Liberal Arts

Tamaratare, Liberal Arts graduate

Tamaratare stands by a lake in autumn, she wears a think pale jumper and looks openly at the camera

Tamaratare, talks to us about choosing modules from the very long list available to Liberal Arts students and how that choice has helped her develop a career in the performing arts.

We also discuss how a chance encounter led her to being scouted by the GB American Flag Football team.


Navigating module choice in a Liberal Arts BA

"I did the International Baccalaureate so had studied a range of English, humanities and culture subjects and I didn't want to give that variety up. Also, I have this internal conflict of feeling like a very academic student but also loving the performing arts and wanted to find a degree that allowed me to explore these two areas.

I let this desire for a balance between academic and performing modules shape my module selection. We studied two core modules Introduction to Liberal Arts and Explorations: Space and Place where we looked at different areas of humanities and social sciences, archaeology, sociology and psychology, and I was able to apply these to my interests of music and musical theatre. When choosing my optional modules, I tailored these around performing arts but included modules that allowed me to study the theory too. 

Those first few modules allow you to get to know your strengths and preferences, I did a lot better in my music modules and they are the ones that I enjoyed most so it made sense for me to go down that route.

I chose Reading Film and Television from the Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies, Drama, Theatre, Performance from the School of English and various composition and music performance modules within the Department of Music. This selection allowed me to hone a wide variety of performing arts skills, such as directing, looking at scripts, composition and music performance where I was able to sing and compose music. 

Ross Wilson was my personal tutor and he's also the director of Liberal Arts. I can't even explain what an absolute hero that man is, I think I can vouch for every single liberal arts student in saying that he goes above and beyond. 

Another reason I chose this degree over a single subject degree is that I had the option to change direction in any year if I wanted to.

The music modules definitely had a big impact on where I am now. In particular, a music performance module, where I had an amazing singing teacher, Sarah Simmonds. She was the first teacher to ask me 'what is it that you want to do as a singer? What are your strengths?' She got me to sing everything from musical theatre to opera to pop to jazz and she picked out where my strengths were and where I needed to make improvements. We discovered that my natural ability was in musical theatre.

Despite following a music and performing focus within my Liberal Arts degree I never considered taking a straight Music degree. I didn't want to limit myself just to the one subject as my interests were much wider than that. There were subjects I'd really enjoyed at school that I wanted to have the opportunity to revisit.

I took The Hollywood Musical module in my final year so I spent a lot of my time studying musical theatre, watching them, analysing them and also preparing myself to be a performer. The module looked at a lot of different themes such as racial themes and representation of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Tamaratare is caught in the middle of singing, she holds a microphone and you can see she's very happy

My module selection definitely encouraged me to explore how I could take my music and performing arts skills out into the real world.

I'm already applying that knowledge today through my singing and acting work as I'm currently acting in the Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet and Giselle, performing as a musical performer at Chessington World of Adventures and a jazz singer. It's really good to put the theory and vocational into practice. 


My experience of societies

I was a member of so many societies, The Dance Society, Songwriting Society, the Music Society I was on the athletics team, the American Football team and worked at URN Radio. I loved it, I was always really busy and it was a great way of meeting people. I made a lot of friends through sports and societies that I feel I'm going to have for a long time.

Of all my uni achievements, I'm most proud of the progress that I made in my societies, when I first joined the Dance Society I felt intimidated and likewise with American Football, I'd never played it before. But then by the end of my time at Nottingham I'd won awards/accolades in both. I got the Most Improved Dancer award and Most Valuable Player award from the American Football team. If you'd told me that I would have been able to get those awards when I joined those societies, I would have said you are crazy.

A chance encounter with an amazing outcome

During my Drama, Theatre, Performance module I happened to be directing a play alongside the captain of the American Football Team. I had always been very sporty in school but had never had the opportunity to play American football before, so I when she invited me to a taster session I decided to give it a try. I made the team and ended up getting scouted by the GB American Flag Football team! I've been training with them since graduating and am now on their development team and at the start of a potential new sporting career.

Tamaratare wearing a yellow and black strip whilst playing American Flag Football. She's caught in action mid-game.

One of the biggest challenges I faced was a feeling of isolation, particularly during the lockdowns. I got through this by getting involved with my societies and reaching out to them. 

Go further

Find out more about studying Liberal Arts

University of Nottingham

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Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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