Arts Emergency

Hannah Pope

Publications Assistant at UCL

My name is Hannah and I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an MA in History in 2011.
Had I graduated from university with the same views and opinions I went with, I would have considered the entire experience a waste of time. I went to university to be not only to be intellectually challenged and to further my academic pursuits, but to be forced to assess the world I live in critically and begin to understand perspectives I had never previously encountered.
I could only have done this through an arts degree. My (undergraduate) MA in History placed texts and ideas in my path that radically altered the way I now understand society and human experience, whether I agreed with these ideas or not. To put it bluntly, I would not be the person I am today (for better or worse!) without the arts.
I was in the fortunate position that I never had to question my desire to study a humanities subject. I have always been surrounded by adults who advocate learning for learning’s sake, and it therefore never occurred to me to study anything other than something I was completely passionate about.
It is for this reason I am applying to volunteer for Arts Emergency. I hope that I can be someone who can provide aspiring arts students with the support to follow their intellectual passions, regardless of whether or not our current society deems it ‘useful’. While I of course believe that the arts are of incredible value to society on a multitude of levels, the view that knowledge is a commodity to be simply used and applied misses the point. I hope to be able to encourage others to pursue a humanities degree because they want to broaden their intellectual horizons as a result of genuine fascination with their subject.