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Mark Aaron

MA Arts Practice, 2016 Graduate

Mark Aaron

Mark Aaron

MA Arts Practice
(now titled MA Fine Art)

2016 Graduate

Introduction

Prior to studying at University of Suffolk, I worked for thirty years as a professional in the commercial arts but the MA course has provided me with ways of thinking that have enhanced my practice in positive ways. I’ve lived in Suffolk almost all my life. I left school at 15 with no qualifications and built a career in design and illustration for TV and games, ending up as Creative Director of a large agency before becoming a freelance design consultant. On a whim, I phoned the University and enquired about completing a degree and wondered if my 30 years’ experience might go towards it. After an initial meeting and formal interview with the course leader, I was offered a place on the MA course.

The level of enquiry and ongoing discussions are initially challenging. Despite having considerable experience working in the arts, the course offered me new ways of thinking about my work that has proved to be of great benefit in many ways that has extended to my existing commercial practice. Another highlight of the course was receiving Student of the Year Award, which was a lovely and unexpected surprise.

The real highlight though: During the final months leading up to our final dissertation/exhibition, and despite the natural pressure, I felt that the educators and the cohort developed a team-like mentality where nearly everyone helped everyone else beyond expectations. Two years of study crystallised into a sense of real collective accomplishment.

The most enjoyable part of the MA for me was being given the time and being exposed to the discussions and references that enabled me to formulate a multitude of seemingly disparate ideas into a comprehensive and cogent narrative. Through continuous encouragement my results have exceeded my expectations.

Overall I found it to be more than an acquisition of knowledge; it was a personal journey that went beyond skill to an articulation of the self. To anyone considering study at this level, prepare to be challenged and be changed via a raft of opportunities, collaborations, support and enquiry; this is a voyage of discovery. On reflection, the course feels like I’ve had the most brilliant conversation.