Case Studies

 We are grateful to those who are already supporting our students by creating opportunities for them to develop their practice and gain practical industry experience. Below are testimonies from some of the students who have received funding from our donors.

Jennifer Skellett Award

Catherine Chapman, 2014 winner:

"I returned to Bath Spa University to pursue my MMus qualification. I was able to do this due to receiving an award from Jennifer Skellett to continue my education. The more involved I become in my education the less I ever want to leave. Education is such a wonderful part of our Western society. I feel very lucky and grateful that these opportunities are open to me."

You can find out more about Catherine and her work on her blog, which you can access here


Sophie Batchelor, 2014 winner:

Below is an extract from the letter that Sophie wrote to Jennifer to thank her for selecting her. You can read the full letter here.

"This trimester has been very busy at times so far. To give you some sort of idea of our weekly timetable, I would like to describe an average week to you. On Mondays I travel to Bristol with my lecturer for a gamelan rehearsal. I joined Bristol Community Gamelan when I was in second year as a place became available to play at a wayang (puppet show) in York. Id never experienced a real Indonesian puppet show before, so playing at one for the first time was amazing. The dancers costumes were beautiful and the detail on the puppets was fascinating. The puppet show went on until about four in the morning and the groups rotated so we could all have a rest. Many new compositions were played where Western instruments were used alongside the Indonesian instruments. Attending this wayang definitely provided a huge boost to my enthusiasm for gamelan as the music was so wonderful. As a direct result of hearing new compositions I then wrote two of my own pieces for gamelan and the Western flute. Attending Bristol gamelan has improved my playing and has made me keen to learn more. There is a termly fee for attending but receiving the Jennifer Skellett award has helped me fund this so I am very grateful."

The Porthleven Prize

Below is a message from Emily Furnell, one of the winners of the 2014 Porthleven Prize. To see more of Emily's work please see her website.

Emily Furnell: My Experience at Porthleven


Firstly, I would like to thank Trevor Osborne and his assisting body, including Rosie Hughes, who was a huge help whilst we were in Porthleven. Also, a big thank you to Naomi, Dan and Angela, for their help organising the residency, and I would also like to extend my thanks to Helen and Kate at the o3 Gallery for their professionalism and brilliant job curating the exhibition. Below, I have written a synopsis of my experience during the residency:
My experience of the residency was nothing short of pleasure. The environment itself, coupled with its beneficial influences on my work resulted in 10 days well spent. The community played a large part in my experience; if it is the people that make a place, Porthleven is made. The warm atmosphere of a collective that tie themselves to the same roots made me understand Porthleven in a way that may have otherwise been neglected. Jennifer and I visited a couple that have lived in there a lifetime, where a real sense of community accompanied detailed personal accounts of its transience over the years.


This notion of transience guided work I made, where each piece had interconnections through the transmutation of materials imbued with a sense of Porthleven’s history. I became preoccupied with making embossed rubbings of memorial plaques, particularly those relating to Guy Gibson, the head of the 617 Dam Busters squadron, and a figurehead of Porthleven’s best. The letter graphics from these rubbings were then transferred into negative casting imprints, in clay that Sae and I had tunnelled from a riverbed in Helston. The letters were then cast in lead which came from a rooftop along the harbour side that had been lashed during the January storms. The letters spelled out the words that had invested my knowledge of a successful knot during the launching of a vessel I’d made into the ocean. This was whilst I filmed its anamorphic role on a boat journey, where I was seduced by Cornwall’s magnificent coastline, jewelled with copper and graphite that had once been harvested during the mining boom in the late 1800s. “Two half inches will hold Queen Mary”, Oscar had said to me, whilst fixing the loop. It was only after I’d completed casting that one of the metalworkers, who had assisted me, corrected my mistake. It wasn’t inches at all; it was ‘hitches’. No wonder it had seemed a little strange that the loops Oscar was fixing looked bigger than an inch.


But there it was; my folly concretised in letterform forever.


This idea of miscommunication filtered into other work, where I retrieved copper alloy pots and other found ephemera with unknown origins, and hooked one to an electrical charge in my tank of alchemical substances. This resulted in the stripping of its provenance into particles, transferred to another object. I documented this process in film, now archival footage of the transition taking place. The sense of the unknown was supported by using methods I hadn’t before. Porthleven’s elements provided the foundation for new processes; I used salt water from the harbour to wash cyanotype images and traces of residue and salt crystallisation appeared, intrinsically linking them to the place. A large cyanotype was then flown from the tip of the central flagpole on the harbour’s edge, emblematic of a town patriotic to its own. Collaborative psycho-geographic and pre-ordained walks, also allowed me to notice minutiae that is often overlooked. By filming these from personal perspectives, it showed each individual’s understanding of a space is unique, through fleeting moments in space and time. These walks were mapped in the studio, where interplay between each of our ideas developed the work naturally, and supported the collaborative nature that the residency intends to encourage. Helston’s historic flora day was a pleasant end to the experience, where dancing and singing manifested Cornish culture, and my work had been significantly influenced by the experience I had there.
Above all, my experience was both insightful and influential, sweetened only by the richness of cultural memory I delivered home, and that sense that I may have become even a small part of Porthleven.

