Saving for something nice

Saving money can sometimes feel impossible when it’s being stretched between bills, social activities and daily expenses like travel. Student Writer Taz shares her method of budgeting when she needs some extra cash saved up.

Knowing where to start when it comes to saving for something nice can often be tricky. Yes, as students, we may get a helping hand from Student Finance with uni life costs, but learning when you can or can’t afford to put ‘away’ some cash is a challenge. However, no matter what you’re saving for (be it the new iPhone XR, a fresh pair of Reeboks, or a summer holiday with friends), there are a number of steps you can take to improve your budgeting routine, and be on the way to achieving that big save.

Step 1: Open up a savings account.

I highly recommend a savings bank account (in addition to your regular and student accounts). Having three accounts will help you to organise your money into 1. Your own earnings 2. Your student loan 3. Your personal savings. And it’s super easy to set one up. Nowadays, most internet banking apps have the instant option to create a savings account which you can monitor and transfer money from on the same digital platform as your other accounts.

Step 2: Make a physical note of your outgoings.

The best way to keep track of your spending is to do the maths. Most people choose to do this on their phones, in their diaries, or some (tech-savvy students) on an excel sheet. Whilst this might seem a pretty tedious activity, it takes just minutes to record what you’ve spent and this could save you all kinds of money panics. The best way to organise your spending is to divide it into sections such as:

  • Food shopping
  • Rent/Bills
  • Travel
  • Social
  • Treats

It’s also ideal to give yourself a budget for each term (once you’ve received your student loan) and to work out how much you will roughly have to spend per week once you’ve paid your rent and any other essential expenses. You can also use a plus or minus column to keep track of any over and under spending you’ve done in the week and use this as a guide for what to spend in the following weeks.

Step 3: Take advantage of discounts and student offers.

If you’re like me, and LOVE a student discount, this will be the easiest step for you. Downloading apps such as Unidays and Student Beans can be a great way to save on meals out and clothes. Investing in a TOTUM card and 16-25 railcard could also save you hundreds throughout the year. Equally, there are saving schemes such as MoneyBox which do the job for you by rounding each of your outgoings up to the nearest pound and putting this away for you. Taking simple steps such as these will help you to reduce your spending and help you on the way towards that ultimate saving goal.

Step 4: Make the most of birthday money.

If you’re lucky enough to receive any additional financial help from parents, or to receive cash gifts on your birthday, don’t be foolish by spending it all at once. Why not transfer some of this money into your savings account or keep it in a safe place for emergencies or a treat?

Step 5: A job goes a long way!

The final and most important piece of advice when it comes to saving is to put the time into making it happen. Having a part-time job during the week (even if it’s just one shift a week) will make a difference and give you that extra boost of income each month. If your schedule won’t allow it at uni, why not also search for job opportunities at home for during the holidays? The more time and effort you put into earning, the bigger and better the end result will be.

For financial advice and support on campus, don’t forget to use the University’s Student Financial Support Team.

Happy saving!

Handling your subscriptions

Entertainment subscriptions make it more convenient than ever for us to keep ourselves occupied, but keeping track of them is key to ensuring you know exactly what your monthly outgoings are. Student Taz gives her advice on keeping your entertainment subscriptions manageable and making the most of your money.

Moving away from home can have the added shock of losing access to 24-hour Sky TV, the Family Netflix account, and mum or dad’s generous payment of your phone contract. However, just because you’re now living independently, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of these luxuries too. It’s knowing where to look and how to go about it.

Television

How you watch TV at uni depends on the set up that you have. You might have your own TV, or share one with your flatmates. Either way, you’ll want to make sure you have a TV license to cover your streaming activity. A TV license is required by anyone who owns either a TV with a viewing box subscription or streams channels from sites such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and Channel 4 Catch Up.

If you share a TV with flatmates, there are many added benefits to your spending routine (ignoring the fact that you WILL unfortunately have to share the remote). Sharing the TV will mean that:

  1. The initial cost of the TV is shared
  2. You can share the subscription cost
  3. You could invest in a shared Netflix account.

Netflix is a great entertainment platform which offers a variety of content; both series and films. Additionally, Amazon movies is a great source for movies. Gain access to this by signing up for an Amazon Prime account which you get 6 months free as a student. This comes with free next-day delivery on Prime items and other discounts throughout the year. And it’s only £3.99 a month after your trial!

