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Yukako Tanaka

Contemporary Art Summer School, 2017

The opportunity to study in London, surrounded by leading contemporary art galleries and museums, has been a valuable experience, and one that has had a significant impact on my work. My decision to attend the Contemporary Art Summer School at the Royal College of Art was cemented after visiting an open day. I had the chance to talk to professors, tutors and students, explore the studios and on-site facilities, and I witnessed first-hand the quality of education and the supportive learning environment.

The content of the Summer School was designed to draw out the qualities of each student, making the most of the three-week course. We were given a large atelier studio each, which was open from morning till late at night, supported by workshop staff with highly skilled technical knowledge, who were very supportive throughout our studio work.

This was my first experience of studio work, and the tutorials and group crits – held once or twice a week – were very effective in helping me to consider and expand new approaches to my subject matter and practice.

The lectures and film screenings by professors and tutors were very fulfilling, and provided us with a variety of content to stimulate our creativity. We were also given opportunities to delve deeper into the themes of our work through workshops and gallery tours, arranged according to students' interests and working practices.

Our visits to the British Museum’s Prints and Drawings collections and Senate House Library, which the RCA Summer School tutors shaped to focus on the themes of my work, were very effective for my research. These experiences were unique to London, with its historical and academic background.

A stand out moment of the Summer School was the exhibition in the RCA Gallery. I was overwhelmed by the sophisticated atmosphere and was honoured to install in one of the galleries that RCA MA, MPhil and PhD students use for their graduate shows.

For me, one of the greatest memories at the RCA was sharing time with classmates. There were 23 participants from diverse countries, cultures, ages and backgrounds. We talked about each other's works and art and also laughed a lot, with plenty of back and forth between each other's studios. The atmosphere was unforgettable, and we have kept in close contact with each other.

At the RCA Summer School, I expanded my possibilities dramatically, and experienced a gradual growth in my thinking. I’ve changed my attitude to my own production: thanks to the experience of working intensively in a short timeframe, I found I could create artworks more flexibly, and that was greatly influenced by the lectures and the supportive environment of tutorials with professors and tutors.

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"This intensive three-week experience has been a significant turning point in developing my career as an artist." Yukako Tanaka (Criticism & Curating Summer School, 2017)
Yukako Tanaka
Yukako Tanaka