Patricia Amatriain was inspired by her degree in Performance Costume at Edinburgh College of Art, but has met some understandable challenges since graduation. She tells us about them, her new career path, and also offers some very sound advice to new graduates.
|Year of graduation||2018|
At the moment
I am currently re-training to be a secondary school art teacher and will graduate in June 2021. I will be working at Birmingham Ormiston Academy, a school specialising in visual, performing and digital arts. This change in profession is hugely exciting for me. I was motivated to become an educator by a desire to have a positive impact on young people and to contribute to the construction of a fairer and more just society in which everyone is empowered to participate fully.
Your time at the University
My years at Edinburgh College of Art were remarkably exciting. I joined the Performance Costume course with an aspiration to contribute to storytelling in the performing arts and to create characters. My passion for the text as a starting point for the design process grew as I progressed in my studies and beyond university in my professional life.
Your experiences since leaving the University
The performing arts industry presents some challenges for freelance workers. These have been exposed by the pandemic which has hit live-shows and the people behind them in a significant way.
I am very excited to be involved in education where I can pass on my enthusiasm for the performing and visual arts. The world needs designers and artists more than ever and if we work together in ethical and sustainable ways, we can redefine the value and nature of the creative arts and the industry.
After graduation I found jobs in different cities and started an itinerant lifestyle. There were difficult times and big decisions to be made in terms of the flexibility of my geographical location and I threw myself into new opportunities and changes with a positive mindset.
I believe that building community is key for personal and collective survival in this profession. Being connected with your friends, colleagues and peers will be a great support during your years as an early career designer. Discussing issues with other professionals is also a very helpful strategy to understand the landscape of the performing arts industry. They will understand how you are feeling and will be familiar with the ups and downs of a career in the performing arts.
My job hunting tips would start with reading, researching and contacting companies you are interested in. Follow them on social media and stay updated with their working structures, their artistic directors and the work they produce. Whenever possible, try to meet people in person; there are loads of designers who, when approached appropriately, will spare some of their time to meet newcomers and to hear about you.
Be strategic in your approach when accepting jobs. Building up a clear specialised skillset and direction in your career, will help you define yourself as a professional.
Keep strong, remain faithful to your ideals and connect with your community of practice. Exercise your resilience and take care of your mental health treasuring your time when you are not working.