History of Art


UCL History of Art speaks to Olivia Tabai, final year HoA student and President of the HoA Society

15 September 2020

Looking ahead to the start of term, we thought it would be a great time to catch-up with President of the History of Art Society, Olivia Tabai. Olivia will be starting her final year with us later this month, and gave some great advice for new students!

Olivia Tabai

Hi Olivia, thanks so much for talking to us! Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

I’m going into the final year of my History of Art BA, and outside of that I’ve always really liked getting involved with things that let me be creative in some way. I’ve been co-hosting a radio show on Rare FM for the last two years, written a handful of articles, and last November I ended up compèring the Jazz Society’s show at Bloomsbury Theatre.

What advice would you give to new students?

I’d say don’t worry if it doesn’t feel like everything has fallen into place right away. Getting comfortable in a new environment takes time, but one day you’ll realise that you’ve found your people and settled into a new routine, without even being able to remember exactly when it all came together. 

We hear that you’re the President of the History of Art Society – can you tell us more about this? How can new students get involved? 

The History of Art Society was established within our department and is run by an elected committee of History of Art students. We regularly put on events, such as talks by notable figures in the art world, our annual winter party, as well as a whole host of other events ranging from film screenings, to exhibition tours, to pub quizzes. We hold our yearly election early in Term One, and any student in the department can run for the vacant positions!

What do you think is the best thing about studying History of Art at UCL? 

Definitely the sense of community. Everyone is super passionate about what they’re studying, and that’s reflected in the conversations that are had both in a lecture or seminar, and outside of them. Plus, learning in small groups allows you to get to know people much better, and quickly get introduced to your course mates. 

Finally, what are your plans for this year? What will you be focussing on? 

I’m ready to make the most of the final stretch of my degree and submit work that I’ve really enjoyed writing, as well as taking a lot of time to be with my friends and celebrate the process of finishing our degrees together.