Arts Careers Event with Condé Nast
Twenty-seven students from ten different state schools across Devon and Dorset attended the event, which was hosted at the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design in London – a key hub for creative training in the capital with close links to industry leaders in the fashion and publishing world.
The event utilised Downing College alumni and staff, who provided insight into their career journeys from their time as students at Cambridge to their early professional roles and current positions. Chris Hughes, International Project Manager at the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design, spoke about the ever-changing face of magazine publishing in the digital world and the varied and exciting challenges he encounters in his role.
This was followed by a talk from Lara Prendergast, online editor at The Spectator, who told students about the amazing places journalism has taken her, including a stint in India working for The Financial Times and Vogue India. She also encouraged the students to grab opportunities to gain experience, citing her beginnings writing, commissioning, and editing one of Cambridge University’s student newspapers as a particularly formative time for her career ambitions.
Rachel Rose Smith, Curator of the Heong Gallery at Downing College and the third speaker at the event, has a particularly special relationship with the College’s outreach initiatives in the South West:
“Having grown up in Cornwall and studied as an undergraduate at Cambridge University, I like to think that I draw from the region’s cultural past in my ongoing work.
After studying for a PhD on modern art in St Ives, I am now working as the curator of Downing College’s recent addition: the new Heong Gallery. The South West has played a large role in my work for the Gallery so far. The first exhibition, Generation Painting 1955–65, included work by St Ives-based artists Peter Lanyon and Patrick Heron. Our third exhibition, Portraits of Place draws from the collection of Kettle’s Yard and includes work by two key figures in the story of modern art in the town: Ben Nicholson and Alfred Wallis.
I’ve met students from the South West on various open days at Downing and always enjoy discussing with them the skills and enthusiasm they might bring to the University. The Arts Careers Event recently held in London also offered an opportunity to discuss in more depth the pleasures of studying for an Arts degree at University and the gateways it can provide onto a range of career paths.”
Much of the event was spent discussing university options and the benefits a degree can provide when trying to access certain career paths. Millie Adams, one of the attendees from Ivybridge Community College, said: “The guest speakers gave me a much better understanding of what their job entails and what qualifications and work experience are most suitable for their role. Also, I feel that I know more about Cambridge University, including the area, the facilities available, the approach to learning and how to apply. The day has encouraged me to be more proactive in my learning and passionate about pursuing the career I want.”
Students from Ivybridge Community College; Colyton Grammar School; Queen Elizabeth’s Academy Trust; Bournemouth School for Girls; Budmouth College; Corfe Hills School; Gillingham School, and Parkstone Grammar School attended the event – we hope you had a brilliant time!