Graduate, Trang Pham, explains how her time at Hut 136 helped her to slow down and take stock, before moving into the next phase of her life after completing her degree.
Every day for three days, in August 2017, I have taken the train from London Victoria to Herne Bay. Before the trip I have constructed a structure of what I would do each day and the activities I would do when I got to Herne Bay. I even bought all the train tickets beforehand and tried to make sure they are at a similar time to each other; both the departures and returns. However, things don’t go per plan: I end up not doing everything that I set out to do, and I miss one of my trains on the second day, and on the third day it was more of a farewell trip. Nevertheless, I have learnt that I should just be in the moment, enjoy things for what they are. While I was at the Hut 136 I felt that it was a pause, a temporary breathing space and for that I am grateful.
The things that I had planned to do at Hut 136 was drawing, thinking and walking. I ended up mainly just walking, filming and thinking. I love walking but I realise that being in the city, one is easily distracted, it is not easy to be with nature. Being in Herne Bay I was seduced by the sea, I just wanted to stare at it; the change of tide, the waves, and the sky. I believe it has taken away the pressure I felt while I was in the city, this needing to do something, to have a plan, that things need to have a meaning. The more I walk along the seaside, the more I stop trying to think and instead to be with my surroundings.
After graduating from an undergraduate degree in Fine Art, I feel relieved but at the same time I feel a bit lost, scared. In the last three years, it has been constantly busy, I feel that I have split myself into three persons; a student, a worker, and a traveller. Upon graduating I am excited to do many things that I could not do while I was studying. Maybe travelling for a longer period, going on residencies, doing interesting projects. I realise however that I fear of having nothing to do. While being in university, I could fall back on being a student but now being out of study it feels like I need to have something to do.
Being at Herne Bay I have decided to just let it be, I will just make and explore and do what I want in the moment. Even though things might not turn out the way I wanted, I may not get that job, internship, residency or opportunity but there are things that I do get, there are opportunities that are open for me and there are kind people out there that I have yet to meet. I want to go as far as I can, and try my best. Even though nothing is easy, and I am quite scared of the unknown, I feel now that I need to trust in myself and to take it step by step. I have realised that being somewhere else for half a day can re-fill my energy, even if it is just a few hours away from the city. I have gained an understanding that kindness is also about being kind to oneself, to let go and not be too critical on ourselves.
I feel that I am in a transitional time, I am constantly looking for opportunity and things to do, projects to do, inspiration for my work but I also realise that this is a lifestyle. I should slow down as I need to take care of myself to make good work!