Alice Helliwell is studying for a Master’s in History and Philosophy of Art at the Paris School of Arts and Culture.
What attracted you to this course?
I chose this course because of the robust philosophy element; my background is in philosophy and psychology and I was looking to move into an art-related field, so this course was perfect for me.
Why did you choose to study at Kent’s Paris School of Arts and Culture (PSAC)?
I chose to study in Paris because I wanted the chance to study my degree in a city filled with both art historical richness and contemporary creativity.
What are you particularly enjoying about your studies?
There are so many enriching experiences for us to take part in. We have been to art openings, museums and live shows and visited artists’ studios and private collections of art. There are regular talks from creatives and professionals in the arts that we can attend. We also have the opportunity to create our own arts journal and festival.
What is it like living and studying in Paris?
It can be amazing, frustrating and hugely exciting. There are students from all over the world studying in Paris and there is never a shortage of things to see and do. It is a bit of a culture shock at times, but the support from PSAC staff here has been fantastic; they are approachable, warm and help in every way they can. The modules have been brilliant, and the chance to study areas outside your expertise creates a cross-disciplinary dialogue in the arts that is great to be a part of.
Which modules have you enjoyed the most?
I greatly enjoyed the Key Concepts in History and Philosophy module. Our seminar leader really encouraged us to take the lead in our learning, and the seminars were incredibly engaging, with much debate from all! This was further enhanced by trips to museums in Paris to view related artworks. In this class, my confidence in dealing with complex academic texts grew exponentially; I couldn’t recommend the module more.
How would you describe your fellow students?
My fellow students are motivated, sociable and excited to enjoy all that Paris has to offer. There is a great community here in Paris and I enjoy being in class and attending events with the group. As President of this year’s Paris Society, I have been working with my fellow committee members to ensure we have exciting and inclusive events for all students here in Paris, especially in welcoming those who are studying a split-site programme.
How do you think postgraduate study differs from undergraduate study?
As postgraduates, we have a lot more freedom to direct our studies to the areas we are interested in, while being encouraged by our tutors to develop our knowledge and understanding. There is a higher level of autonomy at Master’s level but also a higher level of engagement with seminar leaders and peers.
How do you think your studies will affect your employment prospects?
I think that my studies at PSAC will greatly improve my employment prospects. There is a very thorough employability workshop series as well as one-to-one career consultations. There are lots of opportunities to interact with professionals in the arts, which also adds to the feeling that we are in the perfect place to make connections, discover career pathways and take the next step into our futures.
What does doing a further degree give you that a first degree doesn't?
Apart from looking appealing to prospective employers, a further degree gives you a chance to develop your academic thought and research skills. It gives you a chance to specialise and to meet other Master’s students, which in turn enhances your own learning experience. Undertaking an extended project or dissertation also allows you to explore a subject in more depth than is possible in an undergraduate degree.
What are you planning to do next?
I am planning to work for a year while applying to PhD programmes in the US and Europe.
Any advice for those thinking about taking this course?
My advice would be to go for it! Moving to a new country may seem scary but everyone is in the same boat and there is so much support available. Within a few months you’ll have forgotten all your apprehension! The teaching is brilliant, you will learn a lot from your fellow students and will be supported to achieve your career goals, all while experiencing the wonders of Paris. What’s not to love?