From life in Corner Brook to touring London
Brittney Hollett loved visits to London so much she decided to try life in the city — at least for a little while.
“My class would travel into London on average four times a week, spending at least eight hours enjoying exhibition/museum/gallery-hopping,” Hollett said.
Hollett is a student of Memorial University's Grenfell campus, but fell in love with the iconic city of London during trips there as an exchange student to Harlow, England.
“Studying Visual Arts at Harlow has been one of the all-time best experiences of my life,” Hollett said. “It has truly been a once in a lifetime opportunity. I actually applied for university at Grenfell mainly because of the Harlow program. [...] Harlow Campus has been really wonderful, accommodating, peaceful, and safe.”
Hollett currently lives in South East London with her boyfriend and some roommates. She has a few job prospects “lined up,” including potential graphic design work. “I plan on doing photography and working on my own new art portfolio. This is my first time out of school (except summers), so I'm really excited to finally get a chance to get involved in various job opportunities and build on my experience.”
Hollett's ancestry is Irish and English so she says she has “always had an affinity for the UK. I would be really happy living and working anywhere here, but London just happened to be the place where things lined up for me, plus I have been spending the majority of the last 3 months here so I've become interested. I really do love London though, there are just a lot of really great, interesting and creative people, as well as successful people here, and I love feeding off and being immersed in that sort of energy.”
Hollett and her classmates have used the exchange as an opportunity to see England, and, for some, Europe.
“I have been able to travel all over England, with my classmates going to Ireland and various parts of Europe: France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Greece. I have seen so many exhibitions, galleries, museums and more over the last 11 weeks. In between weeks of touring London we toured Bath, Bristol, Cambridge, St. Ives, Saffron Walden, and more.
Often when people travel they can come home and slowly forget the details of places they went. Hollett isn't worried about that because part of her homework during her exchange took care of that problem, she says.
“Part of my homework was to keep a log book and photo log of every field study day, so now I have complete documentation of my trip and critical analysis of everything I have seen and studied. This also acted as a personal journal and scrap book, which relates to the 'Crusty Pile' of found objects we had to keep as well, mostly containing countless pamphlets from places we have visited, but also a lot of keepsakes. “
While in Harlow, Hollett said it was a challenge to find time to be creative. She resorted to alternative methods of expression.
“Every day was so jam-packed there wasn't a whole lot of room for time-based creating, so this restriction made me more creative and forced me to think of how to use alternative art-making processes. Mine included drawing, creative writing, poetry, graffiti, installation, found object, performance, photography, collage, discussion, conceptual design, and sound. I took part in my first UK art exhibition, my third time in a group exhibition.
Hollett was impressed with the scholarship opportunities for studying abroad, and was a recipient of the Harlow Travel Scholarship.
“I received a Harlow Travel Scholarship this Spring semester which really helped a lot financially, although I have been saving up for two years. Sadly, I do know people from my class and other years who have not been able to come to Harlow Campus because of the cost. It's nice to know that there are some scholarships out there to help at least a bit.”
Hollett said experiencing other countries first-hand and taking advantage of international opportunities like exchange programs is more effective than just experiencing it online “because then students can be immersed in an entirely different learning environment, which will help form broader perspectives. We have looked at so many different art forms from many different decades.”
The Newfoundland artist was born in Clarenville, Newfoundland and grew up in Southern Harbour, “a small rural fishing community on the isthmus. After high school I went directly to live in Corner Brook and study Visual Arts at Grenfell Campus.”
Hollett has been living in England since April 27, but plans to return back to Newfoundland in mid-December for Christmas.