Dr Clare O’Dowd

I originally trained as an illustrator, so had an arts background, but had always been interested in art history. I began my degree course in 2003, and immediately felt at home. The breadth of subjects was truly eye-opening, and I was studying things that I had never even considered before. I learned about so many different periods and genres: from medieval tomb sculptures to the historical avant-garde, from modern architecture to performance art. I loved the course, and I also loved living in Manchester – it’s a wonderful place to live and study.

My lecturers were inspiring, and were hugely supportive when I decided to continue my studies. I developed a particular interest in sculpture and installation art, and went on to do a Master’s degree followed by a PhD. As well as the academic side of university, my studies gave me a number of valuable opportunities to gain experience of researching and curating exhibitions, including working on the Subversive Spaces exhibition at the Whitworth. Since then I have been involved in curating other exhibitions, including No Particular Place to Go? at the Castlefield Gallery.

After finishing my PhD I took up a temporary teaching post in the Art History Department, and ended up staying for several years. I am now about to take up a new post as Research Curator at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, a role that combines academic research and exhibition curating in my specialist subject of sculpture.