Thriving and Surviving as an Artist – Highlights from Chapel Arts Studio Careers Talk

Have you ever wondered what opportunities lie beyond a degree in the arts or humanities? Arts Ambassador and Fine Art Student Annette Warner shares her insight from a talk held at Winchester School of Art (WSA) by accomplished artist and curator Rosalind Davis, organised by Chapel Arts Studios .

As I reflected on the busy Careers Week held at Winchester School of Art, I was reminded of a brilliant talk held in December on further options as an artist in carving out a career. The event was organised by Chapel Arts Studios , a contemporary visual arts organisation which support and develop artists in North Hampshire.

As any student, the greatest fear shared amongst us is the commonly asked, “what are your plans after?”. It is a question that indeed seems to stump many people in their final year at University, preoccupied with immediate deadlines and pressures to be considering the wide range of opportunities available to them when it’s all over.

Rosalind Davis is an established artist and curator of Collyer Bristow Gallery  who has made a name for herself through admirable commitment and a go-the-extra-mile attitude. As co-author of ‘What They Didn’t Teach You in Art School’, Davis talked straightforwardly about the obstacles she faced entering the art world and how she practically overcame them. She began by saying the humbling statement:

“I didn’t make most of my opportunities when young, and that’s fine. We’re all learning, this is why you’re here”

This attitude struck me and echoed everything she explained through her in-depth talk about thriving in any situation and learning from every experience. It’s this positive mindset that gets reinforced every day in an art school and is beneficial to anyone in keeping an open mind about their futures.

Davis emphasised the necessity to empathise with other people’s schedules, stating how everyone is busy and nothing ever comes at the ‘right time’. With this situation, she explains, it’s up to you to challenge yourself to make the most of everything thrown your way and be grateful it.

Davis managed to cover the broad topic with an easy-to-follow presentation. These are some of the top tips I walked away:

  • Go the extra mile with everything
  • Create your own opportunities.
  • Never burn bridges
  • Stand out for the all the right reasons.
  • Treating everything with the precision that you treat your work.
  • Research everything
  • Say thank you

The experience was invaluable to me as an art student and answered some key questions that may not necessarily be covered within courses, including HMRC registration, funding and networking. I went away from the talk feeling empowered about the arts and my ability to grasp opportunities that I am passionate about. In a world where art is little understood, and its opportunities seem limited, Davis managed to break down these preconceptions, which are explained thoroughly in her book ‘What they didn’t teach you in art school’. I feel excited about making my own way in the world of art.

Fine Art Graduate of WSA 2018, Georgia de Buriatte is a prime example of making the most of your opportunities. As part of an artist in residency opportunity provided by Chapel Arts Studios, de Buriatte had recently curated the new exhibition ‘Book of Seasons’ , held at Winchester School of Art Westside Foyer, on between March 4th and March 9th.

CAS provides resources, advice, support and opportunities for artists post-graduation and beyond.

Credits: Chapel Arts Studios








Arts Ambassadors is a paid opportunity, supported by the Careers and Employability Service’s Excel Southampton Internship programme, University of Southampton.

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