Xhibit 2023; meet the selection panel - Minna Ellis


We'll be spending time in the coming weeks / months meeting our Xhibit 2023 selection panel- we've asked them three questions which unpack their thoughts on supporting emerging artists, staying focused, career and creative inspiration.

We continue our series with responses by Arts SU elected Central Saint Martins Sabbatical Officer Minna Ellis.

What thoughts / tips or ideas to do you have for emerging artists when trying to stay inspired and focused on their creative career.

Find your community and keep in touch with your peers. It's probably impossible to stay in touch with your entire course when you graduate, but keep creative conversations going with peers, mentors, even your old tutors- ask them to crit you! Go to your friends' private views, form art, film or music collectives with people who you're interested in and you can rely on. 

With studying at UAL and finding your creative group there, you may feel like you can only be successful if you stay in London. That is not the case. As long as you have a community (and it can be completely online if where you live is dry of creativity) you can succeed.

Image: 'All my clothes' Bas Jan Ader, 1970

?How can students best equip themselves for freelance creative work beyond university.

Don't make up a 5 year plan if you haven't already got one when you graduate. That's not how you worked during your studies, you completed one project and moved onto the next one- it's pretty much the same as a freelancer! 1 week or even 1 day plans work better.

Make your contacts while you're still studying. Be curious, speak to technicians on campus, at galleries, museums etc. Be frank, tell them you're interested in this type of work, ask how their journey in work led them to this job, ask if you can shadow them. If possible, try to be specific about what you're looking for. You don't necessarily have to be in a work placement to gain work experience. 

Learn how to write invoices. Learn about self employment and tax. Speak to the UAL Careers and Employability team, at whatever level of study. 

Dedicate time to creating a portfolio and a website, make it something you're proud of, that you are willing to show to potential employers.

When you start a new job, remember that you are already qualified to be there, but naturally there will always be new things to learn. Learning shouldn't hold you back from having confidence in your work.

Image: Broken Fall (geometric) Bas Jan Ader, 1971

?Can you name three creative people who have most inspired yourself and your practice.

Bas Jan Ader is the artist who has most inspired my practice. Although his life was shrouded in mystery and tragedy, his fascination with the Sublime has inspired my work and writing for years and I have taken elements of his performance work into my own. I also have to credit my BA fine art tutor Helena Goldwater who was instrumental to my time at CSM and everyone who made my film work possible: my partner, parents and friends who collaborated with me. Their contributions went a long way! 

Image: In search of The Miraculous, 1975

Find out more about Minna and the other three selection panellists: Xhibit (arts-su.com)