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Jordan Silver graduated from the MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy course in 2015.
What were you doing before you joined the course? Why did you decide to study at CSM?
Prior to arriving in London to study at Central Saint Martins, I was living in New York City. I had recently completed my BA in Philosophy and Art History at Eugene Lang The New School for Liberal Arts and was concurrently working in digital film restoration at The Criterion Collection while considering potential options for postgraduate programs. I had first read about the MRes: Art Theory and Philosophy degree at CSM in Afterall Journal, and after a bit more research on the program and the academic staff I knew that this was the place I wanted to be.
Which bit of the course did you enjoy most?
It’s very difficult to isolate one particular aspect of the course as having been the most enjoyable. Overall, I found the entire experience to be extremely rewarding. I still really value the mentorship of some of the tutors I was fortunate enough to study under, Karl Baker and Christopher Kul-Want specifically, who helped me a great deal in developing as a scholar and a writer. I made some strong friendships with my classmates and enjoyed the seminars and lectures I attended with them over the years of the course. Notwithstanding all of the incredible facets of the London arts culture which CSM works diligently to connect its students with.
Which projects are you most proud of?
Naturally, I am most proud of my final dissertation on Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project vis-à-vis Baudelaire and 19th century Paris, it was the culmination of two full years of hard work. Although again, I owe a considerable debt of gratitude to my tutors at CSM, both for allowing me to pursue my own research interests, and for nurturing and guiding me in that endeavour. I know I wouldn’t have been nearly as successful in the project without their support.
What is the best bit about living and studying in London?
Having spent the previous 11 years in NYC, I was certainly accustomed to big city living, however that is not to say that London wasn’t completely different than I expected, because it definitely was. There were so many new things to explore: new museums, new contemporary galleries, film programs, performances, etc. I definitely felt like a fish out of water for a time. Looking back, however, I feel very fortunate to have been at an institution like Central Saint Martins which really strives to connect their students with those outside cultural programs. We would make gallery visits and see films with my class, and before long I could navigate London like the locals and really make the most of this incredible city.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I am a PhD candidate and College of Arts and Law Doctoral Scholar at The University of Birmingham where I am conducting research on the painter Edouard Manet. Additionally, I will most likely be returning to Musée d’Orsay in Paris this coming spring for a second consecutive year as a curatorial intern working on two special exhibitions for later this fall. I also occasionally write film criticism for Vice Media and V Man Magazine.
What tips would you give to students starting the course at CSM?
As with any academic endeavour, or anything really, you will only ever get out what you put in. Central Saint Martins is a world famous institution for a reason. With the MRes Art courses in particular, you have an incredible staff at your disposal supported by university resources which are second to none. There really isn’t anything holding Central Saint Martins students back from accomplishing incredible things. Yet nobody can really force success on you, it’s something you have to want for yourself and be willing to work hard to achieve. It sounds cliché but the older I get the more that I realise it is true. My advice would be to attend every class, read every book you can, and work on every assignment like it’s the most important thing you’ll ever do. Studying something you’re passionate about is a privilege very few people have, try to make the absolute most of it.
How do you think the course at CSM has helped shape your career so far?
Honestly, one day I’d like it to be said that having me as an alumni helped to shape Central Saint Martins. Frankly, that’s the sort of ambition for greatness and willingness to work hard that I learned there.