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Weaam from Bahrain, MA in Illustration

‘The variety of unique perspectives amongst my peers is incredible. We have a huge age range and varying experiences… from the farthest corners of the earth, from Norway to Japan… and me, smack bang in the Middle East. The most inspiring thing about the course is that it embodies the global community.’

Meet Weaam Sperinck, a British/Bahraini arts student working towards a Master’s degree in Illustration at the Interactive Design Institute, an online course delivered in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire. Here, she talks about her inspiration, how her perceptions have changed – and why one of her favourite assignments was to go for a walk…

Why did you choose a UK qualification?

'I chose a UK qualification simply because it is the most widely accepted and highly considered qualification. I would like to enhance my career in arts education and teach at a postgraduate level, which specifically requires an MA. This course will effectively provide me with the specialist set of skills and experience to pursue not only my teaching ambition, but a career in the creative industry.'

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What do you find inspiring about your course?

'The variety of unique perspectives amongst my peers is incredible. We have a huge age range and varying experiences. All Interactive Design Institute students are from the farthest corners of the earth, from Norway to Japan… and me, smack bang in the Middle East. The most inspiring thing about the course is that it embodies the global community, and reminds me just how small the world can be when you have a smart device and decent WiFi connection.'

Did your perception of your subject change as a result of your studies?

'Coming into this course I had a good foundation of Visual Communication from my BA at the Glasgow School of Art, but this was around six years ago, so I felt a bit rusty. Illustration, as I understood it, was simply an exercise of visually representing a story, a song, a phrase or a person, in any medium we saw fit. The scope of the subject has become vaster and more complex with the detailed research involved in our practical projects. There is a greater emphasis now on business perspectives; on understanding how the industry and economy affect the professional creative practitioner.

'All in all, I feel that I am more aware of the professional side of things. I now have knowledge about global influences too. I think this will polish my practice and the means for success in the industry.'


Examples of Weaam's illustrations: A pizzeria in Italy and three posters for music events in Glasgow (All images ©Weaam Sperinck)

What did you like about the teaching methods and styles you experienced?

'One of the main things I enjoyed was the various tutors through the modules. Each was different from the next, but all had the same goal to support and guide me through the course. Their styles may have differed and this is challenging in its way, but it's just another practice in communicating and working with others. I felt their varying perspectives and experiences were a great help and opened my mind to many strategies to improve my practice.'

What does being ‘creative’ mean to you?

'Creativity, to me, is problem solving in an unexpected way. Design is for the most part an act of solving a problem in a smart, original and aesthetic way. In my opinion, the most important part of creativity is being original, and I think this comes from the influences in the artist's context – their social, cultural, political and personal perspective. This is something I try to use in my work as I am lucky to have a mixed background and experience of living in various countries.'

What advice would you give students hoping to apply to your course?

'Go for it! I was reluctant at first, because I was worried I couldn't take the workload whilst working full-time, but it's manageable. Besides, it's worth the effort and extra hours if it will help you pave a new path, build on an old one, or just for the sake of educating yourself.'


Design in context: Weaam's illustrations have appeared in brochures and even hotel rooms (©Weaam Sperinck)

Is there a memory of a trip, a workshop, a course or a speech that really stands out?

'A favourite assignment was one that set us the task to simply "go for a walk". This was an investigation into our local community and the creative gems that lie in it. We had to draw inspiration and better understand our surroundings. The documentation of this journey was really very thrilling, and the shared presentations between my peers were heartwarming; they put us in each other’s "walking shoes".'

What are your ambitions for the future?

'My ambition is to become a big player in my creative community: to collaborate, inspire and teach with the tools I've been given.'

What’s your number one memory of your time as a student? The one you’d tell your grandchildren about?

'I'd tell my grandchildren that sometimes risks are worth taking and that there's nothing more inspiring than going for a walk.'


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