Another option, if you have your own TV, is to invest in an HDMI cable which connects your laptop to your TV screen. Doing this will allow you to watch Netflix and other online entertainment sites on the big screen (a great idea for movie nights or watching the football!).

Sports TV

If you’re the sporty type and love a bit of Premier League football at the weekends, you might also consider buying the BT Sport or Sky Sports apps (a definite one to share the cost with friends for!). It’s also a good idea to check with your parents whether you have a BT or Sky box at home. If you do, chances are you have free access to these apps which you’ll just need to get the login for. You might also consider going to pubs (Park Bar being a popular one), to watch the games live for free.

Music

When it comes to music, YouTube is going to be your immediate option in terms of price. YouTube is free to watch videos on, but does have its flaws in terms of playlist options, and having the keep the site open when listening. The next best option in my opinion is Spotify which you can either use for free (with adverts in between every few songs), or buy for £4.99 a month (50% discounted for students) with Student Premium Spotify (without the ads). This is another subscription that I would recommend sharing with another person (preferably NOT more than 1). Sharing the price will mean you can both make separate playlists, however you will need to download the songs to listen to offline to avoid any music clashes when listening. Another option is Apple Music which Apple are currently offering a free 3-month trial period for.

Mobile contracts

If you’re in charge of paying for your own mobile contract, you’ll also want to take advantage of the many student offers out there. Top ones include the new Voxi contract which is £10 a month for unlimited social media use and a generous number of texts and calls (a life-saver for me!). Other companies such as EE and O2 also offer a 20% discount and other bonuses including free data bundles and the O2 priority scheme (even more discounts!).

Gym

Another added subscription expense may come from the Gym. This is likely to be around £15-20 per month depending on your membership type, and may become quite noticeable in terms of your spending. If you’ve got a full month membership, make sure you are making the most of it. You’ll need to make sure you get yourself to the gym at least 5 times a month to make up for the payment.

Where’s the balance?

Whilst all of these options seem like great ideas in the long term, having such a range of subscriptions can only mean one thing: COST. This is where you’ll need to be smart. As said before, try to share the costs of subscriptions with friends (ones you can trust you won’t argue with). You then will want to make a note of each of these outgoings and factor them into your weekly budget. I, for example, spend £24 a month on my subscriptions which includes a £20 gym membership, £4 Netflix subscription (shared with my boyfriend) and a Spotify subscription which a friend has kindly shared with me for free. To make up for these out-goings, I am a religious user of discount sites such as Unidays, TOTUM and Student Beans, and very often use my colleague discounts from my job at Tesco. I recommend making the most of any job-enabled discounts!

 Cashback options

 Another helping hand with balancing your in-goings and out-goings can come from cashback schemes such as TopCashback and Quidco. These sites are free to join and offer cashback options on thousands of online purchasing sites including Amazon, Trainline and O2. Many banks also offer monthly cashback offers. For example, this month Lloyds bank is offering its customers up to 15% cashback on any purchases made at stores including Café Nero, Jack Wills, and Yo! Sushi. You can view these offers on most mobile banking apps.

There’s a lot to take in here, but taking just a few of these tips on board could make a real difference for you. Hope this helps!

 

Quality coffee at an affordable price

Many of us rely on a morning cup of coffee to kick-start our day – but how much money could we save if we chose to brew our own? What if we gave up caffeine altogether? Student Writer Melissa explores both the financial and health benefits of rethinking our coffee habits.

Many students crave that coffee in the mornings to wake up for an important lecture or exam and to see them through the day. Although the caffeine hit can be satisfying, it can also become expensive to buy from a café every day.  One of the best ways to save some money without having to get rid of your coffee habit entirely is by brewing your own cup at home. In fact, brewing your own coffee at home can save you up to £25 a week – that’s a saving of £100 a month and more than £1000 over the course of a year.

During Student Money Week from 18-22 March we’re considering how to make the best use of our money, and that includes making our coffee habits more budget-friendly.

Here are a couple of the most popular and value for money coffees you can make at home and bring to university.

  • Instant Coffee: Nescafe’s original blend is popular, cheap and cheerful and is enough to give you a boost on the way to that 9am lecture.
  • Espresso ground coffee: Finer Italian coffee brands such as Azerra Espresso (Nescafe) and Taylor’s taste great, come in funky flavours and are fast way to make coffee to pour into your Thermos without breaking the bank. At £4 a bag, try one type of coffee for a week and see if it works for you- my favourite flavour is High Voltage!
  • Coffee machines: Although a more expensive option, if you live in a house share or in halls, splitting the cost of a coffee machine between a group of your friends or housemates can be cheaper than you think, and can be as little as £6 each based on a house of 5 students. Here is a list of popular, affordable machines that could save you money in the long run, especially if you split the cost with friends.

