Tim Burrough is a second year MA Book Arts student. Tim has recently moved to Peckham and is a postgraduate student ambassador for Camberwell College of Arts. We caught up with him to ask him about his practice, the Book Arts course and Peckham.
Please tell us a bit about your background and how you came to study at Camberwell?
After graduating from my BA in Photographic Arts I became a little lost. I had taken part in some group exhibitions, made a small book and tried to show it to the right people in the right places but needed more direction and my eyes widening. I had been working for six years managing a busy studio and photographic printers and missed making, learning new skills and developing personal projects. Initially I took a short course in book binding to start the process of thinking again and it was through that that I considered further study and returning to a more rigorous environment. At first I was looking at routes more photographic in content but then stumbled across MA Book Arts on the UAL website and was really drawn to the course.
Why did you decide to join a Postgraduate course at Camberwell?
Two things made it feel like the right decision to study at Camberwell. The course just felt right for where I was and gave me a genuine sense that it would encourage me and help take a massive step towards feeling more fulfilled. It seemed very broad in the sense of fellow students I could meet and the academic staff were so passionate, experienced and interesting. The Extended Full Time mode of study also meant I would be able to work part-time to support myself.
Secondly, I really loved the size of Camberwell and it felt very friendly. You get to know the people and the area quickly and I liked that close-knit feel. It made me feel more inclined to take part and to grow.
How has the course helped you develop your creative practice or work towards your career goals?
This was a really important factor in making my decision to study at Camberwell. You do not just get the support of the one site but have access to all of the wonderful initiatives, student support and careers services UAL offer. I feel like I am developing a proper practice and can make work that is interesting and have an outlet for it. But I really want to be able to kick on a bit with my career goals and have the support in the form of advice sessions, drop in session, networking opportunities for this to happen.
How has your experience been so far? What has been the highlight?
My highlight is of any group session or crit we have around the table with the tutors. We have quite a few of these in the timetable, but what inspires me is going into Uni and not knowing what conversations we will have or where ideas may come from. The course is reasonably small but the variety of interests, backgrounds and methods of making take you and your work on such an interesting journey. These I will miss.
What external activities have you taken part in or found success in?
I have sold work at book fairs to both individual and institutional collectors. These have taken place in Leeds, Bristol and Norwich with Camberwell College of Arts. I also went to Barcelona after being invited to go with some fellow students on the course. Since those first outings I have formed a collective, BBB Books, and we have had a new work commissioned for an interactive library exhibition showing in the UK and USA, as well as an invitation to take part at a book fair in Norway.
Have you been able to work on a part-time basis whilst studying?
Yes I have been able to work part-time. At first I was convinced that it would be near impossible, yet it has been far easier than I thought. When term time is down I have been able to find extra opportunities through the university that help pay the rent. And the combination of having more time in the week that is flexible means I have been able to work regularly on freelance projects and tutoring.
Where is your favourite place in Camberwell/Peckham?
As silly as it is, Cafe Noir near Camberwell Green makes amazing wraps that are great value. The guys are really nice and you see familiar faces. I have loved showing Peckham and Camberwell to my friends and family and subsequently moved here over the summer.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing your course? Any advice?
Yes. Come with an open mind and book binding experience is not necessary! You will meet so many interesting people but you only get out what you put in. Where possible try to plan your time. You will get lots of opportunities to collaborate and let others explore your practice. I sometimes find myself feeling like I have missed out but then only need to look in my diary to remind myself of the excellent things I have signed up to do, been asked to do, and get to work with both in and outside of university.