Meet our 2022 Award Winners – Chloe Leeson, MA Design History
Find out more about Chloe Leeson, MA Design History graduate and winner of The Northern School of Art’s inaugural Principal’s MA Dissertation Prize, which recognises the advanced ability of MA Design History students in creating original directions through in-depth research, innovation and advanced scholarship.
- What is your home town and which school/college did you join the School from?
I’m originally from Wigton, Cumbria, and I graduated from The Northern School of Art’s BA (Hons) Costume Interpretation with Design in 2017
- Why did you choose to study at The Northern School of Art?
I chose to study here because I love the north east. I moved over for my degree in 2014 and always knew I’d come back as soon as the masters’ degree launched, which happened to be a couple more years later than I expected! Even though people will tell you that Hartlepool and the north east is full of deprivation and no opportunities, there is a real sense of community spirit and lots of grassroots organisations, especially in the arts, that want the best for the people living here and want to nurture the area – that’s what drew me here.
- What’s your favourite memory of your time at the School (academically as well as socially!)
My favourite memories were typically drunken walks home as an undergraduate, leaving Skyy at 4am on a Sunday morning, but academically I was really proud of being able to present my MA thesis at the inaugural Scholarly Activity & Research Development Group (SARDG) conference ‘Towards a Feminist Future’ as the keynote speaker. Presenting and public speaking was always something I wanted to do during the MA but Covid really got in the way so that was definitely a high point for me. Also then securing my teaching placement at the School’s Middlesbrough campus on the UAL Fashion and Textiles diploma courses for this last academic year, which I have loved (and just completed)!
- What are you doing next and what are your plans/ambitions for the future?
I’ve just finished my PGCE in Post-Compulsory Education at Sunderland University and have just started my new job with Middlesbrough Museums as their new Learning and Engagement Officer. I am working at both Dorman Museum and Captain Cook’s Birthplace Museum, engaging with schools and local community groups to deliver workshops relating to the archive and Teesside history. I am really excited to be working in such a varied role and to be contributing to the local community. In the future I definitely hope to be back at The Northern School of Art lecturing in some capacity – that’s the ultimate goal.
- Any advice for future students applying for the same course as you?
Don’t be too hung up or worried about the idea you pitched your application on, if your interests and research change, just go with it! My starting idea and final thesis were completely different and the topics I covered throughout my modules were not the things I thought I’d end up writing about, but genuinely loved every second of it.
I would love to add that Alyson Agar (The Northern School of Art’s Senior Lecturer for Scholarly Activity and Research) is one of the most sensational mentors and teachers I’ve ever had. Her dedication and passion for her students is so loyal and unwavering and she never has a moment’s doubt in your ideas and abilities. She was always ready to chat to me about the most niche pop culture moments and memes and has really become a great friend. She’s an absolute testament to the college.