Enterprise Showcase Fund

Many of our students, particularly those in creative, performance, cultural and heritage fields, fund their own end of course exhibitions, performances and events, whether here at Bath Spa University or at industry graduate showcases. A great example of these activities is the undergraduate fashion students showing their work at Graduate Fashion Week in London. The video below shows the 2014 show, which saw graduate Grace Weller win the Womenswear and the George Gold Awards (the second time in three years that Bath Spa University picked up the top prizes).

Course leaders work with students to help them manage these costs, so they have the best opportunity of getting their work in front of employers and the public to demonstrate their talent and expertise.

With your help we would like to grow the Enterprise Showcase Fund, which will provide matched funding grants to support these endeavours. Grants awarded to students from the fund will only be unlocked when they have matched them £1 for £1. The aim is to encourage students to be entrepreneurial and enterprising in staging exhibitions, producing publications or presenting at conferences, which in turn will give them a real insight into funding their own work, which is increasingly important in the creative and cultural sectors.

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International Travel Fund

Our aim is to embed global perspectives in our curriculum to enhance students’ international awareness and firmly place them in the worldwide employment market.

Donations in support of the International Travel Fund will allow undergraduate and postgraduate students to take up international business placements, go on research trips and study abroad.

Support more students to broaden their academic and personal development - Donate Now

Annabelle Hoyle
BA (Hons) International Education, 2014

"My four weeks in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia was a two-fold journey of academic and personal development. Having studied International Education it was the most valuable experience to validate all the information fed to me during lectures and seminars based around sub-Saharan education. During the four weeks I was able to appreciate the difference between the education systems within the country (private to community schools) as well as draw out comparisons to the UK; an extremely valuable tool for future academic assessments and class contributions. I have been able to share my experiences in class debates and activities and validate arguments and make sense of my learning, which has enhanced my education experience back home.

From a personal perspective, I have not only developed an appreciation for what I am so fortunate to have but also admire the culture I was surrounded by in Zambia. What was at first a rather intimidating and different environment very soon became home and a place of smiles, play and enjoyment. Children both in schools and in our surrounding area were so appreciative of our time as volunteers and teachers and learned a lot from us too. It was a two way learning relationship as they too discovered and were fascinated by things about UK culture.

Thanks to the Bath Spa University International Travel Fund, in late March this year I was able to put my plans of travelling to Jordan into action."

Edward Low
BA (Hons) Photography, 2015

"Za’atari Refugee Camp is situated a few Kilometres south of the Syrian border, and as a result of the civil war in Syria, is home to over 80,000 refugees. As a third year photography student, I planned to document the daily life in the camp with the hope to produce a book of portraits. I had seen many news reports coming from the camp, but I wanted to produce a body of work that is intimate with its subject. Not just to simply observe, but to interact and extract.

When I started university, I did not expect, in my third year, to be driving towards a small patch of desert that is very much in the world stage. During my time at the camp I met with many refugees, and heard many stories of heartbreak and tragedy. I had been preparing myself for this, but what I had not expected, was the sheer resilience of the Syrians. When I left the camp on the first day, instead of feeling emotionally shifted as I had expected, I felt humbled to have met such incredible people.

Working within Za’atari was certainly a challenge, not only the searing heat of the desert, but also the stress of having to be constantly vigilant due to security reasons. As well as dealing with huge crowds, which come when, a camera appears. One must also be incredibly cautious where he points his camera. Many dislike having their photo taken for fear of the Syrian Regime locating them.

If anything, I’ve learnt an incredible amount about the way journalists/ photojournalists work first hand. Not just physically, but also the red tape that surrounds it. An awful lot of planning went into this project, including having to meet with Jordan’s International Media and Press Director in order to obtain a press pass. When you work alongside professionals such as these, professionalism seems to naturally come to you. I found myself in the shoes of a photojournalist.

Many NGO’s are working tirelessly to ensure there is adequate care and shelter at the camp. But the international community appears to have all but forgotten about the Syrian’s plight. In the absence of much needed funding, we must ask, Where Is The World?"

Student Experience Fund

Being at university is about getting a rounded experience to take forward into life. The Student Experience Fund provides support for students who have the passion and commitment to volunteer, work in the community, start-up social enterprises or take part in extra-curricular clubs and societies.

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“Bath Spa were a great help to us supplying us with funding last year as it certainly made people feel more confident about coming as polo isn't a cheap sport! Everyone had an excellent time and we all loved representing the university!” - Lisa Smith

My expedition was one of the best experiences of my life, has taught me a lot about the world, about myself and has geared me toward a future career in animal research”. - Nathan Proudman