Scholarship helps Iona to graduate with award-packed CV and her dream job

Iona Stock

BA (Hons) Glass and Ceramics graduate Iona Stock, from York, received the Futures Fund Excellence Scholarship two years running, and the Mike Davis Innovation Scholarship, as well as graduating with a First Class honours degree last summer. Iona has now crowned her successes with a role as a working artist, working with artists Joanna Howells and Richard Heeley.

Iona came to Sunderland because it is one of the few universities to offer both glass and ceramics.

She said: “The most enjoyable thing about studying at the University of Sunderland has been the availability, amount of attention and time the tutors and support staff are able to give to each student. They created a really lovely supportive atmosphere to create artwork in.

“There was a really close-knit community within the course, and real freedom within the studio space - pre-lockdown.”

The arts have been in the spotlight lately, with the Government recently announcing £1.57 billion for the arts to combat the impact of Covid-19. Iona has exemplified how many young artists have risen to the challenge of Covid-19, completing her final assignments in lockdown, and taking part in the University’s virtual Degree Show, for which she won the Sunderland Glass and Ceramics Society Best in Degree Show prize.

Iona used the money she received from the Mike Davies Innovation Scholarship to buy a professional camera and stand to be able to take photos of her artwork. That allowed her to update her website, fully participate in the Online Degree Show, create an online place to sell her work and create process videos, among others.

The Sunderland graduate is thankful to the Mike Davies Innovation scholarship, as having the new equipment allowed her to create good quality online content that opened up new opportunities for networking and boosted her employability. 

She said: "Due to the current situation, artists are becoming more aware of the importance of a strong online presence because that is the main way in which craft work is being viewed rather than physically. Artists are setting up subscription style access to instructional design videos and starting to take advantage of online platforms to create strong networking links and also a wider audience base. This equipment has enabled me to become a part of this new exciting movement and will set me in good stead for when the pandemic is over."

She concluded: "I would like to say thanks to Mike Davies for setting up the scholarship. I would also like to thank the DOSH office for their support and for picking me for the scholarship. Thank you very much."


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