Amy Walker

History of Art, 2015

“Being in Oxford means that you have the Ashmolean on your doorstep and London only an hour away. It is completely invaluable for an Art History student to be able to visit important galleries and see works of art in the flesh”

Amy Walker was initially unsure what she wanted to study at university but she decided on History of Art because she felt it would help her future career. Amy was attracted to Oxford Brookes because of the mix of modules on offer and the opportunity to study abroad.

When I was researching courses at different universities, the thing that always jumped out at me was the chance to go abroad. Brookes offers a field trip to Paris in the second year and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be taught about beautiful works of art whilst being stood in front of them. Furthermore, all of the modules sounded fascinating to me and so I had to apply.

We cover a wide variety of topics in our modules from Modern Art to the Renaissance. This has opened my eyes to many artists that I may not have come across otherwise. I’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to cross disciplines and take modules in History and English Literature. But of course the main highlight of my degree was the second year field trip to Paris where I visited the Louvre, Musée D’Orsay, Musée Jacquemart-André and the Musée de l’Orangerie.

Oxford is a lovely place to live. There are lots of beautiful buildings, plenty of shops and the nightlife is pretty reasonable too! There are a load of students living here which means a lot of money off deals. It’s not too big and intimidating, everything is really easy to find and you can walk into town from the Headington campus if you want.

Being in Oxford means that you have the Ashmolean on your doorstep and London only an hour away. It is completely invaluable for an Art History student to be able to visit important galleries and see works of art in the flesh. The best teaching experiences I have had at Brookes have come when we have travelled to the Ashmolean or to a gallery in London as a class. I think it’s incredibly important it is to have access to such places.

Before coming to university I was generally a very shy person. I didn’t often interact with my teachers and would avoid speaking in front of the class at all costs. At Brookes, I’ve become very comfortable. The History of Art students are very tight-knit group; you know everyone in your year and so suddenly doing a presentation in front of everyone isn’t so daunting. The course has helped me to come out of my shell and now I wouldn’t think twice about sharing my opinion in a lecture or getting involved in discussion, I think it’s an important skill to have.

My academic advisor has been really great. She’s one of the most senior members of the department but that has not limited the amount of time she has been able to spend helping me. She is also now my dissertation supervisor and I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go forward with my research if she hadn’t encouraged me. All of the staff in the department are incredibly helpful, and the lectures are always interesting and engaging.

I’ve gained a wide variety of knowledge on the course which I will be able to draw on in the future. I’ve learnt about the different art historical approaches and how to properly structure a longer piece of writing. I’ve also been taught how to conduct individual research.

The new John Henry Brookes building on campus is brilliant – I’ll be spending most of my time in the fancy new library! The Brookes Students’ Union is regularly putting on activities for everyone and they are great when you need help with housing and other more serious matters.

I’m in my final year now and I’ve just started getting involved with our History of Art Society. We will be organizing trips to exhibitions and other get-togethers. It’s a great way to meet new people and mix with students from other years that you wouldn’t get to meet otherwise. If anything, I wish I’d joined sooner!

My ultimate goal is to work in a stately home or as a curator in a gallery and I’ve been volunteering at Harewood House to gain experience. After graduating, I aim to complete a master’s degree to help further my knowledge and prepare me for my future career.