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My name is Kirsty Leonard, and I’m an artist living in Glasgow.
I have recently been accepted to study for a master's degree in Aesthetics and Politics at the California Institute of the Arts, but I can’t afford to pay the tuition fees and living expenses.
Because I'll be an international student, I've found it very difficult to find sources for funding. Since the course is abroad, I am not eligible for student loans from the Scottish government, or a career development loan. I've also found it impossible to get a bank loan, as banks will only lend students who plan to stay in the U.K.
I have some savings of my own, and my family can contribute a little, but I still have a shortfall of £9,000. So my only option is to ask for your help. I don’t like asking for money, but if I don’t get your support, I will have to give up my place.
I graduated last year from the Glasgow School of Art with a first class honours degree in Sculpture & Environmental Art. I have recently been involved in several exhibitions and projects. You can visit my website here: www.kirstyleonard.com .
CalArts is one of the most highly regarded art schools in the world. The Aesthetics and Politics MA focuses on the relationships between contemporary artistic practices, politics and society. It involves deep consideration of the issues that motivate social engagement and commitment to social justice and sustainability. Students come from a diverse range of disciplines, including artists, curators, writers, architects and political activists, and often connect their theoretical or political research with possible applications in artistic practice. I would be in contact with a new group of peers, with whom I would develop a shared vocabulary and knowledge base. The school actively supports cross-disciplinary collaboration and experimentation, which means that I would also be able to learn alongside visual artists, dancers, actors and musicians. I have particular interest in the potential for theory and criticism in performance, and CalArts would be a wonderful place to explore these possibilities.
This vibrant student community is alongside the mentorship provided by regular meetings with excellent faculty, and the opportunity to hear from an exceptional program of visiting speakers. The chance to learn from and collaborate with a diverse new group of people will introduce perspectives that will lead me to unfamiliar ideas and materials, and broaden my understanding and knowledge in ways that I can’t predict before I start. This is such a great opportunity and I can’t let it go to waste! I can’t express how disappointing it would be if a lack of money was the only thing that stopped me.
Where will the money go?
Tuition fees in the U.S.A. have become notoriously expensive, and living costs in the Los Angeles area are very high.
I have been awarded a very generous merit-based scholarship, which covers most of the tuition fees. I have also been offered a job as a Teaching Assistant, which will pay around $5,500 a year. I have £7000 saved already, but my shortfall is £9,000 – and I need your help to get it!
Breakdown of costs for Academic Year 2017-18
Remaining tuition fees: £5,800
Rent and bills: £6,000
Cost of a car (including insurance and fuel costs): £3,500
Food and other living expenses: £3,000
Visa expenses: £600
Books and equipment: £300
Health insurance: £600
I am offering some great rewards, including some original works of art, to say thank you to everyone who donates. Please share this page far and wide! I’m so grateful for any support.
If you want to know more about the Aesthetics and Politics MA, you can see the course webpage here: https://criticalstudies.calarts.edu/programs/aesthetics-and-politics
If you want to see more of my work, my website is here: www.kirstyleonard.com .