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Student story

Rata Holtslag

20 July 2023

"The opportunity to work within the arts field was incredibly valuable..."


Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Theory and English

Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Art History

Rata has always been interested in the arts, particularly music and literature, and she loves to spend time in galleries and museums. She also believes firmly in the importance of education. By studying Art History and Theory and English at UC, she has been able to expand her interests to a level which she hopes will get her into a career in the field.

"I’m hoping to become a curator," she says. "But I’m not 100% sure… the beauty of a UC arts degree is that it allows you to figure these things out along the way, and experiment a bit in terms of career paths."

One such experiment was to take the internship course, ARTS 395, which allowed her to work on projects at the AA Deans Trust and UC’s own Art History department.

"Both projects gave me the opportunity to put what I have learned throughout my degree into practice, and to gain skills that will benefit me in pursuing a career as a curator," she says. "The opportunity to work within the arts field was incredibly valuable in giving me a glimpse into what it would be like to follow that path."

"I also found it gave me a lot of confidence and a feeling that, even as a student, my input and contributions were valid."

Her honours thesis also tapped into UC’s history, examining the buildings on campus designed by Hall and Mackenzie Architects who were active from the 1950s-80s.

"I paid particular attention to the Computer Centre, the Registry (Matariki), and the School of Fine Arts complex, examining how they fit into the context of wider Christchurch architecture and contributed to the formation of a local architecture vernacular."

When she was deciding where to study, the reputation of UC’s College of Arts was a key factor. "I’d already heard positive things about the Arts here. The staff in the Art History department in particular are very passionate about the subject, and this really helps to spark a passion in students as well."

"I was also excited to be a part of campus life," she adds.

"I’d advise anyone thinking about studying Art History to come and talk to people here! They are really friendly and helpful and will ensure you get the most out of your time here at UC."

Now graduated from her honours degree, Rata is about to head to the Netherlands for a year to live and work within the ‘great arts hub’ of Europe, and plans to continue her studies in the near future.

"I'm hoping to do Museum Studies when I return and eventually my Master of Arts, perhaps on domestic mid-century architecture and furniture in New Zealand."

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