Jasmine is in the final year of her MArch at Kent.
Did you do your BA (Hons) in Architecture at Kent?
Yes, I did. I love the University and I found the School to be a very close community. So, coming back for the MArch was a no-brainer really.
How was working life?
I worked in two practices – one in London and one in Brighton. Both of them were small so I had the chance to go to all the meetings and cover the entire scope of things. I really enjoyed that. One of them specialised in conservation work so I also had the chance to work on some historic buildings.
How did you find the process of returning to your studies?
My confidence has changed. I don’t know everything, but I understand how the professional world works now. I have some experience and have found the areas that I want to learn more about. I’ve come back with more drive, because I know where I want to be heading.
How would you describe your studies at Kent?
We work in units and this year my unit is based on a regeneration project in Stoke-on-Trent. You investigate the area yourself, so we went there and met a lot of people. There are six towns in Stoke-on-Trent, but if you ask locals they’ll probably say there are five. One of them – Fenton – has been forgotten and my ambition was to reinvent this town – to put it back on the map. All your modules interrelate with each other; for instance, for the Employability module last year, I learnt how to do a project report – how it would work in a real practice. This is helpful because you’re very focused on doing your design project – and it’s nice that your other work relates to that.
What are the main differences in studying at undergraduate and postgraduate level?
It’s far more self-directed at postgraduate level. You’re choosing what your own projects will be and it’s tricky because there are all these things you are interested in. You need to choose something with a strong narrative, that can hold your interest for a year and fulfil the RIBA requirements.
What have been your favourite areas of study?
Obviously, the Design module is one of my favourites: it’s what I love doing and why I chose architecture as a career. I’ve also been teaching first-year undergraduates in my Pedagogy module and I’ve really enjoyed that. There’s a lot of satisfaction in seeing a student doing well and enjoying their degree.
Have you taken part in any extra-curricular activities?
Through the School, I was able to win a fellowship that allowed me to attend the Architecture Biennale in Venice. I had a scholarship to be there for a month with eight other students. I was working in the British Pavilion, talking people through the concept of the display. I felt very lucky to be involved in that.
What about the relationship between students and tutors?
A good relationship is very important, especially when you’re taking a creative degree. You put your heart into your work, so having a rapport makes it easier to respond to the ‘crits’. I found my tutors’ teaching style to be very good; they were quite tough on you but the crits were always constructive – you were given reasons for everything.
And your fellow students?
Kent is a very welcoming place. It’s an open studio so you can talk to everyone and, within the ‘units’, 4th and 5th-year students work together. That’s really nice. You walk round the School saying ‘hello’ to everyone. I really enjoy that.
What are the resources like?
The digital resources are very good –?we have a crit space with touch-screens and so on. But to be honest, the best resource at KSA has to be the people. The tutors here are excellent.
What are your career plans?
I’d like to work in a practice in Brighton and in the long-term I’d like to do some teaching in an architectural school. My friends who graduated last year are all working in architectural practices now, so I’m feeling pretty confident.