How a Rejection Letter from Oxford Became Viral Artwork

17 Jan


Claudia Vulliamy, an 18-year old from London, applied to study Classics at Wadham College, one of Oxford University’s 38 constituent colleges. If accepted, she would have started her course in September. But, with more than 24000 applications for approximately 3200 seats, Oxford proved a tough sell. And her application was rejected.

What she did next was remarkable & her response went viral. She took her rejection letter & turned it into a piece of abstract art. Lines from the letter were pasted next to blocks of colour.

“Obviously, it’s a bit disappointing to be rejected,” Claudia told the media. “I just thought I had this letter, it’s not often that you get a letter dedicated to you from Oxford. It’s very meaningful, so I thought it would be funny if I made it into something.”

She showed the piece to her mother, Louisa Saunders, who was pleasantly surprised. Ms. Saunders told the media, “”I thought it was very funny and very spirited, and obviously, I was glad she wasn’t feeling too sad about it.”

Ms. Saunders shared it on her Twitter on 12 Jan. Since then her tweet has received 158,000 likes & 51,000 retweets! Other Twitter users found Claudia’s response to her rejection inspirational. One user wrote, “But, in any case, this is a sensitive but strong and creative daughter you have. I will show her as a model to my daughter.” Another wrote, “The key to greatness is learning to handle rejection – never seen anyone handle it better.”

Claudia said that she hadn’t really set her heart on Oxford. Now she plans to pursue a degree in Classics from Durham University.

You can look at other artwork by Claudia Vulliamy here.


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