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Meet Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark

Written by Maria Ryan
Published date 25 April 2019

Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark studied a Foundation at Central Saint Martins, and then went on to Chelsea College of Artsto study BA (Hons) and the MA in Fine Art. Since graduating from the MA last year, she has continued to be an integral part of life at UAL, working for Shades of Noir as a Junior Editor and more recently, joining the UAL Alumni of Colour Association as Head of Creative.

Headshot courtesy of Charlie Lima
Headshot courtesy of Charlie Lima

What made you want to study at Chelsea?

UAL has a fantastic reputation and it was always somewhere I envisioned myself studying, so I was overjoyed when I got into CSM for foundation. I applied to Goldsmith and a few other places but I liked UAL as an establishment.  It’s very multicultural and really open in terms of the types of conversations that were emerging in my practice.  During my time on my Foundation, I decided I wanted to go to Chelsea College of Arts to study Fine Art, as it has a great reputation with some amazing alumni to boast about.

What were the highs and lows of your time there?

It ebbs and flows really: the feeling of insecurity or not being as competent as other makers on my course was a constant train of thought within my time there, against making a fantastic group of friends and exhibiting widely, both nationally and internationally. Every week presented with it a new challenge but it was all part of my journey. Most definitely a high point was graduation (for obvious reasons) but more importantly the feeling of looking around the Royal Festival Hall and seeing all your friends and peers giddy with excitement at that fact that we had accomplished what we had set out to achieve will always stick with me. The little moments spent with classmates in a very crowded studio space, and seeing all the creativity emanating from all corners of the room - all of us stressed and seemingly very close to going crazy, but within that still having the moments to laugh became the process of getting through deadlines.

Black Arts Fair, 2018 at Kingston University, courtesy of R S D'Clarke
Black Arts Fair, 2018 at Kingston University, courtesy of R S D'Clarke

What have you been doing since you graduated?

I have tried to remain in the creative industry as much as I possibly could.  Working freelance (part-time) has been a wonderful way for me to continue to make work in the same spirit as when I was studying. I am currently Junior Editor for Shades of Noir which means I still have access to UAL campus which has been so helpful in remaining in that creative mindset. My freelance activities include facilitating workshops - most recently at the V&A for the #FridayLates series (March) - as well as continuing to make work, exhibit and making moves towards teaching and preparation for possibly studying for a PhD. In many ways, it has become very useful for me to remain busy in order to keep the momentum.

The Anti-Art Fair, 2018 (Created Debuts), courtesy of R S D'Clarke
The Anti-Art Fair, 2018 (Created Debuts), courtesy of R S D'Clarke

What made you want to join the AOC committee?

Being an Alumn of Colour myself, I thought it would be a brilliant opportunity to help build this community that I didn’t know I had access to when I was studying. When I saw the application and considered the range of skills I had gained throughout my time studying, I thought that perhaps those skills could lend themselves to fostering a strengthening the Association.

I am genuinely passionate about fostering a supportive community to help increase the visibility and representation of people of colour in the creative industries. As a ex-student of UAL, but still actively engaged in the curriculum through my work with SoN and the Creative Mindsets Workshops (led by Vikki Hill), I understand the importance of creating safe spaces to increase opportunities to share ideas, knowledge, skills, stories, and networks to boost confidence and spark empowerment for creatives of colour.

What kinds of things do you hope to achieve in your role on the AOC?

I hope my work as part of the AOC will help towards strengthening of community relations, increase the visibility of creatives of colour, and of the Association and its activities. I hope to build upon my skills, and create opportunities for the alumni of colour to knowledge share and network.

Why should other alumni get involved and attend events?

I think that the Association can perform as an important safe space for creatives of colour, both post-study and pre-graduation. I think that it is important for all creatives of colour under UAL’s umbrella to engage with the Association and events in order to foster stronger networks for themselves which can be advantageous for their professional working practice, whichever avenue they decide to go into after study. This is a fantastic community of creatives – working at all levels – who have navigated all areas in the creative industries and presents a great opportunity to increase opportunities to share ideas, knowledge, skills, stories, and networks to boost confidence and spark empowerment for creatives of colour.

The UAL Alumni of Colour Association is a supportive community to help increase the visibility and representation of people of colour in the creative industries, run by dynamic and inspiring alumni volunteers. To find out more and get involved visit the AOC Association webpage