Get Natasha to the Royal College of Art

Help Natasha to get one step closer to her dream. #GetNatashaToTheRCA

Get Natasha to the Royal College of Art
  • £185

    pledged of £25,720

    • 4


    • 0


Completion Date: Wed 20 Apr 2016

I am trying to raise the £25,720  needed in order for me to be financially able to access the first year of my ma in photography at the royal college of art.

So who am i

Hello! My name is Natasha Dos Santos, I am 27 years of age and am fast approaching the end of my three year undergraduate degree. I am studying for my BA in Photography at Falmouth University (Cornwall, UK), which has been titled as the best university for creative arts in the UK, 

Planning for a future beyond my current degree, earlier this year I applied to study photography at postgraduate level and firmly set my heart on the MA in Photography course at The Royal College of Art (London, UK). Following my interview for the masters level course last month (a day where I spent no less than 10 hours on the road travelling from Cornwall to London and then back again) to my surprise resulted in having been successful in obtaining a place to study at the RCA this coming September! 

Unfortunately, celebrations have been very short lived as the reality of not being in a position where I am financially able to take up my place at the prestigious Royal College of Art has hit me like a tonne of bricks.

Although this year Student Finance England are introducing a new loan scheme for study at postgraduate level, the proposed maximum amount of £10,000 would only go a very small way towards my tuition fees (which are £19,000), let alone accommodation and being able to afford to eat! 

This is why I am asking you for YOUR support!

(All above images from my series After A Lover's Discourse - 2015)

My educational journey

It is no secret that over the years I, like many, have struggled with my mental health and this is something that has and continues to impact on my life greatly.

Although I had always known the differences between myself and the person sat next to me at my desk in school, it wasn't until I had made my way through the education system that my difficulties one day all came to a head. Unfortunately I was unable to complete my secondary education and was removed from the school education system aged just 15. By this stage I had already studied hard and even began to sit for the GCSE qualifications that ended up being cruelly snatched away from me. Following this I sadly became a target for bullying and struggled to maintain any friendships for the year that followed.

Going undiagnosed, I made the decision to throw myself into my hobbies and joined a local theatre school. Regaining my confidence through parental and peer support I was able to pick myself up and apply to study at college. I didn't meet the required criteria for my chosen course (or any course due to my lack of GCSEs) but after a short trial to 'prove myself' I studied hard for my BTEC in Performing Arts for the next two years. But alas, still aboard the roller-coaster of life all did not stay well and with my mental health rapidly on the decline, I again experienced the backlash of bullying that resulted in the confidence I had worked so hard to regain being stripped away from me yet again.

At this point, admitting to myself that I needed a little help, I reached out. Aged 18 I was diagnosed with severe social anxiety disorder alongside depression. The next few years passed by in a blur of GP visits, medication and psychiatric assessments which resulted in little more than a lot of people giving up on me. Crucial to pulling myself out from what felt like a bottomless black hole was the support of my family who at no point ever thought less of me or gave up the fight on my behalf (even though I had long given up the fight myself). 

The crucial turning point in my journey coincided with when I took an interest in photography and was gifted my very first camera; I found something to not only focus on but something I could pour all my energy into and it felt right. At this point I began to live again and even took up some short photography courses at my local Adult Education Centre. It was here that my interest in photography was nurtured and with some gentle encouragement I took the first steps towards the degree in photography that I am currently studying!

Why support me

The amount of personal hurdles that I have already overcome to just get to where I am today is something I am really proud of. As essentially a school 'drop-out' I have made up for my lack of qualifications with sheer determination and feel I have done incredibly well to achieve everything that I have in recent years. As a passionate practitioner of photography and visual art, the opportunity to study at postgraduate level at none other than the prestigious Royal College of Art (which has just this year been named as "the world's leading university of Art and Design") would not only be a dream come true but really beneficial to my development as an artist. I feel that studying at the RCA will really extend my practise into areas that I have not yet been able to fully explore. Although I have started experimenting with sculpture, installation and performance alongside my photographic work this last year of university, I would really like to push my ideas further at postgraduate level.

(Experimental sculptural study of the female form in ice - 2016)

Where will the money go

I am sure you are eager to know exactly where your money will be going at this point, so I have tried to break it down as best I can below. Ideally I'd be hoping to reach my full target by the end of this short campaign, however I have set a minimum target of £16,250 just in case. If any excess funds are raised beyond my initial target then these will be put towards funding the second year of my MA course (as again I will be needing further financial assistance if I am to complete my full two years of study at the RCA). 

So, here are the facts & figures:

Tuition Fees (Year 1) - £9,500 

Living Expenses (for 1 year in London) - £15,350 approx. 

PayPal Fees (at 3.5% applied to successfully funded projects) - £869.73

I have to officially accept or reject my offer of a place on the course by no later than 22nd April 2016 and for me to be able to take up the offer (as I'd truly love to) I have to be in a position where I am financially able to and can confirm so! So as you can see there is quite the sense of urgency to secure funds which is why I have taken to asking for YOUR help. 

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I just simply can not raise these sorts of funds in such a small amount of time all by myself and as much as I have the ongoing support of my family they can no longer offer any sort of financial aid; my parents (to whom I'll be forever grateful to) have already had the financial burden of topping up my finances over the last three years where my student loan has fallen significantly short during my undergraduate degree and between the 3 of us we have struggled. 

(Image above Untitled Heads (Andy) - 2016)


Just because I'll never be able to say thank you enough for the gift of education that this funding will provide for me, I have decided to offer some rewards as a personal thank you from me directly to you! No matter how big or small your donation is, I'd really like to give something back as a lasting symbol of my appreciation for your support. So please check those out over to the right!

Keep updated

Naturally I intend to post regular updates right here on this page about how my project is going, however to get yourself a little closer to the action you can also find me on the following social medias:

Twitter | @NatashaRoseDS

Facebook | GetNatashaToTheRCA

Instagram | @NatashaRoseDS_

Don't forget to give me a follow to keep up to date and remember to like, share and spread the word! Not forgetting to use the hashtag #GetNatashaToTheRCA too! 

Help me to make my family proud

I know it is a lot to ask but your donations are so much more to me than cold hard cash. Your donations symbolise support and an ability to not only empathise with my struggles but to care as much about my education as I do. When you donate, it is another way of saying that you believe in me and that is something that will forever resonate. 

Please however remember, that support materialises itself in more ways than one and that money is far from everything. Just sharing this project with everyone and anyone you know will go a long way to help, so do spread the word far and wide!

If you do feel you are able to contribute however, every donation be it large or small will be hugely appreciated! If enough people can believe in me to donate just £1, it could make all the difference to my future.  

Thank you.