Build Blog

Q&A with Şenay Camgöz - Foundation art and design diploma

Story added 6th Mar 2018

HALA, Şenay Camgöz (Photo credit: Ollie Harrop)

With this year’s Foundation art and design exhibition opening later this month, we took some time to catch up with exhibiting student Şenay Camgöz to find out more about her experiences of the course and her plans for the future. AND/then: Build Foundation Diploma Exhibition 2018 is taking place at The Menier Gallery from Thursday 22 - Saturday 24 March 2018.

What inspired you to sign up to the Build Foundation art and design diploma?

In 2016 I returned to the UK after several years abroad. I was in the process of applying for a job when my mother asked 'Do you really want that job?' I said no and applied to do the Build Foundation diploma course instead. I had been thinking about doing a foundation course for almost 20 years so it was about time I got on with it.

What was your background prior to signing up to your course at Build?

I worked in policy and research and my proudest achievement is helping to ensure that the Disability Discrimination Act was improved to better reflect the needs of people with hidden disabilities.

Have you always had a passion for art and design, or is it something that has developed more recently?

I have enjoyed drawing and painting since an early age and loved doing my Art GCSE. I did not make art for several years but started painting again whilst living in Cyprus where I was very inspired by the sea, beautiful blue skies and all that sunshine. There's no Build there though.

Ahead of the forthcoming exhibition, can you tell us a little more about your final project and the influences behind it?

For my final project I have developed a character called HALA, which means paternal aunt in Turkish. She is a fierce, intelligent and resentful woman, a powerful and enduring archetype in my family's narrative. I wanted to explore her experience in order to understand her and myself better. My starting point was Marina Abramović's film The Onion in which she doggedly eats an entire onion. I felt the piece captures the particular blend of dramatic martyrdom favoured by HALA which ensures everyone around her is acutely aware of her sacrifice. For my final project I've made series of films exploring HALA's interactions with the world around her. 

How has the course transformed your approach to your work? Has it helped you with mapping out your future goals in any way?

Most definitely! The course has been life changing because the teachers here foster a safe and supportive environment which has enabled me to delve into rich, personal territory and produce work that is important to me. I started out describing myself as a painter but through the moving image specialism I have rediscovered a forgotten passion for improvisation and character performance. 

What’s the dynamic like on the course?

I have found the atmosphere to be both playful and challenging and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. The varied backgrounds and life experiences of my fellow students has lead to some wonderful collaborations.

What’s the best thing about studying at Build?

The quality of the teaching is outstanding but the best thing about Build is it feels like coming home. I've found a place where my weirdness is celebrated. 

Finally, have you got any exciting plans going forward?

Of course, there's no way HALA's going back in her box…I will continue to make films of her adventures. 

For more information see or watch HALA in action on at or follow Şenay on Instagram senay_camgoz

With thanks to Şenay Camgöz.



HALA's fight

from on .