Alternatively- Cut down on the caffeine

While coffee provides a good amount of caffeine, there are other ways you can get that same jolt of energy without having to buy a cup from the café. Exercising, eating energy-boosting superfoods, staying hydrated, and getting sun exposure can give you the same energy without spending extra cash that could be spent on a good night out with friends.

Cutting down on caffeine also results in lower blood pressure and can increase the amount and quality of sleep you get. Studies have shown that reducing your coffee intake decreases your anxiety levels, results in weight loss and healthier teeth. More of the benefits can be read here.

So if you want to cap your caffeine intake or save your pennies, think of the different ways you can do it- you can end up saving enough money for that festival you were thinking of going on this summer!

Save the Pennies- Picking the Perfect Packed Lunch

When you have a busy schedule it can be tempting to grab food on the go, but the cost of this soon adds up… Melissa talks about the financial benefits of making time to prepare lunch at home.

There’s nothing quite like an exciting lunch to look forward to after that mid-morning lecture has finished. That feeling of going to the café to get your favourite sandwich and those all-important salt and vinegar crisps.

When I first came to university, I quite enjoyed the convenience of buying a sandwich every day from the many cafeterias that the university has to offer. The sandwiches taste great and I love a good Mars bar after an intense lecture. I quickly began to realise how much money I was spending on lunch each week, so a cheaper option needed consideration.

I quickly started making a packed lunch everyday with fresh food from my local supermarket to eat on campus. Not only could I eat what I wanted everyday (which varied from sandwiches to healthy salads) but I saved a lot of money doing this, on average £10 a week. By bringing my own packed lunch, I was saving £40 a month, which made my money go further across each semester.

It is important to remember that packed lunches can really save the pennies and pounds in your pocket. A sandwich you make yourself costs a fraction of the price of a pre-packaged one, and you can buy bread and ingredients in bulk to make enough sandwiches for a whole week. If you think about how much you could save by bringing a packed lunch, you could end up saving on average £400 a year; that’s enough to make me continue making my own sandwiches and buying my salt and vinegar crisps from the supermarket.

Top tip- the ultimate lunchbox? Try my favourite: French bread, sliced mozzarella cheese, a handful of rocket and 2 slices of prosciutto ham. Add to that a sprig of grapes from the fruit bowl at home and a refillable bottle of water to keep you going throughout the day, and enjoy the fact that you’re eating a delicious lunch and saving money at the same time… maybe spend the savings on a posh lunchbox.

How I survived my first year at uni

Studying full time brings some financial challenges with it, and it can take time to get used to juggling all your new financial commitments after moving away from home. Student Writer Taz shares her tips for making your money go further during your first year at uni and beyond.

If there’s one thing my first year at uni taught me, it’s that money definitely doesn’t grow on trees- or from Student Finance for that matter. Yes, applying for a student loan is very advisable, but in more cases than not it is not a pool of money that you can wholly rely on to get you through each week.

Unlike living at home, living at university comes with many added costs including food shopping, travel, and socialising. And it’s up to you how you decide to budget your spending. With all things considered, I’ve come up with a few helpful tips which are guaranteed to give you more control over your weekly outgoings.

Food shopping

We’re all human beings and we’ve all got to eat. How sensible you are when it comes to buying food, however, is up to you. One of the most important ways to save money on your food shop is to sign up to student discount and loyalty schemes. For example, having a Co-op membership card as well as a TOTUM Card will save you 20% on your shop at Co-op (a bonus considering we have one on campus!). At the same time, small things such as remembering to take your own carrier bags and going with a pre-written shopping list will save you those few extra pennies and ensure that you don’t get tempted to overspend. Planning your meals for the next week before your shop can also be beneficial when it comes to not wasting your food. It’s a great idea to plan what meals you could cook in bulk (curry, spag bol, chilli) so you can buy enough ingredients. This will save both time and effort during the week. You might also want to consider buying the shop’s own brand ingredients. Your mum might buy Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s brands, but as far as the student life goes, this really isn’t necessary!

