At this point in time, I’m in my final year of BA Sculpture at Camberwell College. My journey with Shades of Noir officially started back in July 2016. I discovered Shades of Noir during Diversity Matters Awareness week back in April 2016, at the time I was supporting some of the events for Diversity Matters as part of the AGRUPA collective.
After attending these events I was interested in the open position and call out for Content Developers advertised over the summer and applied for the position. Since joining the team back in July 2016, my practice, work ethic, and interests have been constantly developing and expanding. Shades of Noir hasn’t just been an intrinsic programme to my practice, a platform for social justice, for students and staff representation and visibility, as well as an academic and careers resource (just to name a few). It has also been a family with intergenerational voices, experiences, and skills. A networked community of support, reassurance, advice and guidance.
I have established strong bonds, exchanged knowledge and skillsets with graduates, current students, staff, artists, practitioners, etc and have also grown and learnt immensely in past 6 months. More so than in the two first years on my current course. Shades of Noir has consistently challenged me, pushed me outside my comfort zone and has given me the confidence to present, perform and write about topics I had previously felt discouraged to, or was hesitant to engage in within my practice; either due to the lack of language or resources to navigate such topics or due to the lack of external encouragement or personal motivation, as at that time within my practice and course I had become quite uncertain and doubtful and would wonder if UAL was a space I belonged in at all.
Through Shades of Noir I’ve engaged with artists, industry professionals, cross-ual students, lead and supported events throughout UAL and other institutions such as Ravensbourne University. Not only has it played a huge role in shaping and guiding my own practice but also assisted in terms of critical analysis and understanding of my practice. Working within Shades of Noir has dramatically shaped my views and thoughts on my own identity and how I view myself in relation to others. We are all constantly learning together within this community, by working with other students across UAL from diverse disciplines and not just on my own, It has been a rewarding exchange of skills and knowledge, friendship and sisterhood.
I look forward to this new year with Shades of Noir, on its expansion, future projects and events coming up. It’s an exciting time and I’m grateful to be part of the change I want to see and would also like to thank Shades of Noir for its existence and for reminding me and others that whatever I do or pursue that we are enough.
‘‘I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.” -Gloria Anzaldua
Words by Tiffany Webster.