Meet: Amira Baraka, leader of the UAL Egyptian Alumni Group
Amira Baraka graduated in 2016 from the MA Interior and Spatial Design course at Chelsea College of Arts. With a background in architecture, she is currently a Senior Interior Designer at Raafat Miller Consulting in Cairo. Amira started the UAL Egypt Alumni Group in 2017.
We spoke with her about why she started the group and what she’d like the group to achieve, as well how you can get involved!
What made you choose London, and Chelsea College of Arts to study at?
London is a fascinating city for me for its history, and being a leader in modern art. When I was thinking about pursuing a master’s degree abroad, I was looking for a school known for creativity and experimentation where I can practice my ideas, that’s why I chose UAL. Also, I wanted to stay in a city where I can explore creative practice inside the university and outside it. I loved visiting art galleries and exploring works by established and emerging artists and designers.
What do you do now?
I’m currently practising as a Senior Interior Designer at one of the leading consulting offices in Cairo. However, I haven’t settled yet. I’m planning to do a PhD and to pursue a career in academia and research which was my career plan before doing my MA. After the exposure, I had to different kinds of arts and design during my stay in London I’d love to say that I’m currently in the phase of rearranging my thoughts before carrying on with a PhD.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
There are a couple of things that I’ve achieved and I’m proud of; one of which is working with a non-governmental organization in Cairo on a project concerned with designing for differently-abled people and providing services to them on an equal basis with the rest of the public.
What do you like most about being part of the UAL Alumni community?
Being exposed to opportunities that can help me advance my career.
Why did you set up the Egyptian Alumni Group?
I wanted to get in touch with alumni in my city, however, I was surprised and curious when I’ve found out that there wasn’t an alumni group in Egypt. So, I decided to be the one to take the step and connect UAL alumni. I believe we would make use of a local network for creative activities, and to catch up and see what we’ve been doing after graduation. I hope this group can bring us together to explore our common interests in Arts and Design.
What do you hope the Egyptian Alumni community will achieve?
Like most of the groups for college Alumni, people usually like meeting likeminded people, with whom they can share their experience and ask for advice when they need. I hope the alumni community in Egypt can achieve more, and be a start for a real community where UAL alumni can help each other advance in their art careers.
What is next for the group?
Moving from social media and have a fixed monthly meetup where people can meet, make new friends, and share their valuable experience related to art and design.
How you can get involved:
Have you got ideas for UAL events that you would like to see happen in Egypt? Perhaps you would like to lead an event or workshop or know of free spaces to hold activities. We are keen to hear from any of our Egyptian based alumni with ideas and who want to help our community flourish. Join the Facebook Group to let Amira know your suggestions and to keep up-to-date.