Iris Walker-Reid - MA Fine Art

Iris Walker-Reid - MA Fine Art
From making small ceramic sofas to creating installations of a skip and a façade, a Masters in Fine Art at Gray's School of Art has been an invaluable experience for 24 year-old, RGU Artist in Residence, Iris Walker-Reid.

Iris says she didn’t do that well at school at Kincorth Academy. She found learning hard as she had dyslexia and this made academic studies challenging. Despite this however, Iris went onto study Art & Design at North-East College. This gave her a solid foundation and she gained a 2nd year, direct entry into a Contemporary Art Practice undergraduate course at Gray’s School of Art.

She was inspired to do a Master’s in Fine Art having had such a good experience throughout her undergraduate degree as she explains: “I knew from doing my BA Hons that the staff at RGU and especially Gray’s School of Art, were really supportive. The course would give me the time to develop my ideas with workshops and lectures.

“I’m pretty proud of myself. I never thought I’d get into BA level, never mind completing my Masters especially since I didn’t do too well at secondary school. It was difficult to complete my degree during the pandemic but it’s felt a bit more normal in the past few months. It's been great using the facilities again and exhibiting as part of the MA Postgraduate Showcase, ‘Onwards’ – the first physical degree show since the pandemic."

Iris found the student services at RGU really helpful with her dyslexia along with the IT support. She also enjoyed working alongside Gray’s School of Art’s Creative Unit, Look Again to help curate the master’s show.

“The breadth of opportunity at Grays has been fantastic and some of the ‘lectures’ have been more conversational which has been really engaging. We’ve met people from across the creative and culture sector from all around Scotland and this has really inspired me.

“I have so many unique stories about my time at RGU. For my final year studying master’s creating a sculpture called the ‘Palace of Façade’, an installation displayed on campus. The temporary installation is based on the original Palace on Bridge Street in Aberdeen, that hosted John Cooke’s Circus before becoming a music hall. In later life, the palace burnt down and all that’s left now is the façade.

“This gave me inspiration for my master’s project, and I’ve had a great opportunity to display my work and work with technicians from The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment and Gray’s School of Art, RGU estates staff, lecturers and many more people. I’ve had so much support for the project from many areas of the university. It was actually exciting as I was bringing the art school outside its building at RGU, hopefully creating more opportunities for other students to use the campus for installations or more.”

Now that Iris has finished university, she plans to focus on her role as RGU’s Graduate in Residence, a position that involves her acting as a go-between, liaison between staff and students. She wants to apply for creative funding and to produce her first, solo show.

“I have many ideas that are spilling out of me, and I hope a couple will get picked up on in the near future. The creative sector is quite difficult to break into, but Gray’s School of Art has given me a really good foundation and prepared me for a rewarding career. I have a strong portfolio, the confidence for developing big projects, researching and the ability to think critically. The opportunities to network within the industry, while studying at Grays, have been incredible and will help me as I move forward with my career.”


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