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Alumni

Claire Murray

Career Path: Artist
Location: West Yorkshire, UK

After my MA, I moved away and spent six years working in the higher education sector, where I received fantastic training in everything from web design to recruitment, copy editing, and presentation skills. After my PGCE in Art & Design at the University of Leeds, I went on to enjoy a very successful teaching career in a sixth form college, teaching art & design up to Course Leader for Art Foundation, BTEC Art & Design and at A-level.

I really love teaching art, and passing on my knowledge and skills to the next generation of creatives. After years of juggling formal employment and my own studio, I was very fortunate to be able to establish myself as a full-time, self-employed contemporary artist based in West Yorkshire in 2019, supporting myself through healthy sales, freelance teaching and mentoring.

What are you doing now?Claire Murray

I pinch myself that every day I go into my own studio to paint! It's a dream come true, but takes hard work and commitment, and draws upon a raft of different skills. I teach independently, running my own adult short courses online and in person, artist mentoring, and working with art agencies and individuals in the region. I exhibit regularly, and am always looking for opportunities to show my work and engage with people. It's an exciting time for me as my work is making its way into collections around the world, and I have paintings in the USA, Australia, and all over Europe and the UK. In 2021 I was approached by an international art agent, based in New York and we developed an excellent working relationship over the subsequent 2 years, offering me sage advice and representation to high level potential clients all over the world.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

Newcastle was (and is) a wonderfully creative city in which to study, and Northumbria's art faculty a rich source of brilliant tutors, lecturers and workshops.

What was it like studying at Northumbria? 

The part-time route was perfect for me. As an artist I ran my own studio alongside the course, lectured part-time, and studying over two years gave me the opportunity to make the most of the time to develop my practice substantially.

How connected was your course with industry?

I was really fortunate to be able to take part in a really high level intellectual discourse about art, with lectures and seminars with some very successful artist tutors. My course leader, David Dye, was a fantastic mentor and brought together a really exciting programme of guests, talks and seminars.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

We had an opportunity to meet with a surface design company, but my part-time work in education and galleries did help later when looking for employment.

What was the best thing about your course?

I loved meeting other artists, getting detailed feedback about my work, and having the opportunity to have academic rigour applied to my practice.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

Having an MA in Fine Art has had a big impact on the opportunities that later came my way. The Masters level qualification set me apart from other graduates, and showed a level of commitment to my career as an artist, and a seriousness about my intentions to continue with my creative career path. When I went into teaching later on, I am sure the MA elevated my application, and my own personal confidence grew after doing this course.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

When I started the MA I was shy, terrified of public speaking. One of the requirements of the course was to research, write and deliver a seminar to our group, involving presentation, slide show, and chairing a question and answer session at the end. I remember doing at least two of these, and these experiences most definitely laid the foundations for my subsequent successful teaching career. Now, I have no fear of public speaking, and love to host workshops, seminars and talks on my work and different approaches to art!

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

I loved being part of a cohort, with the support, critique and interest in our study.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

Do it!

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Great times!

For more information about me visit:

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