Interview: Kristie Easterbrook

Kristie Easterbrook was a student at Petroc between 2012 and 2014. She now runs her own events management company called KME Collaborative. Jum Fernandez catches up with her to talk about her new project.

Jum Fernandez: What courses did you study at Petroc?
Kristie Easterbrook: So the courses I done at college included Psychology, Art, Photography, Film and Media Studies and Music Technology. I was a student at Petroc between 2012 – 2014.

I understand you run an events management company, could you tell us a little about it?
KME Collaborative has been set up to help artists we believe in and give them advice and direction through the music industry, going against current modern business models and keeping the organic values in music, whilst not constricting ourselves to one genre. The flip side of KME Collaborative is putting on shows across Bristol and North Devon with bands we love and think deserve recognition. As a collective we aim to put them on regularly making them as cheap as possible, as the company grows we aim to connect with charities that are important to us and our friends, as the ethos of the company is to help people through music as creativity and as abstract as possible, there are many ideas we have for the future!

Have you used any of the skills you learned from studying those particular subjects at Petroc when working on KME Collaborative ?
Each subject has elements that I incorporate into KME Collaborative . Phycology comes in handy when understanding social situations and dealing with a variety of personally types, which in Bristol is very diverse! I also try to do as much of what I can creatively and as hands on as possible, I couldn’t form company that had no creative and original drive. Music technology is of course key when putting on live shows, and my film course gave me a good understanding of how to write and direct music videos which I’m constantly creating in my head and currently planning with bands. Aesthetics and visual semiotics within music is one of my favourite things to engage in.

Have there been any interesting key/memorable moments during your work on KME Collaborative ?
It’s a relatively new company, so there hasn’t been much room for interesting moments yet, but i hope there will be! Although a memorable moment for me is putting Fathoms on as my first show, they were a band me and my friends listened to in college a lot, so for me it was definitely a memorable start, having the bands I put on stay over is always a fun experience too!

Save Manning’s Pit Campaign



Manning’s Pit a selection of beautiful countryside located just out side of Pilton. Set in 22 acers  gentle sloping meadows give way to trickling Braddiford  stream waters.  For many generations this most loved area has been a treasure for families and dog workers alike.  Now under threat for development for 43 homes ( by Wastaway parks),  there has been much Opposition form locals. This week the student union reached out to students to support this local cause. Collecting a total of 103 signatures an extraordinary range of students were passionately opposed to the development in just one and a halve hours. Many telling us of childhood and present memories with loved ones that feature Manning’s Pit,  it very soon became apparent of how well known and loved this place is. We now hope we will make a difference to the cause,  helping to create a brighter future for this outstanding area.


Metamorphosis @ The Goodwin Gallery


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The Metamorphosis exhibition at the Goodwin Gallery, Petroc is an intense hub of multimedia work from three different courses: Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Fine Art FdA and Illustration FdA. From mouldy doll heads and syringes to abstract paintings and sculptures of ravens; this exhibition is as buzzing and lively as its preview view was on the 6th June.

Many people attended the Private View, myself amongst them, and had a great opportunity to speak to the students that had created the work and support them through purchases of cards/prints and the artworks themselves. The college staff that facilitate the arts courses were welcoming and clearly consistently work to promote their students’ and give them new opportunities.

The main bulk of the work belonged to the two FdA courses; Illustration and Fine Art. Both ranged in mediums and were consistently fantastic; producing innovative and heart felt work. One piece that really stood out to me from the Fine Art collection was the SEMINAL MOMENTS IN HEART RESEARCH installation by Antonia Blackmore. This piece was superb (like everything at the exhibition) but why I particularly note it is because Antonia’s work shows that the college is not limiting the students and their ideas, this piece is unconventional and, dare I say it, cutting edge. It is brave to support students in creating such advanced pieces and yet constantly throughout the exhibition we see bold, dynamic idea after the other being sustained and developed to the point of fruition. The course leaders clearly support each student individually in their own artistic journey rather than straight jacketing them.

The illustration department had a lot of Graphic Design elements with people not stopping at an illustration but putting it in context as if they were responding to a brief one would receive when in employment. I can only imagine how helpful doing a course like this would be for people wanting to pursue a career in Graphic Design. Like the Fine Art degree work this section had a large variety of work, but due to the nature of illustration the majority of it did not venture out the frame. There were examples of t-shirts, a rabbit and other slightly more sculptural pieces but by its nature Illustration tends to be more practically based (like Graphic design; same amount of concept, thought and skill as Fine Art but with more practical uses rather than purely for pleasure of the artist and viewer) so it’s innovation can’t be measured in the same way. The use of mediums in the illustration department was phenomenal; there was embroidery, painting, digital, photography, knitting, drawing and combinations of all of them – a very impressive selection.

The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design was as multi-faceted as the degree work, mediums and schools represented included graphics, fashion design, prosthetics, film, (and other installations), graphic novels, portraiture and painting. The majority of the students on the Diploma were going to top art institutes in the UK such as University College London (St Martins and Westminster), Falmouth and Kingston; this course is very strong and year after year turfs out students with a fantastic range of art skills, getting them into great universities.

One of the highlights of the evening for me was talking to Carl Lucas (read my interview with him here) and finding out he had sold one of his pieces on display in the gallery. He received a lot of, well deserved, congratulations. This leads me on to a general feeling I picked up at the event which was the great sense of community and friendship amongst the students. They are not in competition rather they are all working together to promote each other and their mutual passion for the Arts.

