Alison Bevan, Director of the RWA.

Julia Morrish – Watershed


Julia is an MA Curating student originally from Bristol. Her interest in film curation began during her undergraduate degree in Film Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Surrey, where she had a placement at Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival in Bristol. Here, she learned about film exhibition and curation in a festival setting. After graduation in 2014 she worked freelance at Encounters and it is there that she learned about the MA Curating course. During her MA, Julia has learned about the various forms of curation and how art exhibitions can be taken out of their traditional setting of an art gallery. She was involved in curating an art exhibition held at Phoenix Cafe in April 2015 as part of a group project. She has also been involved in exhibition events outside of her degree when she took on a role as a steward/performer at Banksy’s Dismaland in September 2015.

Her current work placement is at the Watershed Cinema in Bristol, where she is pursuing her interests as a film curator. Her final project was a series of screenings and events based around director Jim Jarmusch called Stranger Than Love. The events were held in November 2015 as part of the BFI Love season.

Julia’s mentor was Mark Cosgrove, Curator of Cinema at Watershed.



Saira Kalimuddin


Born and educated in Singapore, Saira moved to Bristol in December 2014 to study for the MA Curating at UWE. Throughout the course she was based at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery in the Modern and Contemporary Art department. Under the guidance and mentorship of Julia Carver, curator at Bristol Museum, Saira curated an exhibition around 20th century modern British art, combining Bristol’s collections with museums in the South West region: Modern Art in Britain – Reality Questioned.

Saira is currently Assistant Director at Partners & Mucciaccia – an Italian art gallery based at Gillman Barracks, Singapore. Her role is a combination of curatorial planning as well as gallery management. She plans the layout of exhibitions, handles the logistics of getting artwork to and from Rome, manage the accounts, and liaises with their headquarters in Rome to coordinate the exhibitions.

Saira’s mentor was Julia Carver, Curator of Contemporary and Modern Art at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

Julia Ankenbrand


Julia put her study and practical focus during the MA Curating programme on the museum’s relationship to their local audiences. In practice, that meant using her integrated year-long professional placement at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and M Shed, Bristol’s major social history museum, for developing an understanding of the realities and strategies for community engagement through city museums.

As her final practical project, she chose to curate the Reading Room of Moved by Conflict, M Shed’s major exhibition about Bristol and the First World War commemorating the centenary. The Reading Room was an interactive space in which Julia focused on testing participatory interpretation as well as community engagement techniques.

Julia is now studying for a PhD in Museum Studies at the British Museum and the University of Leeds, focussing on co-production with local communities.

Julia’s mentor was Ruth Hecht, Senior Officer for Exhibitions and Events, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

Sam Francis


As part of the MA in Curating Sam undertook a placement at Spike Island where she initially spent time researching the history of the organisation stemming back to 1976 when it was originally founded as artists studios. She drew on this research to develop plans and ideas for a project to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2015.

Sam’s final project took Spike Island’s Autumn 2014 exhibition by Italian artist Anna Franceschini as a focal point.  The resulting project took the form of a live, in-gallery sound and music event featuring musicians working within the realms of sound making as practice in relation her curatorial interests and field of research throughout the MA.

Following completing the MA with a Distinction, Sam gained employment at Spike Island to project manage their annual Open Studios event, alongside coordinating the artist studios and volunteer programme. Alongside this she developed a new collective called Onomato producing live music, sound and film events in different locations and contexts. The group have been invited to produce a series of events at the Arnolfini in summer 2015 as part of the Richard Long exhibition. Sam is also co-director of Supernomal – an annual festival of arts and experimental music.

Sam was mentored by Alice Motard, Curator at Spike Island.

Fern Dunn


During her year on the MA Curating Fern was placed within the Watershed programming team under the mentorship of Mark Cosgrove, Cinema Curator. Through this Fern gained valuable knowledge of how an independent cinema curates their programme, with particular emphasis on engaging new audiences.

As part of her final project Fern curated a season of film screenings entitled Beats and Buddhism, based around the inspirations of the composer Philip Glass. This cumulated in a screening of the Martin Scorsese film Kundun, introduced by Glass. This season required Fern to work with various cultural venues to tie the programme in which the other events taking place within Bristol; developing her knowledge of historical film and marketing the events to a wide audience. Fern currently freelances across many projects within Watershed and FilmHubSWWM and has recently guest curated an event at mac Birmingham. Fern is also the assistant co-ordinator of the Cary Grant Film Festival.

Fern was mentored by Mark Cosgrove, Curator of Cinema at Watershed.

Nadia Abdelaziz


Nadia Abdelaziz was on placement at the Arnolfini Gallery whilst studying for her MFA Curating. She worked throughout the year on a large number of exhibitions and her final project was an exhibition and a series of events celebrating the work of American artist Christine Sun Kim. Upon completing the course Nadia became a permanent member of staff in the team at Arnolfini as a Programme Assistant.

Nadia’s mentor was Lucy Badrocke, Assistant Curator (Exhibitions) at Arnolfini.

Jocelyn Wellby

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Jocelyn is a Bristol based artist and producer who works across print and sculpture. Studying Print Illustration at Manchester School of Art paved the way for her artistic development. Acting as a creative catalyst this inspired her move to Japan in order to observe traditional print methods, and apply them within her own practice.
As part of the MA Curating Joss was mentored within Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival, working along side a hugely passionate and knowledgeable team. This high energy, fast paced environment moulded her professional outlook, allowed her the freedom and responsibility to project manage a strand of the 2014 anniversary festival.
Currently working to playfully promote art in the public realm, she has co-founded cMË; a creative platform for the co-production of artistic expression within communities.

You can keep up to date with projects via Twitter @project_cME

Joss’s mentor was Debbi Lander, Director of Encounters festival.


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