Layla Bacha, MA student of Museum and Gallery Practice, UCL Qatar Class of 2019, shares some insight into her choice to study at UCL Qatar, her career path, and tips on how not to be 'overwhelmed with the contemporary, modern and super attractive' side of life in Qatar.
1)Could you please tell us more about yourself, what course are you in and when will you graduate?
I am Layla Ibrahim Bacha, from Aleppo, Syria. My first degree was in Fashion design from ESMOD, Damascus and in 2005 I moved to Paris to pursuit my Bachelor degree from La Sorbonne University, Arts Plastiques department. I moved to Doha In 2008 where I started a career as Gallery manager and Art consultant at Waqif Art Centre. With the unfortunate closure of the Art centre in 2010 I shifted to free lancing and my major project was curating the Public art collection for Sidra Hospital. In 2014 I joined Qatar Foundation as an Art curator. Currently, I am following the Museum studies and gallery practice Master Degree in UCL Qatar, hoping to graduate in 2019.
2)How did you hear/decide on UCL Qatar?
I heard about UCL Qatar through a friend of mine who knew about my search for a Masters programme. At that time I was looking for online options, but receiving the news that UCL was open in Qatar was quite exciting for me as I believe Education is all about interaction and exchange of knowledge which is something that online education cannot offer.
3) Do you have any hidden talents you would like to share with us?
I used to play Piano from a very early age, I only stopped when I left for Paris. Last year, I bought a Piano to my Doha house and I am so happy to realise that I am actually still capable of playing.
4)What advice would you give to prospective students who are interested in applying for UCL Qatar?
Museum studies is a broad subject with lots of interesting areas to discover, there will always be subjects to study further and in more detail. It requires lots of reading so prepare yourself for a year or two (depending on your programme) of reading and piles of books next to you waiting for you to unveil.
5) Do you have any memories from your time at UCL Qatar you would like to share?
I remember during the induction week, one of the speakers shared how proud UCL was of the diversity among its students, but living in Qatar, a multinational society, I couldn't understand why it was that important. Only after few months of being a part of UCL Qatar I started to realise how this diversity actually enriches your academic knowledge, having colleagues and professors from all over the globe added to every class a new discovery.
6)What would you recommend to a first time visitor to Qatar?
Qatar has a unique identity, and is a fast growing nation with a rich heritage. It will be hard not to be overwhelmed with the contemporary, modern and super attractive side of life. I recommend to go have a talk to locals who are very friendly and welcoming to introduce you to their heritage and habits.
7) Would you like to share the most significant assignment you worked on so far at UCL Qatar?
Yes, I was able to study some of the art pieces that belong to the Qatar Foundation art collection from an academic perspective which allowed me to look at them differently.
8) Any plans post-graduation?
I am optimist that the UCL Qatar Master's degree will definitely open new doors for me.