Erika Ashley Couto
MA 15, BFA 13
1. How are you applying your degree in Art History from Concordia?
While at Concordia, I learned a great deal about personal branding both from courses and professional development lectures held by the department. I learned how to establish both my personal brand and a professional persona - this is a theme that came through in many classes, but particularly in my Fashion in the Museum and Cold War seminars. The concepts and theories that I was taught in those seminars are ones that I use every single day with my clients.
2. What do you value most from your Art History experience?
The never-ending opportunities for personal growth and expansion. Being able to form student groups, attract media opportunities for projects, put together a publication and successfully apply for grants are all elements that are essential to the Concordia Art History experience, which have helped me to break out of career norms for an art history student. I was able to take the theoretical knowledge that I gained and combine it with the hands-on training and mentorship opportunities that the department offers to create a career that I absolutely love.
3. Is there a particular memory that stands out from your time at Concordia?
There are a few standout moments: the welcoming potluck for students, which gave me the opportunity to meet my colleagues and form valuable friendships; the grant writing workshop with Dr. Anne Whitelaw, which was crucial to my success with funding applications; and the student conference, which attracted high-quality applicants from around the world and was an excellent learning and networking opportunity.
4. What advice would you give to someone considering graduate studies in Art History?
You should absolutely study at Concordia University. Both the University and the Department are bar none in terms of the support you’ll receive. Everyone is genuinely committed to your success and you’ll be exposed to so many enriching communities, activities and opportunities that you just won’t get anywhere else.
From my coursework, I refined my critical thinking and writing skills and expanded my field of interest beyond my thesis topic. From my involvement in communities, I learned crucial practical skills such as financial management, digital communications and marketing strategies, brand development, PR, capital raising and establishing meaningful community partnerships.
Also, get involved in activities. While I learned a lot from my seminars, being a part of student groups and academic service committees broadened my horizons tremendously and gave me a wealth of opportunities post-graduation that would never have been available to me otherwise.