Travel

At Reading, we’re lucky that our campus is within walking distance of pretty much all student accommodation. However, there will be times when you’ll want to travel into town, to work, or to even go home. To help reduce the cost of these journeys, ensure you make use of the Reading buses ‘Boost’ scheme (reduced prices for students) and get yourself a 16-25 railcard for the train. The railcard is only £30 for a year and saves you 30% off the price of your rail ticket each time (it has saved me hundreds over the years!). Equally, if travelling home from town after a night out, remember that (if you can get it safely), the buses run 24 hours. Sharing taxis or using the Uber app can also save you money.

Socialising

It’s an undeniable fact that on top of your basic spending, you’re also going to want some money to spend on fun stuff too. If it’s Wednesday or Saturday Union you’re after, the University offer a reduced entry price for TOTUM card holders; another reason why having this card is so beneficial. Additionally, the drinks sold across campus bars are genuinely quite affordable (as long as you know how much you can afford to spend). Similarly, there are many bars (particularly Spoons) in town that offer Happy Hour offers and student prices.

There are also plenty of other student offers for things non-clubbing related across town. These include student offers for Bowling (at Wokingham Superbowl) and ticket discounts at the Vue and Showcase cinemas.

Eating Out

Thanks to the Oracle’s lovely food court, and the hundreds of takeaway branches around uni, there are plenty of opportunities for a tasty treat every so often. To help you out with these costs, the Unidays and TOTUM apps are ideal. Likewise, many takeaways also offer student meal deals and discounts so it’s always worth checking.

Alternatively, if it’s takeaway coffee you’re after to get you through a 9am lecture, there are also plenty of subsidised prices on campus. Many of the uni’s cafes also offer discount when using pre-loaded Campus Cards to pay.

Budgeting Advice Elsewhere

Whilst these tips are from experience (and hopefully very helpful to you), there are also professional sources of advice which are there for you to make use of. These include the Money Saving Expert’s tips and the University’s Student Financial Support Team. At the same time, if you haven’t already considered it, securing a part-time job will help to relieve any money stress by a huge amount. To search uni-based job openings, visit Campus Jobs. 

Happy Budgeting!

International Women’s Day 2019

Student Writer Emily talks about the significance of International Women’s Day, and shares how we can all get involved this year.

What is it?

March 8th marks International Women’s Day; a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. International Women’s Day occurs annually and has done for the past century: a global day which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year however you should expect to see the official campaign hashtag of #BalanceforBetter trending on social media, as International Women’s Day will be making a call for action on accelerating gender balance.

Why celebrate it?

Anyone can celebrate International Women’s Day and honour remarkable contributions to our society. This positive protest recognises the need to continue to build more equitable societies. It’s particularly important as women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

Notable alumni such as Edith Morley, remind us of how far women’s rights have come in the past 100 years. Appointed as Professor of English Language at Reading in 1908, she is believed to be the first woman to be awarded the title professor in an English University. If you happen to be down on the London Road campus, you can check out her commemorative plaque on route to the Dairy.

Striking up the #BalanceforBetter pose

How can you get involved?

On campus, Reading University Feminist Society (FemSoc) are celebrating International Women’s Day with a showing of ‘Hidden Figures’ in the evening. This event welcomes anyone to attend and will feature a debate and discussion afterwards with a focus on the IWD theme of ‘Better for Balance’, led by their Diversity Officer. Though this is a free event, they will be taking donations to raise money for Trust House Reading and providing snacks and pizza. Yes, you read that right: pizza. In other words, cancel that quiet night in and take your flatmates along to enjoy a thought-provoking film and stimulating discussion to celebrate the important day.

If you feel too busy to spare your evening, you can still get involved by wearing something purple in your outfit. Historically, purple has been used a colour for symbolising women and has been associated with efforts to achieve gender equality.

In this context, it was used alongside green and white as these were the colours of the Women’s Social and Political Union. When the suffragettes fought for their right to vote, purple represented ‘the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette’ and therefore IWD uses the colour purple in solidarity as a tribute to the suffragettes.

Put International Women’s Day in your diary, get involved via social media and if you’re brave enough, take a photo and strike up the official #BalanceforBetter pose too!

By Emily Shewell

Beating Depression

We all have days when our mood is low, and we feel sad or miserable. Usually these feelings pass in due course. However, if the feelings are persistent and interfering with your daily life, it could mean that you are experiencing depression. For University Mental Health Day, Elliot shares his story.

I used to be depressed.

For 15 years, I struggled with something I didn’t comprehend, knowing only that I’d sometimes wake up so despondent, it was like a stomach-curdling pain.

