Art Therapist and Fine Art graduate, Harri Thomas, discusses life after university.

Could you tell us a little bit about your work?

“When I was at AUB my art practice focused on the body and gender. Using silicone and metal I attempted to create dual gendered objects.

I started doing my Masters in Art Therapy two years later, I found my training to be very different to my experience from AUB. I no longer had to justify my choices.

My art practice is vital to my job as an Art Therapist. I find I am able to explore and play with new materials with a greater freedom. Creating art is useful to understand work with a client and can reveal what is going happening for myself within the therapeutic relationship. My art practice now focuses on what is current for myself, it is more of an emotional and process led experience.”

More information about Art Therapy can be found at: baat.org

What was your biggest achievement from the first year of graduating?

“I’d probably say, starting my job as a Support worker, because I had to do 1500 hours to gain experience for my masters. It paved the way for where I am now.”

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

“I would definitely say completing my Art Therapy Masters. I had a tough year final year but my determination enable me to finish with a Distinction.”

Have you been in touch with AUB since graduating?

“Yeah I have a couple of times within the first year of graduating I was called by the alumni team to see what my experience of the course was. They rang me this year to ask about my experience and employment after completing my degree. I am still in touch with my old flatmates that were on other courses, it is an on-going network.”

How do you feel studying Fine Art at AUB has benefitted you?

“Well, I definitely wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now without my Fine Art degree. The whole experience was brilliant, it gave me the chance to be independent and gain confidence. I think it has massively contributed to where I am today. I’d love to come back at some point; I really enjoyed my time at AUB.”

Have you furthered your study since your BA?

“Masters in Art Therapy at University of Hertfordshire and a Ceramics Short Course.”

Why did you choose Fine art and AUB?

“When I did my Foundation, I liked all the various pathways and wanted the opportunity for the practice to evolve. I wanted a course that was broad and that could be open ended in terms of practice.

I just kind of had a feeling when I visited AUB that other universities didn’t give me. The interview put you on the spot, they challenged you but I felt comfortable. Being by the beach is always a bonus.”

If you could go back and re-study your BA is there anything you would do differently?

“Yes. So First Year I worked really hard. In the Second year, I became more comfortable and worked in the studio in close proximity to my friends, which resulted in creating similar work. If I could go back I would place myself in a different studio to my friends. I had a great time, but during Second Year I wish I would have focused more and had the confidence to be more independent.”

What is your one piece of advice for the next generation of creatives?

“I think I would really challenge yourself. Make the most of the studios and all the facilities, because when you leave you don’t have them, and its just about having the confidence to go over there and be able to use the facilities. Use them while you can.”