Video of one of Yulia’s projects, Lifted

Yulia Ivanova has had a wide-ranging career since graduating from GMD in 2009. Over the last 10 years she has honed her skills in project management and curation with social impact. We interviewed her about her experiences since leaving LCC.
What are you doing now and where?
I’m an independent art curator based in London. It’s a varied role, as it combines project management and creative direction. One week I can negotiate with venues or work on transportation logistics, and the next I am visiting artists’ studios, writing exhibition proposals or travelling for an art fair. At the moment I am working on a touring exhibition to celebrate the centenary of the Magistrates Association titled 2020 Vision: 100 Years of Justice.
How did you get to where you are now?

It has been a very long and winding road! Over the years I have worked in graphic design, event management, operations, marketing and project management across multiple industries including advertising, publishing, entrepreneurship support, conference management and healthcare marketing. I won’t list my entire CV, but I want to highlight key moments that have equipped me to do what I do now:

During the second year of my degree, I did a semester abroad at FIT in New York. I fell in with the graffiti and street art crowd and spent 5 months meeting both emerging and established artists, attending lots of underground shows and learning how the scene operates there. When I came back to London, I formed an art collective ‘Side Effects’ with my LCC mates and organised a few exhibitions.

After graduating in 2009, I spent 2 years at a startup called NACUE that was dedicated to promoting and supporting student entrepreneurship. As their Operations Director, I managed systems and workflows, and two annual conferences. I learnt how to bootstrap, how to get in-kind support and that ‘organising’ wasn’t common sense, it was a skill and a career.

A few years in conference management allowed me to refine my project management skills, learn how to work with and manage a team, how to sell and how to manage venues.

About 3 years ago I quit the office work world and got back to my original passion, which is art. I invested a lot of time into reading book and articles, listening to podcasts, attending talks and exhibitions. I began with small self-initiated projects, and one of them led to my first paid curator gig.

Best things about your job?
Everything… I ‘structure’ the job myself, so I design it to fit my needs and wants. I love working independently to have full control of my time, my objectives, and my day-to-day.
In terms of the curating itself – I believe in art as a tool for positive change, so I choose projects that involve some positive social impact. That’s a big motivation for me, and it’s very rewarding.
Any reflections on your time studying BA GMD? 

I miss it a lot!!! I had a great time, and I met my closest friends.

One of the key things I only realised in hindsight was how transferrable the theory was! I used to find it annoying during projects in class, but once I began working in entrepreneurship I saw how relevant and invaluable it was. Now it’s called design-thinking and lauded as the future of everything.

What are your plans for your career in the future?
I am working on developing my art writing, that’s a big focus for me at the moment. In the future, I’d like to work on some international projects.

Any tips for current GMD students? / Any tips for working from home!?
For current students:
  1. Enjoy every moment and seize every opportunity
  2. Meet and get to know everyone you can in the building – one of the best things about LCC is the people
  3. Make the most of all the facilities!
  4. Collaborate with other courses on self-initiated projects
Working from home:
  1. Set up a dedicated workspace and stick to a routine
  2. Exercise and stretch daily
  3. Indulge in your “time off” so it regenerates you for the next working day
  4. Be gentle with yourself – it’s OK to be less productive during a global pandemic 😉
Website (currently being redesigned):
Instagram: @yulia_i
Video of one of Yulia’s projects, Lifted:

Video of one of Yulia’s projects, Lifted