Writing and reviewing the arts: from student to now

As I’ve started to write again, I got thinking about the experience that first combined my passion for the arts and collecting my thoughts down on paper and/or the page.

During my time as a writer for the University of Birmingham’s student newspaper, ‘Redbrick’, I had the amazing experience of being a ‘Culture Critic’. This title allowed me to see and review a whole host of different and vibrant productions, from the RSC stage to operas by Mozart. 

My very first article was to interview the writer and comedian Ruby Wax. What an opportunity! I couldn’t believe it and I was so nervous to phone this amazing lady from my new student flat. Wax was funny and engaging, everything you could hope for. I was relieved that my research and nervous enthusiasm had enabled me to make a good start in a role I knew I wanted to do well at and for the duration of my time at university. I am proud and thankful that this was the case, even with increasingly stressful deadlines!

One week I would be reviewing the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), the next I would be listening to Sir Ranulph Fiennes’s extraordinary polar exploits. I explored galleries, libraries and the occasional National Trust property in my spare time too.

I’ve always seen myself as a jack of all trades but master of none. For a long time I thought that this was a weakness. I should focus my attention on the visual arts, no music. Maybe heritage? But perhaps that is the magic of it all and I should actually be grateful for this ‘weakness’. I find enjoyment in many areas across the arts and that is something that should be celebrated. You have to narrow down and make select choices in many areas of your life, but cultural and artistic enjoyment doesn’t have to be one of them. My time writing for Redbrick confirmed this to me and I will always be grateful for that.

I have linked my Redbrick writer’s page here: https://www.redbrick.me/author/ruth-horsburgh/

Please take a look. Let me know what production, exhibition or place you would have liked to have seen or one you hope to see soon!

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