I am looking forward to working with the Goodwin Gallery and the arts lecturers/students in the future, building permanent bridges between the Branhams Campus and the Petroc Student Union in order to deliver a broader range of activities that also cater for the HE students doing arts related courses there.

There should be some new interviews on the site with some the students I met at the Private View coming soon.


THIS WEEK: Save Manning’s Pit Campaign

This Tuesday the Student Union will be at the Egg on the Main Site from 12:30 – 14:30 giving you an opportunity to show your support of the Manning’s Pit campaign that is currently the talk of Barnstaple.

You will have the chance to:
  • Talk about Manning’s Pit with the PSU and the importance of resisting the development of the site
  • Sign a petition 
  • Take a photo with our SAVE MANNING’S PIT banner to go on our website and Facebook

For more information about Manning’s Pit watch this video or check out the Friends of Manning’s Pit’s website.

Interview: Jordan Stark

Jordan Stark did a course in outdoor adventuring 7 years ago, he now travels and works around the world. Jum Fernandez chatted to him to find out about the most exiting places he has been to since leaving Petroc.

Jum Fernandez: What course did you do/how long ago were you studying at Petroc and what are you doing now?
Jordan Stark: So I did a ND in outdoors adventure 7 years ago! Now I just working as a bartender during the summer and traveling during the winter, something I consider part of my “working career” as I gain new skills and make connection with people around the world that will help me later on in life

Could you tell us about some of the places you have travelled to?
I’ve recently come back to England after spending 3 months in the North of Thailand, somewhere I consider my second home. That trip was my second time to Thailand, a couple years before I had been backpacking in se Asia around Thailand Laos and Cambodia and really fell in love with the lifestyle. I’ve also spent a year living in Rome, Italy which was an amazing first experience of living abroad. 13388934_10154256280042238_291795775_o

When you were last in Thailand I understand you were staying in a circus based community, were you taught any new skills when you were there?
Haha for sure, On the surface I learnt how to spin fire, play a new instrument called a hang drum and took part in yurt building workshops. On a deeper level though, anyone who has traveled will tell you, one of the most important things you learn whilst traveling is to never judge anyone based on how they look, where they’re from, how they talk or walk. You meet people from all over the world when you travel, people you would never normally meet. These people are usually the most “crazy looking” out there people you can find, outcasts from “normal society” but you would be amazed if you take a step back and get to know them , everyone is a teacher and has something you can learn from, an experience, a skill, maybe just a hug. I couldn’t put into words how much I’ve learnt along the way but everyday is a lesson.

What’s the fondest memory you have from your travels?
One memory that stand out is my first real “culture experience”. I was out adventuring in the Thai mountains just exploring the scenery and hunting for hotsprings in the jungle. As it started to get dark I headed into a small village far off the tourist track, looking to find a place to eat. By this time is was very dark and nowhere was open. I found some locals in the front of a house courtyard and tried to ask them if there was anywhere to eat using basic hand to month hand signs haha. Excitedly they invited me into their home and prepared a full Thai meal offering me anything they had. It was an amazing moment and I really thought to myself the day was now perfect and nothing could top this. To my surprise it was. After eating, they locals took me to a remote hotspring no tourist knew about, deep in the jungle. We laughed as we tried to communicate and play games around a big fire they had built. Again I had the same thought and again I was suprised. They invited me to spend the night in their Home and insisted I sleep in the biggest bed. I woke up to breakfast being made for me! The poorest of the community were doing more for me than anyone else ever had, giving me everything and asking for nothing in return. We spent the morning going up to their Buddhist temple where I was introduced to the head monk and prayed over. I’ve never had such unconditional love shown by a stranger, let alone to a foreigner who didn’t even speak their language. Truly the poorest have the biggest hearts.


Interview: Muktar Ahmed

Muktar Ahmed was a student at Petroc between 2011 to 2015. He is now studying at the University of Plymouth and running his own event photography business. Jum Fernandez catches up with him to see what he is up to.

Jum Fernandez: What years were you a student at Petroc?
Muktar Ahmed: I have been a student at Petroc from September 2011 until June 2015. I studied the Level 3 BTEC Business and Foundation Degree in Business throughout this time, which were two years each.

What are you studying now?
I am currently studying BA (Hons) Business Administration at Plymouth University.

I understand you are a freelance graphic designer and photographer, did studying Business Administration at Petroc help you set your business up?
It has helped to some extent. My Business Administration courses has more focus managing a business, but the finance related elements of my course was particularly helpful in setting up my business.

Did studying at Petroc prepare you for the lifestyle and workload that going to Plymouth University to get your BA (Hons) in Business Administration entailed?
I think studying at Petroc prepared me very well. Last year, I actually did two courses simultaneously; as well as the Foundation Degree, I also completed the Level 3 Award in Education and Training. Because of this, I had a heavy workload and I found it challenging at times. However, this was useful experience especially since the final year at Plymouth University has a similar workload in some ways, so to get a feel of what it could be like in terms of workload was helpful.

As a final year student, I and others found that the lifestyle most of the time is focused around trying to complete the year with a good degree classification. This was something Petroc encouraged students to do, especially in terms of giving tips and feedback on how to achieve higher marks on an individual basis. I say this because in Plymouth, the much larger class sizes makes you ‘one in a crowd’ so it’s not always possible to get individual feedback. So the quality and provision at Petroc – which I think is much better – prepares you quite well for what’s ahead.

What are you hoping to do after you finish your degree at Plymouth?
My positive experience of studying at Petroc and enthusiasm for business has led me to explore career opportunities in further and higher education, as well as human resource management. I plan to work within one of these after finishing my degree.