Alison Tinsdale

For Alison Tinsdale, life at the Courtauld has been about attaining academic excellence by “digging deeper”.

“I remember writing my first essay here and coming across the names of my tutors when I was researching and reading other texts. It was both remarkable and terrifying. Our tutors’ contribution to the field encourages us to dig deeper and ask ourselves questions.


Digging deeper can also mean opening books that haven’t seen the light of day in years. Just the other day I checked out a book from a library that hadn’t been borrowed since 1967! I’ve grown to use each and every resource here. By doing that I’ve come across invaluable information to strengthen my arguments in essays.”


Alison completed her BA at Penn State University, majoring in art history. Yet before coming to the Courtauld she wasn’t necessarily used to immersing herself in the subject.

“At Penn State, I took science and maths courses; even ballroom dancing interspersed my art history requirements! Now I’m at the Courtauld, I live and breathe art. It’s inspirational. I’ve just recently felt confident enough to call myself an art historian. Before studying here I didn’t feel I had the right to do so, but now I feel I’ve really been stretched and put in the hours. We’re encouraged to discover new information independently. No one tells you what you need to do; instead, it’s up to us to ask our own questions and try to find answers.”


In her quest for answers, close examination of paintings, drawings and prints in London form an important part of Alison’s classes, with visits to the British Museum and the National Gallery among other collections, including those at the Courtauld itself. As her MA nears completion, Alison is still considering her future career options.


“I’m anxious to know where I’ll be going in the coming months. It’s such an exciting time. My Courtauld degree has been a fantastic opportunity and I’m keen to make the most of all that I have learned.”

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Susan Marks
Executive Director
American Foundation for The Courtauld Institute of Art
55 East End Avenue #3D
New York, NY 10028
Email:   Telephone: 001 212-737-5051

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