Emma with a film themed background

Student of the week: Emma Howes – Film Studies and Drama

That’s tough, but if I was to choose three words they would be curious, creative and collaborative.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

I have really enjoyed my time at Queen Mary so far. The teaching style is very different from the one that I experienced in high school, I didn’t take Drama GCSEs or A-Levels and instead experienced conservatoire-style training, focusing on acting, rather than the wider process. I have really enjoyed learning about the more theoretical aspects of drama, as a practice and as a ‘theory’. My favourite module so far was London, Culture, Performance. Understanding the impact of performances, theatres and wider impact that they have was incredibly interesting and insightful and left me with a lot to consider.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

The course has changed my perspective of what performance can be and the impact it has in a wider contexts. The QM drama modules are, by nature, very abstract and require you to have an open mind and whilst pushing me to creative limits, have made me reconsider the defining aspects of performance. After Queen Mary, I am hoping to go into the casting field, and I particularly want to focus on diversifying representation within the entertainment industry, both on stage and on screen. Both the drama and film departments have provided me opportunities to consider the importance of casting and representation, the pitfalls that the industry has, and ways in which these pitfalls can be properly rectified. These considerations have been furthered by the diverse student body at QM, I have been able to listen to others’ perspectives and truly understand how and where different people, cultures, communities want, and don’t want, to be perceived.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

In my first year at QM I joined the cheerleading team, and it really helped to shape my friendship groups and my university life outside of my studies. Having never attempted the sport before, I took the opportunity to try something new, thinking, if nothing else, it could be a bit of fun to try. I ended up falling in love with it! Being part of a team and working towards a goal helped bring an aspect of community and stability to the mania of first year, meanwhile, allowing me to further challenge myself physically and mentally. This year I am captain of the All-Girl team, and am improving my leadership skills, and well as my ability to creatively problem solve everything that lockdown has thrown our way!

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

Before coming to QM I spent two summers working at an underprivileged summer camp in New York. The impact this had on me was profound, and it was incredibly inspiring to hear the stories of young people who have experienced deep hardships in their lives and to then see their resilience and optimism for their futures. Alongside having career ambitions, I hope to one day give back and provide opportunities for young people to nurture and fulfil their talents. It feels premature to say this, as I feel as though I still have my whole life ahead of me, but ultimately, they are the future, and they deserve to, alongside being safe and happy, follow their dreams.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

I think a stronger aspect of community could be built at QM, with more opportunities to organically collaborate on a wider range of things. I think the drama department has done a great job of this, and the collaborative nature of the practical side of the course has definitely helped to foster this atmosphere. But I have felt, particularly as a joint honours student and with everything being online this year, other departments have not put the same emphasis on such a crucial aspect of university life.

Find out more about our Film Studies and Drama

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