Ella Ravilious

BA(Hons) Fine Art (Sculpture) 1999 - 2002

Deciding to study Fine Art was an easy choice for me; I've always had an interest in creative disciplines, and a fine art degree seemed to be the course that encouraged working and thinking creatively in the most flexible and also most concentrated way. I thought it would be one of the arts courses that gave me the most postgraduate options.

Falmouth was my first choice because of its reputation, and also its location. I knew I wasn't ready to move to London at that stage, and Falmouth is a perfect mix of scenic countryside and lively alternative social scenes. Having said that, I really didn't expect to get offered a place on the course, and I'd resigned myself to going elsewhere when I got the letter!

I am currently working at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as a Curator. I work in the Prints and Drawings Department, and I'm managing a major project (nicknamed 'The Factory') to digitise and enhance documentation for a large part of our objects in stores. I have two full-time photographers working on the project and a team of volunteer auditors and conservators who come in every week.

After completing my degree at Falmouth, I went on to do an MA in Fine Art at Norwich School of Art. From there I moved to Brighton and tried unsuccessfully to get any kind of job at all for around eight months, before finally getting a position in a card shop and gallery in London. The premises where I worked closed after nine months, but I applied for a job as a Service Assistant in the National Art Library in the V&A, and although they turned me down initially I eventually managed to get that post as a short term contract. After a year my contract expired, but they kept me on as a technician serving the Prints and Drawings Study Room, and whilst engaged in that I was able (after many attempts) to get a place on the V&A's landmark Assistant Curator Development Programme. In this role I was job-sharing between two departments, Metalwork and Prints, which gave me a really good insight into best practice across the museum, and when my current role was advertised I was able to make a good case for taking it on. I can't pretend my career has been a smooth ride, but I'm pleased to finally have a job that I enjoy, and which fits my skills and interests.

Studying Fine Art at Falmouth was a really formative experience, and I am still in regular contact with many of the people I met there, both socially and professionally. I left the course with a much more rigorous, questioning mindset, which gave me a distinct advantage over many of those who had studied the same subject elsewhere. It gave me more confidence in talking and writing about Art from an academic point of view, which is obviously a major part of my current role, but I find being able to talk about objects from the point of view of an artist rather than a curator is a useful skill too. Having tried my hand at creating a mezzotint, linocut, etching, etc. makes it much easier to recognise techniques used in objects, and explain those to the public, for example! I also found that potential employers in the Arts realm did respond positively to my having a degree from Falmouth.