Douglas Bishop, originally from Wellington, moved to Southland ten years ago and hasn’t looked back. Having originally studied Nursing and worked in the profession for a number of years, Douglas started getting the feeling he wanted to re-focus and tap into his artistic side. While his passion for people remained, he felt Nursing was no longer the right vehicle.
Signing up for a foundation art and craft course at Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) was a kick start to Douglas re-committing to study full-time, with the Bachelor of Visual Arts.
Douglas has no formal diagnosis of reading disability, however he struggles with sometimes tripping over simple words, which results in the context of text being thrown out. Recognising that he needed some assistance in this area as the Bachelor of Visual Arts contains a strong academic aspect, he contacted SIT’s Disability Liaison Officer and was organised reader/writer assistance which has helped to support him throughout his study journey.
An inquisitive student, Douglas has not let struggles with reading stop him from wanting to absorb as much information as possible and he maintained a B+ average throughout his first year of study, increasing this to an A- average throughout the second year.
Douglas credits all those who have assisted him throughout his studies, even when it was just to read through his work to help him clarify the points he was attempting to get across, or to encourage him when he was feeling frazzled.
Throughout his studies, he enjoyed an internship at the Southland Museum, entered local competitions and was involved with various art ventures. One of Douglas’ main aims in undertaking the Bachelor of Visual Arts was not only to improve artistically, but also academically. His studies with SIT have given him a self-belief he was previously lacking, and he now knows that if he puts his head down, studies hard and asks as many questions as he needs to understand, he can achieve his goals. The best advice he has to offer other students who feel they may be struggling is “if you’re not a strong academic, ask for help early, don’t wait till the last minute. Don’t be ashamed if you’re not picking things up, keep persisting.”
Douglas is most proud of the fact that he now feels he has a valid academic opinion that he can articulate clearly. His sculpture installation allowed him to express himself visually and gave him a medium to express himself, something he often finds difficult as he sees himself as a complex person. His journey with SIT has resulted in the feeling of being much more comfortable in himself, and being different.
Douglas’ eventual goal is to use both his nursing background, people skills and art expertise to be an art educator and mentor. His struggles and experience will hold him in good stead to support people on their individual journeys.