Graduating in 2016, Ellis McKeown talks about why he chose to study fine art at UCLan. “During my A Levels, I enjoyed studying art, leading me to initially wanting to study graphic design. I attended an Open Day at UCLan and after going to a talk about the course, I then realised I wanted to do something that gave you room to explore and experiment, and after a second visit to UCLan, I decided on the fine art course.”
Ellis missed his July graduation ceremony as he was away working in America, and has been busy since finishing his degree: “The day after my Degree Show in June I flew out to America to spend my fourth consecutive summer working at an American summer camp in Massachusetts. Due to the nature of my final year project, I became interested in transferring my creative skills into a different sector that was digital based. This led me to applying for the social media internships that UCLan offered, where I was successful and started a month later after my graduation ceremony in December 2016.”
When asked about his greatest achievement to date, Ellis talks about the years he has spent working at Crane Lake Camp, a summer camp in America. “Completing my fourth summer at an American summer camp has to be my greatest achievement. I worked my way up to becoming an area leader in Outdoor Education in the four years, meeting amazing people, making unforgettable memories and travelling to some wonderful places across America.”
Ellis decided to stay at UCLan for another year for his internship: “I am currently on a 48-week internship at UCLan as a Social Media, Digital and PR assistant working in the Marketing department. My role is to assist in the promotion of the University, including events, students and alumni, on social media accounts specifically within the Faculty of Culture and the Creative Industries.”
He continues: “During my final year project, I would regularly work with software such as Photoshop and Final Cut in order to edit photographs and videos that would form part of my Degree Show exhibition. The freedom within the fine art course was really appealing to me as I liked to explore new ways to be creative, finding that the best way for me was to go digital with my work.”
Ellis’ advice to anyone wanting to do something similar is simple: “Do something that you enjoy. I really enjoyed doing art, with a countless number of people always asking what I am going to get from that, job wise. It is what you make of it that counts, apply your skills in many ways, get experience any way you can, and just put yourself out there, you never know what could happen.
“The feel at UCLan has always been friendly and welcoming, and I believe this added to my time at University. It has taught me that you can do anything if you put the effort in; all you have to do is believe in yourself.”
Talking about his time as a student, Ellis tells us his lasting memories. “My lasting memories of UCLan has to be the people I have met, both on and off my course. Having lived with the same people for all three years and still being in contact just shows what an amazing experience you can have at university and how it can have a huge impact on your life.”