Sculpting A Career In Art

Will Hughes 01

It has been said before that art isn’t a result, it’s a journey. For Will Hughes, a 26-year-old artist and maker, the journey through art has already taken them to incredible places; professionally, emotionally and physically.

Now, through the help of an interest-free education loan courtesy of The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, Will, from Market Overton in Rutland, is continuing his journey on all fronts. With the funding received from the charity, Will is studying for his Masters in Fine Art at Northumbria University.

“My sculptural practice talks about queer themes and the body through experiences,” explains Will, who completed his undergraduate degree at Bath Spa University before enjoying a year-long studio fellowship at Spike Island in Bristol.

“I decided that now was the right time to study for my Masters in Fine Art. I wish to expand my cultural knowledge on, and around, the subject of identity politics. In doing so, I want to continue to make physical work and explore where my practice is moving to.”

Will’s ambition is to become established as a practicing artist who displays work both nationally and internationally, whilst Will also harbours the ambition of doing a PhD and teaching at degree level.

'Try to kill it all away, but i remember everything'One of the key features of a Sir Thomas White Loan Charity education loan is that successful applicants are not restricted to studying within Leicestershire. Provided that applicants have been residents in Leicestershire or Rutland for three or more years, borrowers may use their funding if successful to study anywhere in the world. For Will, there were a number of reasons why Northumbria was the number one choice.


“I wanted to study with BxNU, which is a combined course between Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and Northumbria University,” says Will. “It’s the only course in the country linked to a gallery institution. I also wanted to study there because of the space students are provided for their studio. It also helped that the cost of living is so much lower up there than it is further south.

“I am using the money from my Sir Thomas White loan to pay for the Masters programme, as the government loan doesn’t cover all of the costs of the Masters,” Will continues. “The remainder with be used to fund the making of work while I’m on the Masters.

“It was great to know I could study anywhere in the country,” they add. “The fact that the charity provides loans to individuals for non-traditional academic courses was a huge plus. The application process was rather straight-forward and when I did get confused, I was able to email any questions to the charity which were answered swiftly.”

'I Wish I Was Amanda LeporeWill’s path as he continues the journey certainly seems bright. Having enjoyed success already, Will’s is a name to watch out for in future.

“I was awarded the Kenneth Armitage Sculpture Prize and the fellowship at Spike Island after I graduated from Bath Spa,” reveals Will. “Through both of those, I was able to continue practicing as an artist and built on my degree. I was offered a solo show at the Roper Gallery in Bath, which gave me a platform to show the work I had produced whilst on the fellowship and the financial award of the sculpture prize.”

Meanwhile, Will’s advice to likeminded others is simple.

“Don’t be discouraged if you’re from a low-income background like me,” Will insists. “Also, don’t be discouraged by the idea of paying back the sum. You have seven years to pay it back, which makes it manageable. Just make sure you’re using the money to do something you whole-heartedly believe in.”

For more information on The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free education loans, please click here.