Whatuni Bursary awarded to Interior Design & Styling student Molly Sullivan
In 2022, Arts University Plymouth was awarded Best Small or Specialist University at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards, along with five £2,000 bursaries to be awarded to five students currently studying at the University.
We sat down with one of our winners, Molly Sullivan. Born in Plymouth, 24-year-old Molly Sullivan is studying BA (Hons) Interior Design & Styling and graduates this year.
Molly recently designed the interior for Plymouth’s Prom Cellar, an initiative where Year 11 students can buy their prom dresses and suits for just £20. We sat down with her to find out more about her bursary win and what inspires her interior design style.
It took ages to sink in! I went into university one day and my lecturer asked if I’d checked my emails, so I knew something was up. When I found out, I just felt really lucky. Cathryn Bishop, my course leader, said it was an across the board decision to nominate me from all the lecturers, so I felt really honoured to be put forward for it.
Well, the money didn’t take long to come through so I have spent some of it on a much needed holiday. I’ve put most of it away to save though. I’ll probably end up spending it on materials and additional learning. I want to expand my knowledge of interior design even further, investing in progressing in my career. It’s nice to have it there as a safety blanket, to be honest. Cathryn joked that I could blow it all on handbags, but I didn’t!
Molly designed the interior of the Prom Cellar, a Plymouth based organisation offering Year 11 students prom dresses and suits for just £20
I’ve lived in Plymouth all my life and when I left sixth form, I did an accountancy course, but then lockdown happened. I realised then that I’d always loved design and it’s been a big passion for me. The more research I did on the university, the more I felt it was for me. It all happened very quickly, I applied and left my job, but it was the best decision I’ve probably ever made. The university is an amazing place to study, it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone in all the right ways.
Interiors designed by Molly Sullivan at the Prom Cellar
Oh everything! I really like the fact there’s so much more to interior design that I thought. We also learn things like graphic design and so many additional extras. It all leads to different and exciting opportunities, it’s not all just looking at pretty colours and wallpapers! I love that we all get taught the different aspects of being an interior designer, not just one avenue.
I definitely look up to people who haven’t necessarily had a straightforward journey. I like it when people find themselves through giving things a go, whether that’s people around me or family to big interior designers. If I had to name anyone, I love 2LG Studio’s profile on Instagram, they’re really cool, but I draw inspiration from so many different places!
I really love mid-century modern design. I like the fact there’s pieces in interiors that tell a story, but there’s also those modern elements. It creates an atmosphere and it’s also really chic! One thing I love about interior design is that it’s about what the client likes. You have to put your likes and personal tastes to one side and listen to the client.
Well I’m assisting two days a week with Marie Hewitt Interiors and I’m also working as a graphic designer, so I’m happy getting more experience outside of university. That’s where I am at the moment, there’s something for me after I graduate already and I’m learning so much from the two different jobs. I’m just keen to learn more from those job roles over the next few years.
Cathryn Bishop, Subject Leader for BA (Hons) Interior Design & Styling, said, “Molly has a brilliant positive attitude, she’s enthusiastic and professional despite a number of significant health issues which have affected her time at university. Her projects have always had a strong moral leaning and we agreed unanimously as a lecturing team that she deserved the Whatuni Bursary. We wish her every success with her design career going forward.”
You can follow Molly’s interiors on her Instagram profile.