Introducing our 2019/20 Arts Ambassadors: Thea Hartman

Thea Hartman during her time as Editor of The Edge magazine

MA English Literary Studies student Thea Hartman talks about her passion for escapism, textual analysis, her experience of the Southampton art scene, and what plans she has for her time as an Arts Ambassador!

This is going to sound ridiculously cliché, so brace yourselves, because I really don’t know how else to say it: yes, I have loved art in all its forms for as long as I can remember. The philosophy behind this love is simple: if you’re looking to escape the real world for a bit – and I honestly bet you do – there is no better way to spend those rare spare hours than with a film, some music, a trip to the theatre, a gig, or many a good book. 

As far as that goes, I am an expert fugitive. My Mum taught me how to read early because I would always ask her to read me one more story and she couldn’t catch her breath. And that hasn’t really changed (well, I did learn to read, but you get the idea) – ‘one more story’ became a BA English degree, and then an MA English Literary Studies degree, with a focus on twentieth century literature. Turning a text on all its facets, understanding it in its present and in our own – to me, there’s nothing quite like it, even if it does sometimes push my limits so much that I can’t touch a book for months… Luckily, there are other ways to keep escaping.

And because we’re in Southampton, we have loads of them right on our doorstep! I started discovering the Southampton arts scene due to The Edge, the University’s student entertainment magazine, which sends writers to a wide range of theatre shows and concerts (even after over three years of writing for it I’d probably have a hard time naming all the music venues in Southampton…), but it wasn’t until my summer internship with ‘a space’ arts that I had the chance to get to know the arts community in Southampton and learn just how complex and welcoming it is!

I’m not an artist, so I’m not a stranger to thoughts like “I’m not artsy enough to go there,” or “I don’t belong there” – but I realised I couldn’t be more wrong. And that’s what I’m most excited about doing as an Arts Ambassador – helping to spread the word not only about what the arts scene in Southampton has to offer generally, but also about what it has to offer to those who think like I used to. I’ll be found mostly on this blog and on social media, trying to put all these feelings into words as I explore Southampton’s art scene with Molly and Kate this semester – I hope you join us on this journey!