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Posted 24.11.17

Talking international study with Erasmus+ student Susana Gomez-Lain

By Kat Peberdy

Painting, Drawing and Printmaking students participate in life drawing sessions as part of their degree

Through our Erasmus+ programme, students are able to study in a European partner university for between three and twelve months as part of their degree course. Our partner institutions offer opportunities for students across a wide range of disciplines, based across Europe from Budapest to Berlin, Cyprus and Reykjavík.

Originally from a small village called Altea in Spain, criminal lawyer turned fine art student Susana Gomez-Lain initially travelled to Plymouth as part of an Erasmus+ placement during her final year of study at Miguel Hernández University of Elche.

Fast-forward to today, and she’s currently studying for her Masters in Drawing here at Plymouth College of Art, after choosing to stay at the college to complete her studies.

We catch up with Susana to hear about her experience studying abroad, and her hopes for the future.

How did you hear about the Erasmus programme?

I heard about the opportunity from an email that was sent to all the students at Miguel Hernández University. It was so easy to apply for a place, you just choose your three favourite universities from the list of partner institutions and express your interest in the exchange with a letter that details your skills and you can also include any foreign language diplomas you have.

Sculptural piece 'The Oppression' by Susana Gomez Lain

What made you choose Plymouth as your destination?

Throughout my life, I had the opportunity to study and live in several places in England like London, Oxford and Penzance, so I already loved the country. Actually, I was once in Plymouth on a student trip at 16 years old and really enjoyed it.

Also, I thought that the weather will be milder in the South-West, and the stunning views, the sea and the wildlife also did their part. So I researched the college online and I liked very much what I saw.

What has been the highlight of your time at the college?

The whole year was a highlight! The workshops were creative and interesting. All the activities and trips were educational but also enjoyable, talks and seminars concerning different themes and issues prepared you for the practical and real world out there, giving valuable advice and tips that you don’t find in other places.

"The professors and lecturers were amazing, very open, helpful, comprehensive, a treasure. Stephen Felmingham and his team are outstanding."

I loved the interaction with lecturers, students and experts from other courses, and the opportunity to use other spaces and workshops was invaluable. I am very grateful to the wood and jewellery staff who helped me with my final project for my degree in Spain, as well as Stephen who provided me with some essential materials.

Sculptural piece made of wood and iron titled 'the good and the evil' by Susana Gomez Lain

Why did you choose to continue your study toward a Masters degree in Plymouth?

For the possibility of using the many varied facilities that the college has to offer, and also for the opportunity to complete the course part-time, using google classroom, emails and Skype as tools to communicate.

I have made some good friends here in the city and created my own microcosmos in Plymouth, which is foreign-friendly and that is also important to me.

Tell us about your practice and specialities.

Working as a criminal lawyer gives you quite a different vision in life; it can make you both pessimistic and optimistic about humanity. I try to express in my works the harshness of life, that we should accept that we all have to adapt to different situations in life and try to do the best of our stay on earth. Put in economic terms, we need to maximize earnings and minimize losses.

Figure drawing titled 'I feel naked without my glasses' by Susana Gomez Lain

At the moment my favourites ways of working are drawing and sculpture, but it could change in the future as I continue with my practice. I have to admit that the basis of my work often turns back to the classics though with somewhat contemporary features. I love mixed and new media, and fusing art and crafts but in a very subtle way.

For me, the word art is very broad and contains many disciplines, and is very much connected with nature, science and spirituality. In fact, I am currently collaborating on an audiovisual project called "Opera for a Planetarium" in Santander, which fuses music, art, physics, astronomy and a Planetarium - it is perfect for me.  

What's next for you?

I want to finish my MA Drawing here and get the best out of it, continue practising and collaborating in as many art projects as I can, and maybe in the future open a small place to run workshops and shelter people with artistic restlessness.

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