The next MA Fashion Curation student on the LCFMA16 Graduate Spotlight, to tell us about her experience on this unique course, is Cicely-Rose Proctor. She discusses her time at LCF, her final project and her plans for the future.
What did you study before MA Fashion Curation?
I did a BA in Writing Fashion and Culture at Southampton Solent University, which primarily focused on theoretical approaches to studying dress.
Why did you choose LCF?
I chose MA Fashion Curation at LCF first because it’s unique in what it offers. There are a growing amount of curation-based degrees but the scope of this course gives students the advantage of really specific and valuable knowledge and skills – such as the history of fashion curation, the importance of collecting/collections – as well as internship and networking opportunities. It doesn’t hurt that LCF has such a prestigious reputation too – now I know first-hand why!
What was your favourite thing about studying in London?
The number of exhibitions and inspiring things happening in London all the time is really exciting for a hopeful curator because it offers so much opportunity.
Can you tell us a little bit about your final project and dissertation…
My final project was a written exhibition proposal accompanied by a visual portfolio, based around displaying clothes lent by a group of British transgender people. I’ve always been interested in people who are in some way marginalised and dismissed by society, which led me to this particular topic. Although more discussion is taking place around the issue of gender, it seemed that for many people the subject of trans identity felt alien to them.
I was lucky in that I spoke to a number of people to find out their experience of being trans in Britain today. As a result, each section of exhibition display was built as a response to various emotions and experiences – including pressure to conform to binary forms of gender behaviour, and an overwhelming fascination of what a trans body ‘looks’ like.
On a very basic level, my hope with this proposal was that cisgender (i.e. not transgender) people would get a better understanding of what it’s like to be trans today. By seeing the lenders’ clothing up-close and listening to intimate stories as told by them, my aim was to break down this sense of ‘otherness’ and encourage more inclusivity on both a micro and societal scale.
What did you like most about your course, and what did you find most challenging?
There’s so much I enjoyed on the course: our group was hugely different in our interests and backgrounds which has made working together a real eye-opener. The same goes for our two lecturers, Judith Clark and Amy de la Haye – their approach to work is different, and it was interesting to gain an insight into both, as well as the interests and approaches of our guest lecturers.
With my background predominantly in theory, I’ve found it challenging at times to think spatially about effective ways to design an exhibition. However, it’s a challenge I really enjoyed and was one of the main reasons I was attracted to the course.
What would be your top tips for prospective students?
I would advise prospective students to be as open as they can be to internships and work experiences – even if the opportunities may not necessarily seem up your street at first. Our lecturers encouraged us to apply for internships and, as a result, I was really lucky to gain experience and skills in various environments including archival work, exhibition-making, and admin experience. A breadth of experience is instrumental in growing your confidence and getting you out of your comfort zone, as well as building up a wider skill-set.
Other than that, I’d just advise prospective students to be prepared to work hard and be organised!
What are you plans for the future, now that you’ve finished your MA?
My plan now is to carry on gaining as much experience as possible! I already knew before this course that I love research and writing, however I’m also really keen to develop my practical skills and apply that to exhibition making. As a little side-project, I’m using my lecturers’ feedback on my final project and tweaking elements with the aim of hopefully being able to pitch it!