Elisha Hughes is a former participant is the AHEH project and one of two Fine Art graduates from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) to have won places on the Artists Benevolent Fund’s Step Change Fellowship Programme. The programme provides sponsorship funding to help graduates who have experienced disadvantages through social, economic or cultural circumstances to help to launch, sustain and develop their careers as fully committed artists.
We asked Elisha about what this opportunity means to her and how her involvement with the AHEH project has contributed to her success.
Can you introduce yourself and provide a brief summary of your practice and interests?
Hello, I’m Elisha and I have just graduated from the fine art degree at Swansea College of Art. My art practice is influenced by the things I encounter; a piece of text, a drawing, the everyday. I am currently interested in responding to the context of time and documentation. It is important for me to explore and to work in a variety of ways as the materials I use change as ideas evolve. I want to create a dialogue between my response, process and ideas.
Congratulations on securing a graduate fellowship at Swansea College of Art, UWTSD. What is the fellowship offering that you think will be of most value or help to you?
Thank you! The fellowship offers so many opportunities but I would say ultimately the generous studio space, support network and the grant. All of these have enabled me to dedicate time to my practice and research. The grant has had a life changing experience. it’s created options for me to professionally develop my work. I bought my dream camera as soon as I had it – it’s still a bit of a shock and I don’t think I’ve processed it!
What are you hoping to achieve this year and how will the fellowship support you in this?
This year I want to simply grab opportunities, curating exhibitions, collaborating, building up confidence. In addition to focusing on research and a body of work. Being situated in the university with amazing links around me makes these things possible.
A year on, how have your experiences with the AHEH project influenced you?
The AHEH project was the first time I had been outside of the UK. Working in a team with people speaking different languages, discussing experiences and cultures was extremely insightful, this has fed into my practice. I think something about collaborating with people opens up these different modes of thinking. I hope to use some of my fellowship money to travel and take in different surroundings to explore these different perspectives in my work.
How do you think your involvement with the AHEH project has affected your confidence to take a chance on new opportunities?
Massively, if you had told me a few years ago I would have stood up in front of a group of professionals and individuals all across Europe I wouldn’t have believed you! I believe that it just takes courage to apply for opportunities like my fellowship and AHEH. Although I have taken a lot from these opportunities I also want to give back, I am now leading a group of young people and I hope to pass on my experiences and show them that anything is possible with a little bit of courage. I am extremely grateful and I will carry these experiences with me forever.
Where can we see more examples of your artworks and follow your progress?
Head over to my Instagram elisha__hughes or Axisweb https://www.axisweb.org/p/elishahughes/
Thank you Elisha for your thoughtful, considered and inspiring responses to our Q&A. We wish you every success in your chosen career path and look forward to following your professional progression.