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Study event review: Copenhagen - The Open College of the Arts
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Study event review: Copenhagen

At the end of April twelve students from seven different countries and two OCA bodies met in Copenhagen for a weekend to look at art and make connections.
The trip was initiated by OCA student Gwenyth who lives in Sweden, having recently met an OCA friend in person, she got to thinking how nice it would be if more students could meet each other in real life. From the end of August onwards, together Gwenyth and I mapped out a plan of action and then she applied for funding through OCASA – the student association. The weekend was opened up to all and in the end it was a group of fourteen who came together.
Over the course of the weekend we visited three Galleries – SMKArken and Louisiana – attending guided tours in two and a making workshop in one. We all ate, laughed and shared stories of studying and life, what began as tentative introductions ended in hugs and promises to meet again.
Distance learning can be difficult and forming these links with your peers is so important, whilst we regularly hold study events in the UK, the way in which funding is now operated allows students to come together and be ambitious about what may be possible both for physical and virtual get togethers.
To find out more about funding and planning events visit the OCASA website.

For me as a member of OCA HQ I always find it valuable to meet students face to face, it makes it all more real and is a good way to offer reassurance and dispel any concerns about anything study related.
My sense of direction is appalling, I’ve accepted it and factor getting lost into my plans when I need to be anywhere. When I arrived late on the Thursday night I walked up and down Nyhavn at least six times trying to find my residence for the weekend, that was after getting lost trying to find that street in the first instance. Luckily the Danish are a very friendly bunch and forgiving my dreadful pronunciation I didn’t have to wait too long before I was sent off in the right direction.
On day one we met at the Cafe in the Garden near SMK, again I found myself heading off in the opposite direction to where I needed to be but that is me. Luckily we had Inger in the group – a local! So many thanks to her and her assistance over the course of the weekend to help navigate the public transport system. Time keeping is important in anything that is organised so I did behave a bit like a mother hen rounding up my chicks at appropriate times and allowing them to spread their wings when needed! Everyone in the group was co-operative and willing to engage, the addition of OCA’s Bryan for the weekend also meant there was some unofficial tutoring going on so thank you to him also.
The trip would not have been possible without Gwenyth instigating it in the first instance so hopefully with the links that she and this group of students have now formed, they can continue to feed their friendship and course support and maybe it will be the start of an annual get together!
I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and loved meeting you all! I’m still recovering from all of the walking, but it was well worth it Thank you to everyone who made the trip possible, and the weekend so enjoyable. Hopefully we can all do it again sometime!
I would like to thank you all for a wonderful weekend filled with art, new friends, interesting discussions, art and art… It was nice to get a face to all of our OCA ‘names’ and I hope we will continue now online to discuss art and sharing thoughts on work and support. Thank you Gwenyth for this initiative and all of you who made this study visit possible.
I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and came home tired but enthused to crack on. My favourite part was the Mucha exhibition as his work talked to me more to translate into textiles as I personally love the nature themes he used. I didn’t realise until I went to this exhibition that I already had two ceramics of his work on my bathroom wall. I loved the delicate colours he used. Perhaps the use of ladies to sell products isn’t a new thing! It was lovely to meet such a range of lovely people all in the same boat and getting stressed about the same issues.
I really found this experience worthwhile – both life affirming and art affirming. I joined the oca 6 years ago to be part of a community that would support my ongoing education and development as an artist. Like many students I struggle with the time commitment and sometimes miss the in the moment exchanges that a ‘bricks and mortar’ establishment offers. BUT… I also appreciate the time to be on my own and learning at my own pace and I love the international aspect of the college. This trip really built on the huge potential of the OCA for international exchange and discourse. It was my first visit to a Scandinavian country and what a privilege to be with people who were living and making their art there.
Although we became a physical group with a clear OCA study connection on the first day, I think that it took a while longer for me to bond. After the SMK tour we sat in the cafeteria and began to talk to each other about art and life. That was when I began to feel that these are people that I have a lot in common with and want to get to know better.
I really liked it when we talked about what we had seen and heard during the guided tours because each of us had gleaned our own special nuggets of insight that we could share. I think that we did to a large degree become the “Copenhagen study visit group” and will continue to support each other virtually in a way that we may not have done had we never met. We were not all studying the same courses or following the same degree paths, but it became apparent that we nevertheless shared many learning experiences as students.
I felt that there was just the right amount of planned activities. There was time to look at more art in the three planned visit locations, to visit the bookshops, and so on. If people wanted to add on other galleries there was time for that too.
Thank you so much to you all for such wonderful experience, and it was a real pleasure to meet you – I really enjoyed the study visit to the museums and learned so much. Many thanks, especially to Gwenyth and Joanne for their initiative, for applying for the funds, and for organising such a super study visit. Thanks also to Inger for being our local support and to Bryan for joining us and sharing his knowledge and insights on what is expected from us as student of OCA.
Please follow the links to my blog to read my reviews
Being with people who share the circumstance of being a distance learner was very important for me – I feel much more zest for the next steps in my current course. I really liked the option of the workshop – It was so interesting to see how each of us approached the task.
You can read Inger’s full account of the weekend here and Mick’s here.

Posted by author: Joanne
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One thought on “Study event review: Copenhagen

  • It was a great weekend. Great to see you all and for it to all go off so smoothly. There are things I missed at Louisiana, but it didn’t seem to matter. Ambitious trips like this are normal for students studying at ‘bricks and mortar’ universities and I hope that this one becomes the first of many for visual art students. Barcelona? Berlin? Amsterdam? New York?

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