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Meet Amina Briggs

Meet Amina Briggs

Get to know a student’s experience studying at The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. Amina Briggs is studying a master of fine arts at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA).

What attracted you to your study?

The beautiful location and spacious studios provided to students, along with access to main faculties such as the metal and woodwork areas, each with its own breathable space.

What was it like studying Visual Arts at the VCA? How would you describe a typical day or week?

Studying at VCA is fun, classes are usually research and critique class; a beautiful blend between analysing your own art practice and critiquing other people’s art practice.

A typical day begins with saying “hi” to the same barista who knows your order, followed by a stroll through campus, waving or chatting to classmates, teachers, and other faculty members. Finally, when you reach your studio to start creating art you begin chatting to the people walking by your studio. Lots of talking, but it’s all a part of the creative atmosphere!

What’s been your favourite experience?

Any time we got to critique someone’s artwork in class. It may not look like it, but crit class is a unique team-building exercise. Not only are we looking at a beautiful piece of artwork and discussing it for up to an hour, but everyone is slowly getting to know each other. At the start of the course, everyone is unfamiliar with each other but over time, we come to understand and respect our fellow peers, gaining an insight into their art-making process and how they navigate the art world.

What inspires you and your creative practice?

My culture and humour. I enjoy starting from a familiar place because it allows me to explore different possibilities, merging humour with my culture. It’s a bit like the “know the rules so you can bend them” approach.

What advice would you give to someone considering your program of study?

To recognise the wide variety of networking opportunities, artist talks, and workshops available to VCA students. I recommend attending some of these events – they’re incredibly helpful and contribute significantly to developing your skills.

How do you feel connected to your industry through your studies?

I feel connected to my industry primarily through my studies, especially with the teachers. They are incredibly talented, experienced, and possess a much deeper understanding of the industry. They are great people to talk to for advice on practically everything within the industry. I’m genuinely grateful for the knowledge I’ve gained through conversations with them.

What are your goals for the coming years? 

To expand on art practice and exhibit my work in galleries more frequently. By building upon that, I aim to achieve another goal, which is to have my work exhibited internationally one day.

What do you think a “career” for a creative looks like?

A “career” for a creative is never one thing. You continually develop additional skills to broaden your practice. For instance, you might be a sculptor and learn film editing to share your work on social media. Or a painter, acquiring graphic design skills enabling you to translate your artwork into the digital realm. Being a creative is never boring, I’ll tell you that much.

Can you tell us a little bit about any recent exhibitions or projects you’ve been working on, for instance the Keep the Wilin Burning project you were involved with?

Keep the Wilin Burning is an AR project I worked on. I was given an audio concept to work around. It was my first time interacting with AR, and I didn’t know the possibilities or limitations, but I was up for the challenge. I knew I wanted to create something that was colourful and bright, so the work was very much inspired by Alice in Wonderland, with its vibrant colours and wild creations. •

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