Julie Umerle

I chose Falmouth because of the sea, and because of Cornwall's extraordinary light. The slower pace of life, and lack of distractions away from London, provided the time and the space to develop as an artist. Falmouth was an exciting, stimulating, and at times challenging place, with a strong sense of community.

Since graduating, I have exhibited widely, including solo shows at the Barbican Centre (London), and the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum (Coventry). My work has been included in group shows in New York, Philadelphia, Paris and Berlin, as well as in numerous UK exhibitions. In London, I worked at an Acme studio for seven years, whilst working as an artist educator at the Hayward Gallery, the Whitechapel Art Gallery, and the Royal Academy to support my practice.

In 1996, I moved to New York to study for an MFA at Parsons School of Design, where I also taught. I graduated in 1998, and lived and worked between London and New York for the next five years.

I have received several awards throughout my career as a visual artist, including a 2001 Gottlieb Foundation award, and two awards from the Arts Council England (2005 and 2007). I now have a studio in Bow, East London, in an industrial part of the city close to the Olympic site.

Falmouth played a key part in defining and shaping my practice as an artist. The course encouraged individuality in its students, and through the structure and intensity of the course, and the support of faculty and visiting artists, I was able to find my own way of working. It gave me an intellectual curiosity, and the skills and desire to succeed in my chosen field.