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Balancing Creativity and Theory: An Arts Student’s Story

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Jessica Rachid
4 min read

In higher education, there is often a separation between creativity and academia. We recently caught up with Sophia Proffer, who is in her final year at Leeds Arts University, completing a BA (Hons) course in Fashion Branding with Communication, which includes both practical and theoretical modules. After she receives her diploma, she will be travelling to Thailand for three months to create promotional content for a wellness retreat, and maybe, grow her own following on social media. We sat down to speak about her experience using academic tools, like Scholarcy and how this has helped prepare her for her final year of university.

Question 1: Can you share a bit about your background and what led you to pursue a degree in art?

I grew up in Spain, where the education system didn't offer much support for students interested in pursuing a career in the arts. That's why I got involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. I'm naturally creative, and for me, art is like therapy. So, I wanted to pursue a degree in the UK because it's more affordable and accessible.

I was completely blown away by the course options for universities in the UK, and I couldn't make a decision; it was too overwhelming. That was why I explored a Foundation Diploma in Arts and Design from Morley College London. Without my foundation diploma, I would not have been able to figure out what I wanted to study.

Question 2: How do you typically manage your time between your coursework and other commitments?

I've finally found a system that works for me.  My schedule consists of lectures from 9 AM to 4 PM. I usually go to the library at the University of Leeds and I don't rush home after my lessons, I work in the labs.

This routine allows me to strike a balance between my academic commitments and my creative pursuits. I have independent study, tutorials and reviews.

I love my course because it exercises different parts of my brain, and it's the kind of balance that's incredibly rewarding.

My course in Fashion Branding with Communication focuses on social media, and I must say, a lot of my classmates have had a lucky break from making money on their phones. It's remarkable how previous generations might have viewed the idea of earning a living through creative content creation with scepticism, but it's the reality for my generation.

Question 3: In your opinion, how crucial is it for art students to have efficient research tools like Scholarcy in their academic toolkit?

I believe tools like Scholarcy are essential for art students, especially when dealing with time constraints and tight deadlines.

These tools help with reading, research and analysis, which is important in Fashion Branding. In my course, where students are gearing up for careers in fashion journalism and developing their writing skills, Scholarcy has proven invaluable during my final year at university.

Considering the cost of education, Scholarcy is affordable. Degrees are pivotal, and the experiences gained at university help prepare you for adult life.

Question 4: How do you incorporate Scholarcy into your study? What aspects of the tool do you think are most beneficial for your art-related research?

After the pandemic, everything changed at university. Surprisingly, I noticed that some students started skipping lectures – perhaps online seminars don't keep you engaged, and you lose focus. While my university provides access to professional equipment like cameras and printers, Scholarcy has become my go-to tool for managing the academic side of my course, particularly when it comes to referencing.

Scholarcy makes referencing easy. However, I did stumble on a minor issue when trying to import an article using a URL link. To overcome this, I used the Help Centre, and I found a solution by downloading a PDF copy of the article. This little workaround allowed Scholarcy to import the article correctly.

Although I've used tools like ChatGPT for quite a while, they tend to fall short when it comes to data storage and the ability to locate specific information. Scholarcy, with its citation management and research capabilities, presents a more structured approach to academic research. It helps me organise and manage my research materials, which is what I need for my final year at university.

Question 5: What are some of the key areas or subjects within your art degree program that you believe Scholarcy could assist you in exploring more comprehensively?

Scholarcy is a valuable tool for my art degree program. It streamlines research, making it easier to explore a range of subjects. The full-text links and comparative analysis features help me delve deeper into art-related topics, ensuring more precise and efficient research.

I also appreciate that Scholarcy allows me to organize my notes and create flashcards. It's handy that it links key terms to Wikipedia, making it easy to find definitions.

Question 6: What other areas or subjects in your degree program do you think Scholarcy could help you with?

Scholarcy is particularly useful when working on coursework, research, and my dissertation. One of my current projects involves a thesis that's 50% academic and 50% practical. I'm examining how brands recover after a scandal or controversy, focusing on the long-term effects.

This type of research can be time-consuming, and I'm working within a tight timeframe. Scholarcy simplifies this process by allowing me to save and organise all the articles and data I need. For instance, my recent project focuses on the brand Victoria's Secret and how it's adapted to the changing landscape of social media and evolving societal norms. This kind of transformation, as I've seen with Victoria's Secret's recent relaunch, is a fascinating subject. Scholarcy supports me in exploring these areas more effectively and efficiently.

Question 7: When you first signed up for Scholarcy, what were your initial thoughts? Any specific features that stood out to you?

When I signed up for Scholarcy, I really liked the comparative analysis feature, which I saw was popular with other students. This feature is valuable for students like me who need to build an extensive knowledge of the theory of brands and branding.

If you have a study-related story to tell, we’d love to hear from you.

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