Students 2018

The 2018 cohort of MA/MFA Curating students started on 8th January. Their details are listed below.


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.


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