York St Mary’s Gallery, York

Shoushan Keshishian, Postgraduate student

Hi, my name is Shoushan, meaning ‘Lily’ and I am the daughter of Armenian parents living in Lebanon. I know my accent makes me sound American but all Lebanese people seem to speak English with that accent!

I graduated with distinction from York University in September with a Masters in Post-war Recovery Studies. My research was into the growth and activity of western development agencies in the past few decades, and their work in helping to reconstruct communities and nations ravaged by conflict. I wrote my dissertation about the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and the current state of the peace process. I am applying for work in the UK but jobs in my field are scarce and I worry that I will lose my visa before I find employment.

In the meantime, I am working at the Van Gogh Experience in York St. Mary’s. You can see from the photo that I pronounce his name in the way the Americans do – Van Go. You English pronounce it Van Goff, which is wrong as well. I do know how to pronounce it properly, but those guttural sounds just seem pretentious.

The nave of the medieval church is fitted out with deck chairs so you can sit and watch animated videos of Van Gogh’s paintings projected around the space, but my favourite part is the virtual reality show, in which you seem to be able to wander round Arles in your headset, looking at the places where he painted his most famous works and listening to him talk about them. It’s so beautiful!

My Place is a section where people share places that are significant in their livesIf you would like to take part in My Place, simply email your photo and a text of up to 250 words to johnbrucemullin@hotmail.com

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