In the process of trying to work out how to begin my FMP, I looked back on all the work I’ve done on this course, on my BA, during my A-Levels, and in my life in general. If asked I will tell people I have an interest in nature, walking, urban exploration etc. because they are the obvious themes that have shown up, but I was really surprised to see that I was exploring those ideas (in a more superficial way) in my A-Level sketchbooks. Having been interested in these things for over a decade is a mixed blessing- I have a broad idea of what I want to do and I have lots of knowledge and resources to do so, but I’ve been finding this to be a bit of a hindrance too. I’m struggling to approach it with fresh eyes and a new angle.
I started making a big post-it note map of possible questions, general areas of interest, specific research sources, particular processes that resonate with me, and a few niches that I like but are too small for a FMP.
I’ve been aware of my interest in ‘nature’ since my BA, but I recently found some of my A-Level sketchbooks and they were full of land art and natural forms too. I dragged my whole family to the Andy Goldsworthy exhibition in Yorkshire Sculpture Park when I was 17, and even before that I spent many happy afternoons taking photos in the local nature reserve with my dad.
Outside of academia I also spent about 7 years working in outdoor retail, and I’ve been volunteering as a Scout Leader since 2012. Part of my interest is definitely about getting others to engage with nature, and engaging myself, because there are many proven physical and mental health benefits.
My BA FMP was about nature in cities and I made some accessories to encourage a connection with nature in the urban landscape. While I can see the possibility of taking this further, I think I’d benefit from a fresh angle.
Nature vs Culture
I’m not sure how it would be a design project, but I’m always really interested in the tension between nature and culture. I like finding evidence of people shaping the landscape, especially when it tells us something about the history of the place.
This is another theme that I’ve come back to many times. It’s not entirely separate from ‘nature engagement’ but I’m more interested in empowering people to explore their surroundings and engage with their physical landscape. While I make the most of my smartphone/google maps, It think we lose something when we are so focussed on our screens and not looking at what’s going on right next to us.
Other related interests
- Edgelands – not quite urban, not countryside
- Intention paths
- Positive human intervention in the landscape
- Autographic visualisation