Doris Rohr

Name: Doris Rohr
Degree: PhD Fine Art Lancaster Institute of the Contemporary Arts

Why did you choose your course at Lancaster?

A mixed bag of reasons ranging from location, reputation of University, the ‘feel’ of the place, and the Ruskin Library and Archive on site. It was an intuitive decision partially based on recommendation by friends.

What was the best part of your course?

As off-campus student I mostly benefitted from face-to-face tutorials flexibly arranged to accommodate my own teaching schedule, as I lecture at Ulster University. I enjoyed my tutorials very much as they helped develop confidence in my own practice. My supervisors treated me with understanding and were always extremely supportive. My visits to LICA provided me from a holiday from teaching, and gave me an incentive to think more about my own practice and research. I also very much enjoyed a one-day AHRC training day organised by Lancaster Uni’s English Literature Department, where I had to present my research to other PhD students across a range of disciplines from Museum Studies, to Fine Art to English Literature, and so gained insight into other student’s PhD research. Hands-on-activities provided in the Ruskin Archive were a real treat – it was so lovely to handle a real Ruskin watercolour (thanks to Prof Stephen Wildman).

How did your degree help with the work you do now/what are you hoping to do when you finish university

It definitely has helped me to sharpen up my approach to research. I intend to be more focussed when writing up research for future projects; writing the PhD thesis has been a rich training and testing ground! I am hoping to develop more material to present to academic journals over the next year. My PhD was practice-based in Fine Art, investigating the relevance of John Ruskin’s legacy to contemporary thinking about the environment in relation to drawing. So in terms of my practice of drawing and writing I have a few things lined up for 2017, including a one-person exhibition and public workshop at Florence Arts Centre, Egremont, West Cumbria. I am also hoping to keep in touch with colleagues in LICA.

What is ‘Lancaster Life’ like?

As a tourist of sorts (travelling in from Belfast) I can only say, how much I enjoyed the lovely mix of intimacy (compact campus) with a sense of internationalism and tolerance for ethnic difference. The only other time I experienced this sense of pride in international students was when I studied Philosophy and Psychoanalysis at Essex University. It is wonderful to hear so many languages, and to observe such enlightened pride in cultural difference. Lancaster town has many lovely historic buildings, including the beautiful Storey Institute where I had my PHD show. I enjoyed consuming copious amounts of fairly traded tea in Atkinson’s historic establishments! 

Any advice for the next generation of LICA students?

It’s cosy on Lancaster Campus, so I would encourage students to get out there and gain experience outside in any relevant form, from seeking outside exhibition opportunities, submitting to academic journals,  to attending and presenting at conferences and symposia or workshops hosted by other departments and other academic and non-academic organisations.