Name: Lizzie Watson
Graduated: BA History of Art
Company: Dulwich Picture Gallery
Occupation: Exhibitions Officer
After graduating in 2008 from the BA History of Art with a year studying in Australia, Lizzie, originally from Kent, spent some time gaining work experience within the museums sector. She is now an Exhibitions Officer at London's Dulwich Picture Gallery.
Tell us about your career to date
I currently work as an Exhibitions Officer at Dulwich Picture Gallery (DPG), London and also work independently as an artist. At DPG I have curated Ragamala Paintings from India: Poetry Passion Song, the first ever exhibition on the subject. I'm also working on an exhibition of Andy Warhol. In the past, I've worked as an Exhibitions Assistant at DPG, and prior to that, at the Serpentine Gallery in London. Before moving there, I worked as an intern at the Sainsbury Centre, Norwich Castle Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
What was it like studying at UEA?
I can't think of a better place to study the history of art than in the Sainsbury Centre, which holds one of the best collections of art in the country. The teaching was fun and always encouraged modern thought on what art is, especially in a global context, which I still reflect on now. Studying at the University, I had the opportunity to curate a show of BA students' work during the Master's graduation show, which was a unique opportunity, and no doubt influenced my career path.
What did you learn from your year abroad?
It made me more confident and adventurous. I studied painting at Sydney College of the Arts as well as art theory at the main campus, Sydney University. I had the fabulous opportunity to indulge in both practical and theoretical art-making. As well as learning to sail, I was even brave enough to ask the Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Australia, who I had only just met, for an internship! My confidence paid off, as I worked at the MCA for six months on a show of Latin American contemporary art and I wrote about it for my final year dissertation.
Why did you decide to study at UEA?
It was very important to me to study on an interdisciplinary course that looked at art from around the world and UEA was the best one on offer. The opportunity to study in Sydney was an added bonus.
Has your course helped you in your career so far?
It has particularly helped when it came to curating the Ragamala exhibition. I worked with three scholars, one formerly Head of Asian Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Robert Skelton, as well as Anna Dallapiccola, who has previously written for the British Museum. They wanted fresh eyes on the subject to communicate the seemingly abstract concept of ‘ragamala' to the general public, which is where I came in.
I think the way I approached the subject was very much influenced by my education to look at objects in their cultural context. This was such a unique opportunity and it made me very proud to be associated with it.
What is your most memorable moment at UEA?
Having an exhibition of the artwork I made while at Sydney College of the Arts, on show in the Sainsbury Centre.
What advice would you give to new students?
Make sure you enjoy yourself and don't worry too much. Also, have a think quite early on about the kind of job you might want. I found that the best way to experience different specialisms was to gain work experience through internships, and this helped me focus my career interests.