Ilse is a current student on MA Media, Communications and Critical Practice at London College of Communication.
Why did you decide to pursue a postgraduate degree, and why MA Media, Communications and Critical Practice?
I decided to do a Masters degree two years ago to pursue my interest in more depth about topics like digital platforms, knowledge societies and the impact of media in different aspects. When I looked for a MA in my home country, Mexico, I noticed a lack of postgraduate opportunities covering these subjects. I realised that an international experience in one of the top universities, like University of the Arts London, would not only help me to have a wider cognitive map but I could also contribute knowledge to my country.
I was really attracted to this degree because it offered the two main things I was looking for, collaborative projects and practice. As a postgraduate student I was looking forward to having a solid experience with projects that would give me the chance to work in creative ways with other people from different backgrounds.
What are you working at the moment and what are some recent interesting projects you’ve worked on?
Since starting the degree, I have been involved in captivating projects such as Sonic Futures lead by one of my lecturers Dr. Chiara Minestrelli. This project involves students from different postgraduate degrees to work on workshops, conferences and events that have a positive impact on students from London College of Communication and the wider University.
I’ve also had the chance to join the Artefact magazine team to write about gentrification. This issue is something I haven’t explored yet, so this is a fantastic chance to get to know more about it and meet some artists and their viewpoints about this problem in London. Creating a written piece for an academic magazine has been a professional goal and this has been a big opportunity.
Finally, as part of my Collaborative Unit I’m working on an artefact with artist Poulomi Basu. This has been one of the highlights of the course and one of the main reasons I joined this particular course. I’m working with students from other degrees like MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography, and together we are creating an artefact like an audiovisual craft about knife crime in London. The process of research and then working on the artefact with a great mentor like Poulomi is so fulfilling.
What important piece of advice would you give to students thinking of studying this course?
I don’t think I can give just one piece but here's some advice that I would have found helpful before joining the course.
Be mentally and even emotionally prepared to work in teams most of all the time. Collaboration is a key and valuable piece of this course since it involves small discussions about the topics and working for the assignments as well for each term. This means, learn to listen to other view points and be open to new ideas. But also, don’t hold yours back!
Get involved! This course offers such a wide spectrum of opportunities like conferences, extra curricular activities and projects, internships, visits to museums and more. The more knowledge you obtain, the better experience you will have on the course. Think out of the box and book onto some conferences that you wouldn’t usually join. This will help you to know more what are your interests and what are you more passionate about.
Enjoy! This course involves a complete process of researching, writing, analysing topics that are happening right now, creating and collaborating. Do not take this course as a MA degree but as an opportunity to contribute with something that you are interested about. This is a great chance to expose your input in a critical essay, an outstanding artefact or a brilliant thesis that can help future generations, other academia, current students or even prospective students. Each project represents a little part of yourself hence, what do you want to say/show to the world? Have fun getting your hands on it and enjoy the creative and critical flow!
Where do you hope studying this course will lead you in the future?
Even though I haven’t finished yet, I’m 100% positive this was the best decision in a personal, academic and professional aspect. I’ve been longing to get more knowledge and theoretical background in order to do my PhD in Culture, Communication and Media. This course has definitely been a great starting point to get there. I see myself in the future being a researcher/professor and sharing my experience with new generations and, hopefully, inspiring young people by creating collaborative projects or doing a TEDx Talk. My main personal goal is to not disappear from this world without leaving a positive impact. This course is helping me a whole lot regarding that.
How have you found living in London, and where’s your favourite place to explore?
London was a big challenge and bittersweet at the beginning but now the city has been such a dream. There is so much to do, to see and to explore and I’ve been surprised by every hidden spot and the streets. London has been synonym of adventure in many senses. I’m falling more and more with the city, I can’t get enough of strolling and walking around neighbourhoods like Shoreditch, Camden Town or Peckham.
I live in Notting Hill very close from the Portobello Market and to be honest, I walk along the market road most weekends. Every single time I walk it, it feels like the first time even if I have memorised the shops and the people that work there. I love to observe new tourists, families, lovers, photographers, friends getting marvelled by the antiques, the shops, the food, the coloured houses and not forgetting, the musicians on the streets.
Visit the MA Media, Communications and Critical Practice course page.