Published: 18 Jul 2014

Prague College alumnus embarks on PhD at the Royal College of Art

Peter Le Couteur, who graduated from Prague College with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art Experimental Media, has recently returned to the UK to continue his studies at London’s prestigious Royal College of Art. We asked him about the move.

“Well, I'd had my eye on the Royal College for many years, since before I moved to Prague, in fact. I joined Prague College in order to help me take my portfolio to the next level, to enable me to apply to the RCA. It's one of the few institutions which specialize in practice-led fine art research. This means that you can get a research qualification, an MPhil or a PhD, by making as well as writing, which I think is hugely important.”

Tell us something about the kind of work you’re engaged in at the moment

"My general interest is in installations which combine text and objects into an immersive environment. Very into Mike Nelson and Ilya Kabakov, for example. This PhD research project is about fictive museums, that is, museums which blur the line between fact and fantasy by including strange and amazing material. A cross between hoax, museum, installation and narrative. A very exciting area of study for me, and the small museum I'm working with, the John Affey Museum.”

Where are your studies taking you next?

"Part of my research project is about thinking and writing about some of these strange museum/artworks that I've found around the world. A great example is the Museum of Innocence in Istanbul, or also the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, which I'm visiting this summer. The other half of my project is in helping to create a small museum which plays with these ideas. And, to my surprise, it seems like this museum might be mostly virtual, taking the form of a website-based browser game or hypertext. This is a bit of a change for me as the thing I like best is making real objects, I'm really not a virtual, interactive media artist, though I do love to play computer games and surf the web, obviously. I'm excited about the idea of a web project, because it means that the work will be much more accessible to people from different places."

As an alumnus of Durham University and Bristol School of Art, you’ve had quite a bit of experience of different academic institutions. How does Prague College measure up?

"For me, the most important thing was that Prague College helped me to stop over-planning, to stop over-thinking, and just get on with what I wanted to do. To experiment. That's probably why the course was called Experimental Media! From the start, the course leaders really invested in getting us to come together as a group. We're still close, actually. They encouraged us to learn from each other, and to combine our skills. We were lucky to have a generous studio space, and a generous group. I would recommend Prague College on the basis of its size, its friendliness, and the kind of independent, creative students it attracts."

Thanks very much Peter; good luck with the rest of your course at the Royal College, and we look forward to seeing more of you and your work next time you're in Prague.