Student Story: Lucy Hutchinson, Print, 2017–
When did you first hear about the RCA, and why did you decide to study here?
A lot of my friends had been to the RCA, so I had visited a few times and the Print facilities completely blew me away. My Print technician at Coventry said that if you’re going to do an MA in Print, the RCA is a great place to do it. Although my background is in Fine Art, specialising in screen print, most of my practice isn't traditional print work; I’m interested in video and socially engaged work and the Print Programme welcomes that openness. In addition, the access to traditional processes such as photo-etching has significantly impacted the way I make moving images.
Can you describe what it’s like studying at the RCA?
There’s a lot of contact time. We have crits and tutorials every few weeks. There never feels like there’s too much pressure, but there’s always something coming up. It’s a very supportive environment. The permanent and visiting tutors have been great, they’re really active artists. We’re able to shape and influence the Programme if we want by asking for different lectures and visiting tutors, which has been great.
How has your work or thinking developed while you have been at the RCA?
It’s given me the time to focus on my work in a way that I wasn’t able to before. Writing the dissertation was very useful in organising my thoughts in language and has helped me think and talk about my work. I have also worked with new mediums such as etching, metalwork and moving image which I wasn't doing before I came to RCA.
What is the mixture of students like, and what are the benefits of being in an international community?
We have people from all sorts of backgrounds: graphic design, fashion, finance, psychiatry, fine art, product design. There's also a great mix of nationalities and ages which brings an exciting combination of complementary and contrasting skills and mindsets.
What have you found to be the main differences between your expectation of studying at the RCA and the reality?
I didn’t arrive with some grand plan; I just wanted some time to work in a critical environment. I might have expected more time to just work on my practice, but there have been so many other things — lectures, writing projects, and things outside of the Programme — that have helped inform my work in different ways. I’ve learned so much and I can now do things that I couldn’t do before. The technical help has been great.
What have you found most rewarding about your time at the RCA?
Firstly, my peer group. But also the dissertation. I took it as an opportunity to find a new way to think and talk about what I’m interested in. Because it’s not a show or public facing, it’s not for anyone else but me, so there was this freedom to use it to write about whatever was most useful to my practice and it doesn't have to be purely academic either which was liberating.
What are your plans for this year, and what do you intend to do after you graduate?
In the short term, I’ve got the Graduate Show in the summer, and a residency at London College of Fashion where I’m collaborating with scientists from King’s College and students at LCF to produce images of the future, which will result in an exhibition at the London Design Festival. Longer term, I just want to continue the momentum I’ve gained; continue to get funding, continue to do residencies and see where my work takes me.
Do you have any advice for students who are applying to Print?
Make sure to research what you want to do, who are the tutors and what facilities will be made available to you and how will these benefit how you would like to develop your work. I don't think there is any pressure to do an MA straight after BA and I think previous experience more generally in the art world is a great benefit, it has been for me when undertaking my MA.
Find out more about MA Print at the RCA and how to apply.