Maggie Stein answers Ten Questions


Maggie Stein is a successful artist who completed her undergraduate degree in the 1980s. She wen on to do a DipEd and has continued to teach in various roles for the past twenty years. She has exhibited her work in galleries around the country. You can find more information on Maggie and her work at www.maggiestein.com.au

1. When were you in ESW?
I was here in 1991.

2. What degree did you do?
I completed my Diploma in Education specialising in Secondary Art Education.

3. Was there something in particular that attracted you to this course of study?
Like many other Arts graduates I was in the position of doing menial jobs to survive, even though I was exhibiting regularly, sales were minimal and prospects limited. I joined many other students (many older than my 27 years) in the same position. The main appeal of the course was that it would lead to a decent income, like many others I had a naive idea about what teaching really meant and how much commitment it took. I enjoyed the year of study especially loving access to all the art facilities I also reconnected with a friend who I'd previously studied with at COFA – we ended up doing a practicum at the same school.

4. In what way did you use your ESW degree?
I was able to take on a year of full time teaching in a fairly tough school straight after graduating. So having the qualification certainly led me to great opportunities, luckily I had already a fair bit of life experience before hitting the classroom otherwise I don't know if I would have survived!

5. What's your current role?
In my current role I wear many hats – during most weeks I am a teacher of students from four years old to adult, I am also a print maker and have my own studio in Newtown where I create limited edition prints and work on commissions. In the last 10 years I have become an entrepreneur trying to make the most of opportunities that arise where I can promote my work and gain financial rewards. You'll find me at Eveleigh Artisan's Market on the first Sunday of the month promoting my work – I love talking to an appreciative audience there. I have also just purchased a printing press which I will be using to teach from at Addison Road Community Centre, Marrickville. When I'm not doing all that I'm spending time with my partner and three children (12, 13 and 16).

6. How did your studies in the faculty inform your current position?
We do benefit from the sum of all our experiences, my teaching skills have certainly opened many doors and helped me develop skills I use every day.

7. Do you have fond memories of your time on campus at ESW?
I have always really enjoyed studying, I think the structure really suits me so I do have fond memories of my time there – I made the most of the time. It was probably a respite from trying to be an artist!

8. Were you involved in extra-curricular activities either within or outside the faculty?
As my time at Sydney was short I didn't get very involved in extra-curricular activities. At the same time I was attending TAFE to complete a certificate of printmaking. I did spend many hours in the pool doing laps and unwinding – something which is still part of my life today.

9. How significant is it to you to be part of the faculty's alumni & friends group?
I was asked to contribute to the eNewsletter when Helen Loughlin "tracked me down" having seen my inner–city images in Newtown bookshops. I previously hadn't been aware of all ESW's alumni and friends activities. I plan to attend some of this year's talks which sound really inspiring. I'm so glad to be in contact again.

10. And finally, any words of wisdom you'd like to pass on to the ESW alumni & friends?
If you're passionate about something follow your dreams – and the most important quality to develop for any successful life is resilience. In monetary terms I haven't achieved a great amount but what I'm most proud of is that I've been driven. I love the fact that my kids see me doing something I'm passionate about and in turn I see them developing their own unique passions. Twenty years ago I dreamed about owning a press and setting up an open access workshop – this year I brought my first press – it's so exciting to realise those visions.