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Case Study: Anna Grayson

Personal details
Degree:BSc Geology Profile picture
School(s): School of Geography and Geosciences
Year of Graduation:Jun-1974
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: Self employed
Job title: Artist (formerly writer and broadcaster)
Occupational Sector: Art
What has been your route to getting your current position?
I worked for very many years in the media, mainly as a BBC presenter and writer
What does your job involve ?
I have a studio attached to my house and I also use the smallest bedroom as an office - there is a lot of office work in any business, and creative industries are no different!! I work in a variety of media but at the moment I am best known for my photography. I have a big ongoing project making photo-pastiches of famous works of art. I also enjoy working in ceramics - and this medium has a great deal of transferable knowledge and understanding from my degree.
What are the best bits of your job ?
Opening the kiln after a successful firing. The "reveal" the first time a photo is printed. I've had a few achievements such as awards and in recent times getting into high profile exhibitions and that is a fantastic feeling.
Why were you successful?
The cross-curricular opportunities at St Andrews have been a great foundation for my career. Getting into the BBC as a studio manager and working my way up, continually learning new skills and being open to new opportunities helped my career in the media. After the creativity of writing, making radio programmes and film-making, art turned out to be a natural progression and not the great leap from science CP Snow would have had you believe!
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
Observation -learning to use your eyes, and then your brain to record and communicate observations. An understanding of materials (such as clay, glazes, pigments etc). Basic physics is handy with photography and with life in general, frankly. Getting involved with the arts on an extra-curricular level was invaluable.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
My career has been very tough at times, particularly when I was writing and making programmes about Geology - the attitude of the Geological Society of London was shameful towards women, and totally unhelpful. The Society of Authors on the other hand have been amazing and I'd recommend them on the writing side. The kind of advice they give has been applicable to setting myself up as an artist too - for example understanding copyright and avoiding being the victim of plagiarism. Flexible working hours both in media and in art is just great. The social side of the art world is great too. I love corresponding with my customers.