I’ve spent some time considering what I want my next steps to be after the course.
Falmouth offer career coaching appointments so I decided to give one of these a try. I thought it would be helpful to have an external perspective on everything. I met with George Hardwick, one of Falmouth’s coaches, and he helped to talk me through some of my options. I talked him through my experience, my practice and my main areas of interest and George suggested I think about the ‘eco-system’ of products and services I would like to offer, rather than focussing on a specific job title.
I originally applied for this course because I wanted to switch careers. I’ve worked in a wide range of jobs since I graduated from my BA – retail, merchandising, education, SEN education – and I’ve also volunteered for 8 years as a scout leader – teaching young people skills for life through adventurous activity. While I hate retail with a passion, I love education and I love working with young people.
Since starting the course I’ve spent a long time reflecting on what I ‘am’. It was a bit of a shock when I realised I’m not actually a graphic designer – I’m definitely someone who uses design, but I don’t get much satisfaction from answering other people’s briefs.
I definitely consider myself to be an academic – the research, analysis and theorised making aspects of the course have been the parts I have enjoyed the most. I plan to apply for PhD’s after the course is done, but I’m also keen to have a presence outside of the academic world.
I’ve also discovered how much I enjoy the community aspect of the course. I enjoy helping others to develop their ideas and finding ways to build a studio culture. I had the idea of holding informal student meetings so that we could critique each others work, back in the first year of the course, and they proved to be very helpful.
I guess the key themes I can see, reflecting on my academic and professional life so far are:
- nature and the outdoors
- walking and psychogeography
Moving forwards I can see myself:
- Continuing to research, write and create
- Running workshops – I’ve planned and taught everything from firelighting to creative writing to a wide range of people and age groups.
- Working on creative projects – installations, exhibitions etc. Organisations such as the Wellcome Trust?
- Possibly continuing to educate in some way, although I don’t think I have it in me to keep working in a primary school under current conditions.
- Consulting? I have a fair amount of knowledge, and I get enjoyment out of working on specific projects that interest me. I could imagine working for non-profits helping them to develop resources or programmes.
…and all of this would continue with the themes of nature and psychogeography.
My current website is a bit of a mess, and doesn’t reflect any of that (at least not with any clarity). I’ve been looking at organisations that might offer a similar range of services, to get an idea of how I could better present myself. I’m mostly looking at small-scale interdisciplinary organisations, with a creative aspect to them.
Patternity are a self-described ‘Conscious Creative Organisation’ who make products, installations and films, run workshops, do research, and consult/collaborate with other brands. I like this as a model – they do a variety of work, some self-initiated, and they have a guiding principle and manifesto that ties it all together.
I’m not keen on their homepage though, since it doesn’t actually give any indication of who they are or what they do. The links currently there take you to a shop to buy prints.
Smout Allen are Professors working at the Bartlett School of Architecture. While the work they produce is very different to mine, they are interested in “dynamic relationship between the natural and the man made and how this can be revealed to enhance the experience of the architectural landscape.” – similar to my research focus.
Unlike Patternity their website is project-led. Their branding feels fresh and modern but doesn’t particularly have a connection with their research focus.
Based on this research, I’m going to incorporate the following features for my website:
- Project images at top of home page
- About Us page
- Writing (research) page
- Links to social media
One more thing
These features will allow me to showcase the range of services I will offer. However, the main aim of the website is to showcase the work. Back in the summer I talked about how I wanted to give participants the opportunity to submit their observations and creations. The website needs to showcase that, so one of the main features of the website should be a gallery of photos, sketches, notes and work inspired by nature. Back in the Studio and Entrepreneurship module I proposed an app to allow users to work on location-based projects together. A key feature of it was a map where users could upload inspiration and work, which would allow you to browse what people had noticed and created near you. I’d like to incorporate something similar into this – an archive of nearby nature that you can view by location.