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Alexandra Chiriac

Graduate Certificate History of Art

Alexandra Chiriac has launched her second career and found her dream job in an art gallery thanks to studying art history at Birkbeck. She traces her success and current role at a not-for-profit gallery exhibiting Russian art to her evening courses.
After her first degree in Management from Lancaster University, Alexandra worked in management and banking for both Sainsbury’s and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. But she wanted to explore her passion for art, and decided to start researching evening study.

Aged 24, Alexandra began a Certificate in Higher Education in the History of Art at Birkbeck. She thoroughly enjoyed the course, and later returned to the College to study a Graduate Certificate in History of Art and Architecture. Alexandra said:  'My job was in finance and concerned numbers, so I relished the opportunity to write about art. When I first started taking evening classes in art history at Birkbeck as a diversion from my day job, I didn’t imagine they would change my life. Fast-forward several years later and here I am curating, writing, and lecturing about my interests in twentieth century Russian art at a new gallery in London called GRAD: Gallery for Russian Arts and Design. I have definitely achieved my ambition and more than I ever thought possible. I couldn’t have developed my career in the art world without Birkbeck.'

Alexandra’s second Birkbeck qualification proved a turning point as it confirmed her intention to change career. She said: 'I found the Graduate Certificate an invaluable experience, especially thanks to the tutors and the course co-ordinator. Thanks to the excellent teaching and the relevant assessments, the theoretical side of art history was demystified and I felt I was beginning to take my first steps as an arts professional. The optional module on the Northern Renaissance was truly fascinating and enlightening, revealing the importance of Northern masters unfairly eclipsed by their Italian counterparts.'

Alexandra gained a Distinction for her Graduate Certificate, and, on the strength of her academic work at Birkbeck, she continued her studies at the prestigious Courtauld Institute of Art, where she studied an MA in Russian Art. After completing her course at the Courtauld, Alexandra was offered a job at Sotheby’s, where she worked on the Russian paintings auctions, before joining the GRAD gallery. Alexandra added: 'None of this would have been possible without the flexibility and the great teaching that Birkbeck offers. I would absolutely recommend Birkbeck.'

Find out more about our History of Arts courses.

'I couldn’t have developed my career in the art world without Birkbeck.'