Anthea Spivey moved from Dakar, Senegal to study BA (Hons) Photography at Leeds Arts University. We caught up with her to find out why she chose to study at the University and what she thinks of Leeds so far.
Why did you choose to study at Leeds Arts University?
Moving from Africa I wanted to live somewhere safe, where I could try out new things. Leeds Arts University was perfect for that; I was lucky enough to be on a course that specialises in many different aspects of photography rather than many that simply focus on commercial practice. I also knew coming in that the photography department was one of the best any university had to offer and I find that incredibly important.
What do you specialise in and what are you working on at the moment?
I specialise in social documentary photography, so I seek to find stories and learn from people before I physically photograph them. I have many projects in the works including two books that I hope to publish in my third year! I've got a long road ahead of me but I feel that it is incredibly important to keep a good momentum instead of only doing what is expected of you.
How does the University help you develop your practice?
Before I started on the Photography degree, I did the Foundation Diploma also at Leeds Arts University, but prior to that I had no idea how to use a film camera. With much practice and help from the staff at the University, I can say that I am quite confident with my film camera and I've created images that I am very proud of.
What do you plan to do after University?
I wholeheartedly believe that once you grow up in Africa, it never leaves you. I now know that once I'm done with the course I want to join UNICEF in West Africa and be a full time photographer. I like to see the good in the place I call home, and I'd like to change public perception of how people view Africa because I think it tends to be negative when it isn't.
What makes Leeds a good place to study?
Coming from a city like Dakar, Leeds is the perfect place to grow as a photographer, not only is everything in walking distance, but the people make the place. I found that the people of Leeds are some of the nicest, warmest people I've ever met. I also like to think I have a good outside perspective of what England is like because moving here is the first time I've lived in the 'first world' and I think that Leeds is like a little bubble where people are kind to one another and respect all forms of art.