Creative Arts and Industries student stories
Ben Satterthwaite, Architecture
Ben is a graduate of the Bachelor of Architectural Studies and Master of Architecture (Professional). He’s working as an Architectural Graduate at JTB Architects Ltd.
Both the BAS and MArch(Prof) challenged the traditional narrative that architecture is limited to buildings and bridges.
“During my studies, I was consistently afforded freedom of choice. Both the BAS and MArch(Prof) challenged the traditional narrative that architecture is limited to buildings and bridges."
“What I do as an Architectural Graduate depends on the projects I am involved in, and what stage they’re at. At the moment, I’m engaged with a large-scale aged-care project, a new residential build and a miniscule alteration. I could be drawing details, producing renders, iterating a developing design, or coordinating with engineers and other consultants."
“Long term, I’m looking to transition into film and/or video game development. You would be surprised how malleable the skillset of an architect is. Our skills aren’t grounded in mere reality; we’re equipped to design entirely new worlds, stories and structures that are unbound by city councils or building codes, all while drawing on our learnt knowledge of design process, history and technology."
Making a positive impact
“As an architect, you’ll learn to shape the world around you. You’ll contribute to structures that, with any luck, will endure for centuries. That legacy isn’t without weight; our contribution to the planet ₋ environmentally and physically – is significant. I see our profession as one that has the opportunity to truly change the world we live in.”
Grace Leong, Dance
Grace is studying for her Bachelor of Dance Studies.
I love moving, but I wanted to see just how wide dance studies could be outside of that.
“I’ve been a dancer since I was little. I love moving, but I wanted to see just how wide dance studies could be outside of that. I hope this qualification can take me to postgraduate study, perhaps somewhere like China or South Korea."
Support in planning my future
“Dance Studies is so open and friendly. If I ever have any queries or just want to make sure of something, there are people I feel comfortable talking to. I’ve found people who have done postgraduate studies in areas that interest me. It’s been so easy to talk with them to help plan my future. Everyone here wants to see you succeed."
The challenges have increased my confidence
“I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone so many times, which is important for someone like me who might settle with ‘comfortable’. I’ve become more confident in myself and my abilities.
“I really enjoyed a course called Dance History and Contexts because it was such an interesting exploration of both practical and theoretical work. It’s like that with a lot of the courses."
Clubs and facilities
“But it’s not all about study. I love all the clubs there are! I found the KPop Planet club, which is perfect for me! I’ve made so many new friends through the club. There’s so much extracurricular support like gym facilities, counselling and cheap physiotherapy (especially important for me).”
Marco de Kretser, Design
Marco is studying for his conjoint Bachelor of Design/Bachelor of Science, majoring in Environmental Science.
I love how the programme is pushing me to think about global issues in the context of problem-solving rather than problem-finding.
“The Design programme’s focus on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals was a big drawcard for me. It’s not just about designing pretty things. We need solutions to the growing number of crises happening on our planet. I love how the programme is pushing me to think about global issues in the context of problem-solving rather than problem-finding.”
My main project
“The big project that I’m working on at the moment is called The Future of X, where we undertake research into a field of design of our own choice, interview experts in the field and from that, create our own unique insight into the area.
“I am looking at sustainable biomimicry; it’s basically tapping into nature’s evolution – 3.8 billion years of reiterations and redesigns – to inform solutions to our problems. I am less interested in using biomimicry to inspire form and material, rather looking into the different processes that make nature infinitely sustainable and how to learn from them to design systems of our own.”
A focus on process
“The most useful thing I’ve learned on the course so far is ‘process’. We don’t just learn how to design, we learn why to design, what to design and who to design for. It’s taking a step back and saying we must figure out why we are even doing this in the first place by making informed and considered decisions. For decades to come, I can see myself referring back to the processes and models I’m learning this year.”
Nikau Hindin, Fine Arts
Nikau is studying for her conjoint Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours)*
I learned to justify and consider all my decisions in order to create really robust practice.
“I knew Elam was going to be challenging for me because I had a traditional training in art. I learned that there are seriously no boundaries in art and to accept all forms and moments in art. I learned to justify and consider all my decisions in order to create a really robust practice that still has plenty of room to move forward. I’m comfortable enough in my own practice that I don’t mind operating on the periphery or defining my own path.”
“A conjoint gives you breathing space to explore ideas and develop them in other ways that aren’t producing an ‘art’ outcome. I loved my BA in Māori Studies and Media, Film and Television. It pushed me to research and write, which is the core of an art practice. I found it fulfilling and interesting, it really complemented my time at Elam.”
Sharing my art internationally
“Learning how to beat aute and working out how to paint on it has been the highlight of my career. I’ve exhibited in Hong Kong and I’ve been invited to participate in the Kathmandu Triennale. I’ve had collectors purchase my work, but creating the first piece of art someone buys in their life is a special feeling too.”
Follow your heart
“If you know in your heart that you are an artist, honour yourself and go to art school. If you know you are a creative thinker, then art school is the place for you.”
*The School has now replaced its Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) degree with a new Bachelor of Fine Arts, which includes 11 conjoint options.
Eddie Liu, Music
Eddie has graduated with his Bachelor of Music in Popular Music. He’s Director of EDYONTHEBEAT, as well as a producer, manager, songwriter, and sound engineer.
We took a concept and criteria and wrote together in a short timeframe. That’s stressful, but exactly how things are in the real world – so if you cope during those lectures, you can feel very confident for the future.
“Our final exams were actually a favourite of mine! We got to organise, arrange and direct a full-on performance. That challenged me all-round, and I drew upon skills I’d never used previously. During regular classes, I really enjoyed the ‘break out’ collaborative sessions. We took a concept and criteria and wrote together in a short timeframe. That’s stressful, but exactly how things are in the real world – so if you cope during those lectures, you can feel very confident for the future.”
Rehearsal spaces and assignments
“The rehearsal and studio spaces were another highlight. I was in there almost every day working on projects and collaborating. I won’t shy away from the fact that I’m actually a bit of a geek. I found the music analysis assignments extremely satisfying. The idea of writing essays was a bit spooky, but those assignments changed the way I perceived and experienced music.”
My gap year
“I took a gap year in 2018 and chased the music grind in Australia, freelancing and working with Warner Music. Since graduating, I’ve branched out further internationally, mixing and co-producing. And I’m now manager for another BMus graduate, JARNA. She’s come so far so quickly!”
“I want to give back to the next generation of talented musicians, so I decided to pursue a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching. The music industry is evolving at a rapid pace. Our young musicians deserve to know what it’s really like, and what skills are most beneficial.”
Charlie Tseng, Urban Planning
Watch Charlie talk about his experience as a Bachelor of Urban Planning (Honours) student.
In particular, he describes how his studies with us made him highly employable.