Grant Recipient Ellie Bush MA

Bader Grant Recipient, Ellie Bush, has been awarded MA in Contemporary Art Practice. Huge congratulations to Ellie on her achievement!

Ellie, who suffers with PTSD and CFS/ME, applied to the Foundation for a Bader Grant to help finance her masters studies. We were delighted to offer her a grant and so happy to receive this report of her achievement in graduating with an MA in Contemporary Art Practice in August 2020. The work Ellie has produced is remarkable; powerful, fascinating and very evocative. She was fortunate to be able to go to Iceland to undertake field work in 2018 and I think that the body of work that she has produced dramatically captures the ‘otherness’ of that landscape. Her work focuses on a combination of sculptural, written and digital elements and she has explored a variety of mediums to express her research outcomes including film, soundscapes, ceramics and glass. She has produced an exciting and complex body of work gaining distinctions along the way and the possibility of continuing her studies with a PhD. Ellie’s artistic future looks bright and she should be very proud of what she has achieved. We are certainly proud to have been able to support her on this exciting path.
Featured Bader Grant Recipient, Ellie, has described her work  being “motivated by a desire to explore the experience of traumatic remembering through metaphors relating to geological activities and myths and rituals of burial and descent“. Ellie uses her condition to inform her work and one of her projects, Katabasis (a Katabasist is ‘one who writes about underworld descents’), seeks to explore the process of ‘uncovering traumatic memories in order to construct a new landscape of self‘.
I attempt to grapple with ways of communicating the formative and unseen through the expressive and sensually experienced. Ellie Bush, MA
I think the work speaks loudly and clearly for itself so do check it out through the links below. Read on for Ellie’s report.

Grant Recipient Ellie Bush MA

Final year report

Thank you again for your support in my final year of Masters studies, following on from the financial assistance provided by the Douglas Bader Foundation in my first year. Without this support I would not have been able to continue my studies, so I really am truly grateful for the funding as it enabled me to complete and earn my MA in Contemporary Art Practice.
During my final year, I continued some of the research from my first year, but with the really life-changing addition of some field work in Iceland over the summer of 2019 (funded by the university’s GoAbroad scheme for research students). During that week, I recorded geothermal sounds, filmed footage on digital and Super 8 cameras and also took casts of lava flows. Returning to my studies after this trip, I was able to embark on quite an involved research project for my final year, resulting in a short film which can be viewed on Vimeo, via the link below. I used the field research as the basis behind an exploration of post-traumatic remembering, using geologically unstable landscapes as metaphors for bodies experiencing trauma. Alongside film work, I also started to work with sound and my voice — layering this with the geothermal recordings made in Iceland as well as volcanic data, to further explore experiences of PTSD. These pieces can be found on my Soundcloud channel, also copied below.
PLEATS / KIST – Digital Film
These Atoms Are Not Mine – Soundcloud
Although our degree shows were not able to go ahead due to Covid-19, I produced a masters project digital presentation, which can also be viewed via the link below (best viewed on tablet or computer). For this work and work in my previous semester, I gained a distinction grade and have since used this material as examples of work when applying for further opportunities. Yesterday, I just received news that I had been awarded a VACMA Graduate Bursary, to support me in buying a new computer to continue my digital work, since I’m not able to work in a studio during the covid-19 crisis.
MA Work
Alongside my visual art work, I also built up a really enjoyable written and book research practice. I began to explore different ways of thinking about time in relation to both trauma and material objects and visual culture. For my last essay, I was also awarded a distinction, which was a great encouragement. I’m currently working with my tutor post-graduation, to see whether a phD might be feasible on the back of this research in the coming years.
Overall, it feels difficult to understate how important the support of the foundation was for my wellbeing and ambitions. I really had no way of supporting myself on the course without the two grants and the grades I received for my work have really pushed me to be more ambitious in what I can consider for in the future. I’m still working in my research administration job, but the grades and the recent VACMA grant have pushed me to think beyond this and try to build a career around an art and research practice, which should hopefully be flexible enough that I will be able to better support my health and recover from PTSD and CFS/ME.
A massive thank you again to both Douglas Bader Foundation. Please do keep continuing to support disabled students as it really can be a life-changing influence and way into education, otherwise inaccessible.

Please do keep continuing to support disabled students as it really can be a life-changing influence and way into education, otherwise inaccessible.

Ellie Bush, MA

We would love to be able to help other students with disabilities to further their studies; this sits so well with the spirit of the Foundation. If you’ve been inspired by Ellie’s story and would like to apply for a Bader Grant to pursue your own studies, we’d love to hear from you.
You can apply through the Bader Grants Applications Page and please be assured that all applications are given careful consideration.