Laura Donkers graduated from Moray College UHI with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art in 2011. She is now the Director of Environmental Art Hebrides Ltd
What does your job involve?
earth | environmental art hebrides ltd is a multi-disciplinary studio rooted in fine art practice that undertakes a range of environmental and fine art projects. My work as an artist is inspired by the bio cultural links between people and the landscapes they inhabit, using drawing and video to reveal how 'thinking through the body' can expand ways of knowing.
This approach has evolved during a long, physical learning process in isolated rural locations and developed into a passion for the natural world and a wish to stimulate and educate a move towards more rounded thinking on the environment. I devise and deliver creative learning opportunities through art workshops that engage children and young adults with their locality by introducing a combined thinking and physical approach to the activity of drawing.
I have exhibited my experiential work at galleries throughout Scotland, and in Finland. In 2011 I participated in an international residency at Arteles Creative Centre, Haukijärvi, Finland, and took part in further residencies in Scotland during 2012 and 2013. I have received grants and awards from Creative Scotland, Hi-Arts and CnES, a Stanley Smith (UK) Horticultural Trust research grant, and participated in the 2011 ‘Starter for 6’ Main Programme.
How does what you studied at university relate to your job?
The BA Fine Art course was central in the development of a reflective process of thinking and making that has led to the formation of my company. The course supports the development of self-study, research and critical reflection that enables the creative process to flourish. I was fortunate to secure a place on the ‘Starter for 6’ Main Programme during Year 4 of the course. This provided support to develop a business plan for creative practice.
In August 2011 I incorporated my business, and during 2011/12 I was chosen as one of the commissioned artists to work on the Machair Art Project for Machair Life+. This provided the right platform for me to propose and deliver an innovative approach through their community outreach programme that has proven to be a successful project and case study for my ideas and practice that can be repeated and developed.
Where do you see yourself going with your career in the future?
I would like to develop opportunities to expand the creative learning element of my business as it is fundamental to my philosophy that the way to redress the current ecological crisis is through stimulating and educating young people to connect with their environment. I would also like to expand artistic opportunities through exhibiting, collaborations and residencies that enable me to develop ideas through dialogue and working with others in broader areas of society.
What advice would you give current students?
My main advice is that while you are still a student just take the time to reflect on what it is that drives you to make art and then think about where you are happiest in your practice. Is it in the making process, problem solving, discussing ideas, developing ideas with others, and so on? When you have considered these things you will be able to see where your drive to be an artist lies and then you will know how you can then add to society.