We spoke to BA (Hons) Photography student, Katarzyna Olszweska, on studying at Leeds Arts University, why she loves Leeds and her plans for after graduating...

Why did you choose Leeds Arts University?

The Open Day I attended at Leeds Arts University left me convinced that this was the place for me. This was because of a combination of things; the positive vibe of the institution, the community-like atmosphere and the location. For me it was important to study at a place which was an art-centred institute; a place where collaboration is encouraged and funding is dedicated to improving the arts facilities. The community and support aspect was also important to me, so because the University is smaller it really appealed to me. It felt like the tutor to student ratio was appropriate to where it seemed that I would get a lot of personal support as well as support as part of a larger group. This has proven true for the duration of my studies so far. 

What made you select BA (Hons) Photography?

I always knew that I was going to do Photography at university and as a career after, at this point I was interested in Fashion Photography but I was not ready to fully commit that specifically until I had the opportunity to experiment in other areas of the practice. The Photography course at Leeds Arts University appealed to me due to its openness and flexibility. I knew that I had three years of a course where I could explore and experiment in order to find my own voice within photography. 

What do you really enjoy about your course and the University?

I really enjoy the diversity in approaches and perspectives, making it a really great environment for development of my own practice. The course is mixed genre which allows photographers outside of my chosen area to suggest things that I might not have thought or known about before. This means that all of our work in enriched by more theoretical, contextual and critical research. One of the University’s strongest points is the diversity of artists and the opportunity to feed off of each other.

What do you plan to do after university?

At the moment, I’m planning to take a bit of a break, maybe a year or so, to do some travelling and earn some money to be able to afford my own photography equipment. I would love to be involved in the Fashion Photography industry and I am hoping to be able to continue this after I graduate. I have also been looking into starting an independent studio with a couple of fellow photographers and graphic designers. More than anything I just want to be involved in something that is creative. 

What makes Leeds a good place to study?

Leeds for me one of the best places to be for the arts. The city is fuelled by creativity and artistic community, independent businesses such as Village Bookshop & Gallery are a great example of this. There is a real sense of appreciation of all art forms here, and you can find support in the unlikeliest of places. There are some great galleries and events which are constantly running throughout the year, not just in the city of Leeds itself but also in places such as Wakefield, Bradford and other close locations that are easily accessible by train. The city centre is great for more urban and street style photography whilst the neighbouring hills of The Yorkshire Dales provide a stark change of scenery, all of which I found is a great advantage to all artists.