Sarah Hodge - BA (Hons) Fine Art and Art History graduate

Current employer: Self-employed

Current job title: Artist

Current location: Plymouth

“Go to every event, performance, talk, lecture, film, exhibition, and music venue going as you never know who you’ll meet or what conversation will spark a new line of work.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.

Before graduating, I began research and development into a new art project with LandWorks: a work-based training scheme which provides a supported route back into the community for prisoners and ex-prisoners. A year later, Arts Council England and the Plymouth Fund have provided funding, enabling the design and creation of a land art sculpture in collaboration with offenders and ex-offenders at LandWorks.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

By the end of my degree I was sure I wanted to create community-based art work as a living, and was lucky enough to have the support of LandWorks and my tutors in order to realise this. The work load was full-on; for the first year I worked full time at Carpenter Oak as a marketing assistant, volunteered with LandWorks for one day per week, and worked on research and development, proposals, and concept drawings most evenings and weekends.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The most difficult thing has been the pressure of being responsible for other peoples’ wages, coping with the steep learning curve of how to manage large budgets, and keeping projects on time and within budget have all been difficult but educational.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

The current project which I am working on is certainly the most fun. It was only two days ago that a prisoner on day release taught me how to arch weld strips of steel together to create leaf-shaped windows for the sculpture – for him it was the first time he was involved in creating artwork.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Say yes to everything, especially if it scares you. However, I still manage to have a healthy social life, go on holiday, etc. I think it’s important to keep that side of your life in balance with work commitments.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

The tutors were incredible: namely Steve Berry who put me in touch with LandWorks in the first place and helped to develop my practice; Sarah Bennet, who has been a mentor since my second year; and Chris Cook, who helped to secure funding from the Plymouth Fund.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

I loved the big studio spaces available at the University, meeting lots of interesting people, and seeing so many free talks, films, and performances through Peninsula Arts. I had such great experiences on the course and on campus.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

Go to every event, performance, talk, lecture, film, exhibition, and music venue going as you never know who you’ll meet or what conversation will spark a new line of work.