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Abraaj and the RCA welcomes Innovation Scholars from Growth Markets

The Abraaj Group and the Royal College of Art are pleased to welcome five new Abraaj RCA Innovation Scholars for the 2017/18 academic year.

The Abraaj RCA Innovation Scholarship is the largest-ever international scholarship programme in the postgraduate creative sector. Each year it supports five outstanding RCA applicants from the growth markets in which Abraaj operates, across Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Turkey.

The mission of the Abraaj scholarship programme is to create a unique community of creative leaders, who share the values, integrity and social responsibility upheld by Abraaj and the RCA. Each student is supported by a full fees bursary and a significant contribution towards their living costs.

Selected for their impressive talent, commitment and social awareness from a highly competitive pool of applicants, the 2017 cohort are the fourth group of Abraaj Scholars to arrive at the RCA.The new Abraaj Scholars are:

Jhonatan Pulido, Painting, Colombia

This award places me at the number one art school in the world, with access to an education of the highest level. It is my view that art, design and education are extremely important factors to transcend society, in search of a stronger, more competitive economy and identity that will last through time.’

Jhonatan is a painter and teacher from Colombia, where he has exhibited at various galleries and museums. He has taught different communities in schools and foundations, including people affected and displaced by violence and victims of anti-personnel mines.

On the MA Painting programme at the RCA, Jhonatan hopes to develop his painting practice, which he sees as a direct tool for understanding the relationship between humans and their environment. After graduating Jhonatan would like to continue his practice as a painter and teacher, contributing to his community and country.

Johanna Pinto, Textiles, India

The opportunity offered by Abraaj has made it possible for me to learn from tutors like Jemma Ooi, experience London and gain a more holistic approach and appreciation for design. It’s great to be a part of The Abraaj Group Scholars and I’m extremely grateful to have been selected to study here.’

Johanna has a degree in textile design from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Bangalore, India. After graduating she worked for a renowned design house in Mumbai, and has created an independent print collection that combines hand painted and digital prints using local silk and digital printing facilities in India.

Johanna’s long term goal is to raise awareness of the rich traditions of Indian textiles, using local resources and empowering artisans who work on uniquely crafted textiles. Using design innovation, she hopes to develop new methods that will share the potential of Indian textiles on a global scale.

Sanjana Ravindran, Architecture, India

I am very honored to be a recipient of this award because it creates an equal opportunity for deserving students who would otherwise not be able to afford the tuition and for the incredible sense of validation offered from a global community of artists and architects.’

After completing a Bachelors in Architecture, Sanjana worked in India and Indonesia, followed by a yearlong internship in Switzerland. She decided to study Architecture at the RCA because of the theoretically relevant design studios that it offers and the space it creates for pushing architecture beyond its familiar territory.

In the future Sanjana would like to set up a practice fluid enough to work around art, architecture and activism, while maintaining a strong hold on research. She is interested in how art and architecture can raise fundamental questions about living and radically change the way we confront reality.

Joseph Martin Gabriel, Ceramics & Glass, Philippines                                                                                                 

The opportunity of studying Ceramics & Glass at the RCA means learning from the best of the best in the field and being exposed to a whole host of innovative practices alongside its partner industries.’

Joseph is a visual artist who works primarily with sculpture and installation. He grew up in the province of Bulacan, where there is an abundance of clay and a thriving industry in ceramics. He chose to study Ceramics & Glass at the RCA in order to complement his Fine Art training and hopes the programme will enable him to bridge the gap between his individual artistic practice and different sectors of the community, industry, economy and culture.

Joseph’s long-term goal is to establish a studio in his hometown to open up possibilities to artists and communities. He would like to use his core competencies as an artist and a creative leader to bring out positive change within his community.

Preedachanok Somprasert, Service Design, Thailand

I am trying to create service innovations which lead to the betterment of life and culture in my hometown. MA Service Design at the RCA is the perfect match for my professional desire.’

Preedachanok Somprasert has spent four years immersed in Industrial Design, learning how designers create innovations to enhance quality of life and find sustainable solutions. She was drawn to studying Service Design at the RCA by the freedom it allows each student to fulfil and expand their own passion.

Preedachanok plans to use her training in Service Design to revolutionize the traditional frameworks of tourism, to create a sustainable system for travelling in her home country Thailand. She hopes that this will empower and inspire local people to take ownership in local economies and communities leading to a more sustainable approach to tourism.

For further information on the Abraaj RCA Innovation Scholarship, please click here.