Meet Cobie Moore

Wednesday 17 June, 2015
by Jonathan Billingham
Recipient of the Jared Pritchard Memorial Scholarship

The Jared Pritchard Memorial Scholarship for 2014/15 has been awarded to Cobie Moore. Cobie is in her 5th Year studying a double degree comprising a Bachelor of Design and a Bachelor of Art Education.

The Jared Pritchard Memorial Scholarship is named in memory of a very talented and creative young man who lived at New College for four years but who sadly passed away in December, 2010. It is awarded each year to a New Collegian in recognition of their ability to contribute to the creative and performing arts.

The artwork and photography provided by Cobie and pictured with this article provides a snapshot of her flair for creating works of art and innovative design.

An interview with Cobie

Cobie, you came to Sydney from Grafton. Why the move and how did you find the experience of adjusting to city life?

When I finished high school I knew I wanted to go to university and study design at a well-respected and prestigious university so that I would be constantly challenged.

When I was accepted into UNSW I was both excited and petrified. I had only ever been to Sydney twice before, once on a school excursion and once on a family holiday and I had found both experiences overwhelming. Luckily my older sister decided to move to Sydney too. We found an apartment in Coogee. I quickly grew fond of Sydney and was thrilled that I could so easily visit the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Costume design by Cobie for the fairy tale character, Maleficent.

What did your first few years of uni life look like?

My first year at uni was not at all what I expected. One of my first assessment tasks involved making a paper hat. I thought, “What a joke, I’m at uni making papercraft”. But the challenge proved much more complex than I anticipated. I spent many long nights researching, designing and constructing small paper units in order to create a wearable piece of art that was physically and conceptually strong. This was the start of a challenging 5 years of design briefs and assessment tasks that pushed me to explore new creative concepts and become more aware of my own design ability.

Have you always been creative?

My mum encouraged my artistic ability from a very young age. Most of my childhood memories centre on arts and crafts. In my HSC, three of my 6 subjects were creative based (Drama, Visual Arts and Industrial Technology: Multimedia).

Self Portrait - Girl with a Pearl Earring after Vermeer.

Having been involved in a serious accident could you share something of your journey to returning to study?

On Christmas Day 2012, we were getting a family photo taken when the balcony rail we were leaning on gave away and my two sisters and I fell onto the rocks below. My younger sister injured her hip, my older sister fractured her lower spine and I landed on my head crushing the C5 and C6 vertebrae in my neck. I was about to start my 4th year of university but instead found myself in the Spinal ward of a hospital for 3 months and in spinal rehabilitation for 9 months adjusting to a whole new way of life. Spinal cord injuries are different for each individual depending on the level and severity of the injury.
My injury left me paralysed below the chest with limited movement in my hands and low strength in my arms. Returning to uni was my first priority. I refused to let my accident prevent me from living my life, although my physical limitations meant some of the practical elements of my degree would be difficult. I firmly believed that there is always a way and the staff at the UNSW College of Fine Arts were happy to make modifications to assist me in achieving my goals. As a design student I often see my physical limitations as a design challenge rather than a barrier.

Falling Girl - Self-portrait


Why did you choose to come to New College?

Finding affordable accommodation in Sydney as a student is difficult enough. Adding the requirement of wheelchair accessibility felt insurmountable.
The vocational advisor at Ryde Rehabilitation suggested I look into on campus accommodation so we visited all the accommodation facilities associated with UNSW. New College was the most accessible in regards to bathroom modifications and space requirements. I also felt that New College would be a great step for me – exploring independent living after spinal injury. I felt a sense of security in knowing the RA’S and the college community would be able to assist me if I needed help. The catering meant I didn’t have to jump the hurdle of meal preparation just yet. I had an interview with the Dean and was accepted.

How have you found the experience of living at New College?

New College provided me an excellent balance of social activities, creative opportunities and educational support. I found that living in New College, university life became about more than attending lectures and studying. I had opportunities to be involved in art exhibitions, work on set design and costume design for musicals and plays. I also took on the role of event photographer for New College events and did official photography for the play, musical and revue.

Donate NowEngineers Without Borders Program asked 25 Sydney artists to each paint a toilet, including Cobie’s as pictured. These were displayed at Circular Quay, Sydney, on World Toilet Day to promote awareness around sanitation in developing countries.