Alessandra Cianetti is a second-year student on our MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy course. She also has an MA in Arts Management from the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice and an MA in Tourism and Cultural Activities from the Tor Vergata University in Rome.
What were you doing before you joined the course? Why did you decide to study at Central Saint Martins?
Since I moved to London four and a half years ago, I’ve been working in arts projects involving experimental artists and performers. In 2013 I joined the curatorial partnership Something Human and in collaboration with co-director Annie Jael Kwan we have been working on many both national and international art projects around notions of migration, home and identity, so last year I felt it was time to deepen my research.
So I’m still doing my work as a curator and art writer. However, I’m taking time to address from an academic perspective the themes I’m working on within my practice.
Which bit of the course have you enjoyed most? Which project are you most proud of?
I enjoy the conversations with my peers and lecturers. A great feature of the course is that we sometimes share lessons with the other two MRes pathways, Exhibition Studies and Moving Images. These are good occasions to learn about other people’s approaches and practices.
I’m proud of all the projects I’ve been involved so far – from the very beginning at the Ikona Gallery in Venice and Fefe’ Project in Rome, to the New Work Network, the drawing shed and Something Human in London.
In the end, even the less engaging projects brought me new perspectives and helped me meet great artists. I like the idea of having in motion an open-ended artistic research and being at the Central Saint Martins at this stage of my life is an important part of it.
What are your fellow students like?
We are a quite varied and international bunch of people. Everybody has a different background and interest in the arts. There are a few visual and live artists, someone that works in fashion design, and students that come from academic backgrounds in literature and art history, but also someone who was working in the finance sector before joining the course. So, as you can imagine, we have quite highly flammable conversations!
Which part of Central Saint Martins’ culture have you enjoyed most?
We have been having really great lectures run by Christopher Kul-Want, Yaiza Hernández Velazquez, Lucy Reynolds and Dean Kenning – and from all the seminars with guest visitors we had been offered so far; I really enjoyed Rosi Braidotti’s and Chris Kraus' contributions.
I also like the openness of the staff, the possibility to meet experimental artists and engaging lecturers.
What is the best bit about living and studying in London?
Before moving to London, I lived in Rome and Venice for few years. What I really like about being in London is that, as an international arts hub, it is really easy to meet stimulating people who are open to collaborating on new projects.
I enjoy the cultural offer, the art scene and the cheap flights to the rest of Europe. I am definitely interested in the live art scene, so I follow the work of artists and organisations such as the Live Art Development Agency, Artsadmin, and Performance Space. Moreover, I write for few art webzines both in Italy and UK, and generally I try to see as many art projects and exhibitions as possible.
It is true that the education offer is changing quickly as the topography of the city does, and with the cuts the government has been doing in the last years, the raise in the housing market and the introduction of high school fees, I am afraid less and less people would be able to achieve an arts education if coming from a disadvantaged backgrounds. I hope this vicious circle will be reversed from both politicians and educational institutions.
What are you working on at the moment?
With Something Human we have just concluded two stopovers of our nomadic project MOVE W I T H (OUT) in Skopje and Lisbon and we have also curated a series of live art interventions in public spaces for the exhibition ‘Interfaces’, promoted by the Barbican Centre and Fish Island Labs.
From 2–8 November we programmed the second edition of the Cross-Cultural Live Art Project, which fosters collaboration between southeast Asian and European performers. This year the project is called Couldn’t Care Less and addresses the notion of care from many perspectives and I hope CSM students will join us at Deptford Lounge on those days.
In terms of what I’m working on within my Masters, at the moment I’m researching material on the notion of border, in order to present my research project next spring. It is going to be a busy year, this one!
What tips would you give to students starting at Central Saint Martins?
I’d suggest making the most of all the seminars and collateral activities and exhibitions proposed within the Central Saint Martins calendar and the other UAL branches.
There are a lot of exciting lectures and activities out there, and they are opportunities to develop your own research outside the planned contact hours.
Moreover, get out the CSM and go and visit galleries, art spaces, and artists’ studios and make the most of your staying in London!
How do you think Central Saint Martins has helped shape your career so far?
So far, my Masters has been helping me redefine and rethink theoretically my practice as a curator and producer, while giving me the opportunity to share ideas with peers and professors. Having professional feedback is always helpful in order to think through your own project and I’m sure that, along the way, I’ll be able to meet interesting artists and arts professional to collaborate with.