Emily Pilling

Foundation Year 2019-20

Apprenticeship at Christie's Auction House, London


I am starting an apprenticeship with the London office of the fine art auction house Christie’s. The school enabled me to undertake work experience there during term time which really helped me with my application, and it made me certain that I wanted to pursue a career there. 

During the course, every Friday we would visit a different gallery around London as part of the Contextual Studies programme. I’m from outside of London, so I’ve only ever visited the bigger galleries but we also went to small independent galleries that really inspired my work – I could see how these weekly visits changed my practice over time.

This foundation course had taught me so much more about art than the school I went to for sixth form. I received a lot more tutoring and learnt more about my capabilities in art. I visited Trinity Buoy Wharf on one of their open days and I loved how small and intimate the course was. It offered lot more one-to-one time with tutors than any other foundation course. For me being able to speak about my ideas and get inspiration from tutors is very important in helping me produce work.


My tutor throughout the year was Sam Marshall. She really motivated me to push myself with my work and not be afraid to try a new medium or produce work I don’t normally produce. I could speak comfortably to Sam about all my ideas and she would also help me if I needed some direction in my work.

Everyone on the foundation year was very close. Throughout the year we were put in different rotations, where we were working in different groups. Through the rotation we also worked with all the tutors, where they were able to get to know everyone individually.


Even before The Foundation Year I was really interested in photography and halfway through the year I started working in the dark room again. I found I kept leaning towards working in the dark room again and again, producing double exposure images.  It was interesting to see how far I could push the work I was producing. I was also introduced to printmaking during the course; I had not had an opportunity before to do any kind of printmaking before but I enjoyed it so much that I based one of my first projects on it, experimenting with producing my own designs.