Students 2019

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.


Camilla Brivio
Camilla was born and raised in Milan (Italy), before moving away to study her MA in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage at the University of Urbino (Italy), where she graduated from in 2014 with a First Class degree. During her studies she had the possibility to participate in a few archaeological and conservative missions and internships in Italy and further afield. In this way, she improved her knowledge in the field of museology and exhibitions.

Afterwords, Camilla lived abroad for her Erasmus Project in partnership with the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain, where she restored several artworks in collaboration with the Patriarch’s Museum, including the painting that allowed her to obtain the official qualification of restorer in Italy.

Having volunteered for the last year with Bristol Museums, Gallery and Archives, and thanks to her academic, technical and scientific preparation, soon Camilla realized that the real challenge for her is start to seeing curating not only as an artistic event, but above all as a social and critical enterprise.

Camilla will be on placement at the National Museum of Wales working on the Roman collection of Caerleon, where her mentor will be Evan Chapman, Senior Curator of the Archaeology Department.



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.

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