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Student Voices

LGBTQ+ Student Spotlight | Madhurima Kumar

By UALHalls 31 Jan 2024

Meet MA Design for Art Direction alumni, Madhurima as part of LGBTQ+ History month!

Madhurima Kumar @lilac_tangerines, a Mumbai-born designer, artist, architect, and art director, merges her background in Architecture and Set Design to draw inspiration from the human condition and the workings of the human mind.

Using software skills and set design experience, she crafts speculative and exaggerated representations of the real world through object creation and 3D concepts, resulting in liminal and surreal outcomes. Her practice explores the interplay between psychology, speculative ideas, and tangible design, pushing the boundaries of conventional artistry.

See more from Madhurim here!

How did you find your experience at UAL?

I was studying in the MA Design for Art Direction course in UAL.

Choosing UAL over other universities wasn’t too hard a decision for me because I had spent months comparing other universities and what they had to offer after which it was clear that UAL was the best choice for me. More importantly, UAL had the exact course that I was looking for along with other very specific and niche lines of studies. 

The course was fifteen months long and I can safely say that those months have been the quickest but also the longest months of my life. I was pushed out of my comfort zone into unchartered territory quite a bit but this was pivotal to my growth as a designer. Studying for a master’s degree is challenging but also being an international student at the same time adds a unique flavour of experience to it which is never the same for every student. I thoroughly enjoyed my time studying at UAL and also with my cohort who have been the most wonderful, diverse and the biggest source of knowledge for me. 

a woman sitting in a dark room

Why did you choose to live in Halls?

As an international student who had never lived in London before, safety was one of my biggest concerns and UAL halls seemed like quite a safe option. I lived in the Highline Building for almost a year and quite frankly that little room became my home in a very new and unfamiliar city. I lived in a flat with seven other people, we shared a kitchen and a common space but otherwise had our own rooms and ensuite bathrooms which was an essential requirement for me as I am someone who requires her own quiet space.

I loved my room so much that I even made a student film about it called ‘Island of Isolation’ which was a part of my hand-in for my course. 

Overall, I was very comfortable and at home living in the Highline building. I am very glad that I chose to live there for my first year in London.

How did you get involved with Halls Life?

When I first saw “UAL LGBTQ+ Pride Parade Support '' listed as a job on the Arts Temps website, I instantly knew this was the job for me and when I actually got it, I was over the moon. That was my first pride parade in London and I was excited to not just watch it but to also be a part of it as a queer student studying at UAL. To top it off I also met and worked with the most wonderful team of people working in Halls Life!

So when I was asked if I would like to work at Halls Life for the summer, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Summer turned into autumn and then winter and I am grateful to still be a part of this very hardworking but also fun team!

Having this job has allowed me to grow a lot of my skills and to also build new ones as the role itself is so flexible which means that I am not boxed in!

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How did you manage your studies alongside Halls Life work?

It was a little difficult to manage both the job and also give my all to the final unit of my master’s degree at first. I had to really hone in all the time management skills that I had picked up over the years but this also allowed me to have a sense of stability and structure. This job also gives me a sense of financial stability as I can manage a lot of my expenses because of it which I am very grateful for as well. 

Everyone in the Halls Life team was very understanding of this and actually supported me through this time of overlap! 

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Header image credits: Madhurima Kumar