We spoke to MA Creative Practice student, Mikkel Ullah, on how previously studying BA (Hons) Fine Art at Leeds Arts University helped her establish her practice, what opportunities have occurred during her studies and what exciting projects she is currently working on...

How did BA (Hons) Fine Art encourage and strengthen your practice?

I came to Leeds Arts University with no previous formal art experience or understanding of artists. I was always interested in art as a child, I used it as a way to express myself and curb my overenthusiastic, troublesome behaviour!

Studying BA (Hons) Fine Art introduced me to new materials and freedom of expression. I was exposed to artists such as Jackson Pollock and Basquiat who really shaped my imagination. My tutors tried to steer me in the right direction to enhance my knowledge without restricting my personality or emerging style.

You have studied at Leeds Arts University for over four years, what opportunities have you had during this time? 

My end of year degree show included lots of fashion within my inter-disciplinary processes. This exposure lead to publicity within Leeds, with established platforms such as City Talking, Leeds Inspired and a collaboration with Voir magazine where I worked on their first celebrity issue
My current practice involves me working with young creatives in the city as part of the Dynamite Project which I founded in 2014. This collective enables me to stay connected to the city while nurturing new talent and collaborating with other organisations and collectives in Leeds.

What exciting projects are you currently working on?

Currently my focus is collaboration thats is based in the Leeds community. I have recently completed the second after party for Leeds International Festival which involved working with young creatives, designing and creating a site specific installation with digital artists, performance artists, dancers, photographers and filmmakers. This after party was organised by Suzy Mason, the founder and promoter of legendary clubs The Kit Kat Club, Vague and SpeedQueen, and provided a platform to showcase my current work.

This has strengthened my interest in community based work, I am aiming to set up more inter-generational projects in the city and work on an international platform, providing artistic outreach to vulnerable people who will benefit from my artistic skills and knowledge. Although I am continuing to collaborate within Leeds, my main focus starts with my painting and exploration of urban art

How did studying BA (Hons) Fine Art influence you to continue your studies to MA Creative Practice?

After suffering a stroke in my second year (2014), the support I needed increased and helped me reach my potential despite my setback. With the support of my tutors, the workshop instructors and learning support I was encouraged to carry on, despite not being able to read or write after the stroke. Art has become a form of therapy and a way of living as opposed to a means to gain a qualification. The MA is structured around creative practice which has allowed me to continue to explore my own expression and practice without the obstacles my current disabilities can put before me. This course has supported me in continuing my academic journey.