At worst, I was so dulled that day-to-day activity was dream-like, and I was alternating between extreme oversleep and days-long insomnia.

The impact was gradual, but huge. Grades plummeted, socialising became an unconquerable pressure, and sports began feeling like a pointless drag. I began withdrawing, and was in a constantly alternating state of apathy or resignation at what seemed like a listless reality I couldn’t escape – and a nervous, directionless anger at what I felt my life had become, and the circumstances I believed responsible. Somehow, I got to university (riding off past records of previously excellent grades). It became quickly – and painfully – obvious how ill-prepared I was, both emotionally and socially. Self-isolation, lack of interest, and lack of participation had left me on the outskirts of the university experience, and ever-present apathy made coping with university-level study nearly impossible.

These days, I’m no longer depressed – I want to talk about how.

Wanting change

I didn’t have an epiphany – but I do remember thinking this wasn’t what I wanted, or the person I wanted to be. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted instead – just not THIS.

I started seeing a counselor – which while helpful in the short-term, wasn’t quite enough. So I sat down and Googled ‘how to overcome depression’. A particular writer spoke of similar experiences, and in particular, a critical realization: after waiting years for circumstances to change, so his attitude could improve – he thought he’d try changing his attitude first, then seeing if his circumstances changed as a result.

He also acknowledged my reaction to reading that – it sounded like the trite, feel-good mantras on social-media image macros.

Then again nothing had helped in over 10 years – so, what did I have to lose? And in the end, this was the key for me – but first I had to understand what depression is, as well as why it happens.

What is this?

Eventually, I had three ways to define depression (one of which is completely anecdotal):

  1. A clinical diagnosis.

A significant period of low mood, accompanied by low self-esteem, general loss of interest, a sense of pain, and sometimes, false beliefs or even hallucination. Because of its generality, it affects every element of your life, including work/study, and relationships. It also has major health implications, since it can be connected to existing health problems.

  1. A state of mind.

Anecdotally – I also knew it to be a sort of weird place where completely obsessing over my problems was the norm; rather than putting efforts into an actual solution.

  1. A neurochemical mechanism.

When you think, neurons form connections in your brain. The more you use this pathway (i.e. think this thought) – the clearer the pathway gets, and the more likely this pathway gets used in future. It’s the same mechanism that allows revision and memorisation to work – the more your brain follows certain patterns, the easier it’ll be to reproduce them in future.

So depression is you getting trapped in negative thought patterns – which are just overused neuronal (i.e. mental) pathways – which in turn distracts from actually working out and implementing solutions to problems.

This is what gave me the key to a step-by-step process that allowed me to leave depression behind:

How to Conquer Depression

  1. Stop negative thoughts

True or not – negative thoughts (about yourself, others, your abilities, others’ abilities, etc.) make you feel terrible. They pull you down until those negative thoughts are your normal, and you need to be able to push them out completely. Early on, I had to mentally yell ‘STOP’ anytime I caught myself having negative thoughts about myself, others, or life – which was often.

  1. Replace negative with constructive and future-focused

Not ‘happy’ thoughts – self-affirmations are nice, but aren’t a long-term solution. I think a more productive focus is the things you’re doing to improve yourself, your career, or a skill you want. Are you making music? Working out regularly? Studying a subject you’re crazy about? Learning a new hobby? Anytime you start thinking negatively, instead force yourself to think about the progress you’re making, how desirable the end-result will look, and how much you want what it is you’re working on.

This ‘crowds out’ the negative thoughts – meaning they stop making you feel as bad, and can’t come back since you’re instead focusing on the things you’re doing to improve yourself (bonus – the more you think about these – and feel good about them – the more progress you’ll want to make).

The kicker, of course – is that you need to be doing something to improve yourself. I’d highly recommend something physically challenging – but really, most things are fair game as long as you’re interested in it and getting better at it either because you like it, or you want to make long-term improvements to yourself (for me – I was working out a lot and learning about cooking).

  1. Force it

Something that initial writer I stumbled across warned of– which I knew to be true – was that these mental changes would have to be forced.

It doesn’t feel natural – which makes sense, when you think that you’re having to force your brain out of a heavily ingrained neuron-pathway.

Early on was difficult – and I failed many attempts to improve myself.

Don’t get down on yourself. It’s ok – it’s like learning anything new. Just take it easy, and do it for a bit longer next time. And then again for the next time. And again. After a while – this is something you won’t even have to think about, but getting there is a process.

