A New Beginning

It’s been a long time since I was last into the habit of blogging. As an undergraduate I used to write about the repurposing of our ‘belongings’* and how we can challenge our thinking to redirect current trends.

I still hold the values and beliefs I had back then, but my current views on them have developed, widened and been tailored to things I have learnt along the way.

This evening I attended a social design talk at CSM on a new DIY toolkit for social impact. Not only did this talk remind me of how much I doubt the usefulness of a tool kit, it reminded me of the first talk I attended within the series about 18 months ago.

If I’m honest, I only attended the event as an excuse to be in London so that I could try to hold on to a relationship that I have since realised had probably already run its course. On reflection though, despite all the hurt and upset that trip caused me, I actually have him to thank for the personal journey I have since pursued. As it was that one talk I forced myself to attend that opened my eyes to the world of social design and sent me on the path I am today.

Since my last blog post I have graduated Plymouth University twice, once with a BA in Product Design and the second with a MA in Design. I chose to do the masters to continue the explorations and themes I began to touch on in the undergraduate.

It’s then that I attended the first talk mentioned above and wrote my first essay on a designer’s role within the social sector, (essay to follow). During this time I also met some fabulous people from all around the world. It wouldn’t be fair to start naming names but I can’t neglect mentioning Meredith (Check out her work here) as together we continuously built on each other’s curiosity in relation to social change.

This curiosity resulted in our joint venture; ‘The Hive’. A project, which is a social design concept, that builds on a circular economy to create inviting bee friendly communities that educate and provides jobs.

This project went on to win the Change Makers category of the RSA Student Design Awards 2014 and resulted in me partaking in an internship as a graphic designer for Waitrose.

Waitrose was a brilliant experience, I discovered they were much more of a socially responsible company than I initially realised. However, I knew that my heart wasn’t solely in it and that it wasn’t really for me. I wanted to stay true to my roots and have more of a hands on involvement within the social sector.

Which is when I found Year Here. I initially became aware of Year Here during my Masters research and so jumped at the opportunity to intern for them. I really value the work of the Year Here program and believe that insights really do start from the ground up. I have learnt so much being in the middle of a small start up, and have also met some amazing people, who all share my common goal and are willing to use their diverse backgrounds to achieve it. (Find out more here).

Though I wish I could say the story ends there. My ties with Year Here are currently becoming sparse as I have unfortunately had to opt for more stable paid work outside of the social sector. I’m freelancing as a graphic designer in job i’m really enjoying. It may not be where I thought I’d end up, but I have learnt a lot and value the work I am doing whilst being surrounded by great people. Although it does raise the question of how I keep interested in the design sector I have passion for.

Which is why I have made a pledge to take up blogging again. I think it is important that I value the current work that I do today and use it as a stepping stone to where I want to be. This will not only be a socially curious blog but also a place for me to continue to reflect and learn about my own individual journey.

 

*I say “belongings” loosely as I include places we inhabit. Streets, buildings, public places they all belong to us in one form or another.