My experience of long-term care, and medication

The process I’ve outlined above is what I credit with getting me out of negative thought patterns that plagued my depression. That being said – I found that this wasn’t a complete fix.

Depression had become a fixture of my life. While the process always got me out initially (and still does), I found that certain things would trigger it again. In particular, being in a position where I wasn’t moving forward, or when I felt like I had no options. Thus, I had to learn to always be improving myself in ways I cared about, and always creating options if I felt trapped.  And for some people – this is enough. Stay vigilant about your thoughts, stay constructive, and always be progressing in something (be it hobbies, career, relationships, or some other long-term plan).

But EVEN then – I found on occasion, debilitating bouts came back. Far less frequently than before – but still, they returned, even when I had no REASON for it. At this point, when all other options have been exhausted – medication became something I decided to finally explore.

Do your research, speak to your GP. The first week had frightening side-effects. I waited a long time to use it, and only as a last resort – they are in no way a quick-fix (or even a first-hand fix) – but I can say that they seem to have been the final piece in the puzzle of permanently managing the more unpredictable surges, but only after I had my mental resistance and awareness sorted.

Moving forward

Not everyone makes the changes– I’ve known plenty (including family and friends) who waited their entire lives for change, not being able to escape damaging thought cycles and depression.

But depending on ‘getting things’ or changes in circumstances to make you happy, or fix depression will always fail – no matter how much you get, it’ll never be enough to make you happy.

It comes down to you. No one saves you – not ‘things’, not family, friends, lovers, mentors, or heroes – because this battle is inside your own head. You are very simply the only one who can change how you see life, and the world.

And that’s good.

Because the truth is – and always was – that breaking the back of depression is a power in your own hands, and in your own head. Your fate, your future, and your direction are entirely yours to decide.

So. If you haven’t already – here’s hoping that you grab the reins, and start steering.

What is public art?

Student writer Abi adds to the discussion on public art around campus, and explores the connection between public art and wellbeing. This is the first event in a series taking place this week that will ask us the question: what is public art?

The University is commissioning for public artwork in University public places. It is part of the University Art Strategy but also aims to connect all members of the University community with aspects of University life – our values, identity, sense of place, learning, teaching and research.

This week (4–8 March), a range of events, workshops and talks are being held to raise awareness and spark discussion with staff and students of where and what public art should be. I stopped by the ‘Chalk Drawing’ event in Palmer to have a look at the collaborative art. Unfortunately, the poor weather meant it had to be moved to the Palmer Foyer –but that didn’t stop the artists engaging with students, getting a few curious glances and asking passers-by: ‘What is public art?’

 

I was met by friendly staff and students who explained to me the project and asked for my thoughts on what public art meant to me and why it’s important.

Examples of public art can be as obvious as the Cloud Gate in Chicago or a peculiar bench in a public space. I had never considered the importance of public art to wellbeing. The five steps to mental wellbeing include connect, be active, keep learning, give and be mindful. All of which can be linked to public art. ‘Connect’ is something we do unconsciously too: we often walk past paintings, or sculptures in our everyday lives and associate them with a certain place. Public art, like the Cloud Gate in Chicago, becomes an identifier for the space. Another example of this includes the lion in Forbury Gardens.

Whilst talking to Miranda, the Arts Development Officer, we discussed different perceptions of public art: Is public art a luxury? Does art on campus have to be Reading-related? How do the current (very few) artwork or paintings on campus shape the space? She was particularly interested to find out how we, as students experience the University space and what aspects of student life and experience would we want to see in a commissioned artwork.

The event itself was very enjoyable, and it was great to escape the everyday and talk all-things-art for an hour. I highly recommend others to try one of these events:

Lunchtime Workshop: Tuesday 5 March, Palmer G02 & Friday 8 March, Palmer G06.
Information Stall: Wednesday 6 March, Library Foyer 12-2pm.
Tree Walks: Wednesday 6 March 10-11.30am at MERL Gardens, 2-3.30pm at Whiteknights campus.
Artist talk: Wednesday 6 March 1-2pm, Nike Theatre, Agriculture building.
Living Sculpture: Thursday 7 March 1-2pm, near Friends’ Bridge (or URS if it is raining)

Or tweet @Rdg_Uni_arts with the hashtag #WhatIsPublicArt with your thoughts and questions!

 The first artist is expected to be commissioned this summer. Have your say on what and where art should be on campus, and what public art means to you!

For more information, visit: https://blogs.reading.ac.uk/arts/public-art/