Note to Self

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I always think it’s vital to start any day or task with a plan of what you hope to achieve, as a way of ensuring you stay on track. I personally like to do this in the form of a physical list so that I can tick things off as I go and make notes or adjustments without relying on my frazzled and probably elsewhere mind.  I’ve been told by almost everyone who knows me that I’m extremely organised, bordering on obsessive when it comes to making lists and plans. I never shy away from careful colour-coding or frantic post-it noting, also techniques I find very helpful when I’m organising my workload.

As you can imagine I’ve worked my way through my fair share of notebooks (as well as highlighters, pens and various other stationary) but my Bullet Journal is my favourite companion by far. It remains tucked safely in the bottom of my bag, always there when I need it to jot down notes or sketch something quickly.

I also take lecture notes in my Bullet Journal, which you can see below. Since first year I’ve developed my own style of handwriting when taking notes, more as a necessity than by choice, as my regular handwriting is extremely difficult to read, especially when written in a rush. This has helped enormously when it comes to looking back at my notes at a later date, as well as when I’m getting my work looked at by lecturers, this process is made much quicker when I don’t have to read every other word to them.

Ultimately, what I’m saying is, get yourself a good notebook and a good system for making and keeping notes.

TITle

So I’ve been thinking a lot about my image lately, the need to be, or at least appear professional. The idea of creating a brand, or maybe even being my own brand. Especially as I’m currently looking for placement, emailing a lot of companies my portfolio and CV, along with accompanying social medial accounts which needs to adhere to level of maturity. This unfortunately means censoring myself and some of my old and more controversial work, such as my Free The Nipple project.

I worked on this project during my final year of college and am very proud of the outcome, as well as the project itself. During this time I explored a lot of avenues within the idea of feminism. The project asked questions regarding the censorship of women and tentatively pushed the boundaries of what I discovered is ‘appropriate’. I took great pleasure in asking the sniggering kids in my school exactly why they found my braless breasts so funny, while pointing out I could see all of the boys nipples who were giggling at mine. I tried to challenge the stigma of misplaced embarrassment that surrounds harmlessly revealing the female form. Ultimately, despite mine and many other feminists best efforts, I still believe that women are unfairly sexualised in all forms; the media, social stereotypes, porn, adverts, music videos, sport.

While I resent the fact I cannot parade this project I also respect that it is sensitive and controversial. I am putting this project out there for whoever it may interest, because the idea of censoring it goes against the exact reason I made it. This project was made to challenge, to ask why we women must be so modest with our bodies.

Damn being a grown up…

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Below is the link to my Free The Nipple project, please be warned that there are many images of naked women and probably some misspelled words. Peruse at your leisure.

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Autokind V’s Mankind

Although it’s arguable that presentation skills are more important and useful in the design industry than written communication, it is still important to be able to demonstrate ideas cohesively through written work. For this reason one of my modules, Context and Critical Studies, is assessed on an essay that is written and critiqued during the semester. Above are the covers of the books I used to research my last essay. My question, ‘What are the similarities and differences in the ways in which official authorities have employed design and architecture as part of larger social and political agendas?’ lead me down the path of post war rehabilitation of England. An extremely interesting subject to read up on and a very enjoyable essay to write.

Luckily, I enjoy writing essays. English is something I have always been passionate about, keeping it close to me all the way through school and college. This year I’m using my 2500 words to discuss something I wouldn’t usually chose to research, the evolution of the automobile and the effect it has had on architecture and town planning. I am a self confessed pen and paper girl so learning about the automobiles technology and its rapid advances is extremely enjoyable. Especially as cars are an entity I have a strange relationship with, respected form a far for their undeniable capabilities but also fervently disdained for the countless negative impacts they have had and will continue to have on our planet. This was mostly spurred on by a crash I was in a few years back, it was around the time all of my fiends were learning how to drive but since then any urge to drive was literally knocked straight out of me. This love loss has allowed me to view the damage that automobiles inflict on our planet without smog rose tinted glasses. I think researching and writing this essay is and will continue to enable my cynicism about the modern world. And the wise words of Kenneth R. Schneider are only consolidating my beliefs that ‘settlement through history has been the simultaneous result of both creative and destructive forces’.

I’ll leave you to ponder this quote:

‘If transportation in the city is smilier to the blood vessels in the body, the automobile explosion occurring throughout many parts of the world today is now creating the same problems for the health of the city as blood clots create for the body’

Leave a comment and let me know what you think about the automobile, join the discussion

STUDIO

Studio is arguably the most important module of my course as it teaches us how how to create and present innovative design concepts, which will eventually be the basis of most of our careers. Studio should also be the most enjoyable module, however again due to being unfortunate enough to get a lecturer that has no place in a primary school let alone university studio had become one of the most frustrating modules yet. Luckily our brief this semester was an exciting one, to redesign the foyer and walkway of the Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre. The building consists of:

One dark and smelly walkway which runs through the building, linking the Stevenage train staton to the town.

And the centre itself which has multiple functions. It’s foremost being the theatre although it also boasts a large restaurant area, cafe, gym, multiple sports halls, conference rooms and offices.

There was no doubt in anyones mind that the building is ugly, badly designed, poorly laid out and, absolutely bursting with opportunities. The site, although dingy and drab inside actually had access to a lot of natural light in the form of large curved windows.

This, and the beautiful cement structures (visible through the windows) which support the walkway were the aspects of the building that immediately stuck out to me and later were the primary influence in my design.

We were lucky enough to have a guided tour of the building by the building owner Paul who was very specific about the aspects of the space he wanted preserved and which ones he wanted intervened. From the site visit the main interventions I wanted to implement were:

  • Opening up the space, making it more open plan, and allowing the views to be more visible
  • To add an additional entrance to the building, possibly focused around disabled access (something the building is currently lacking)
  • Modernise the space
  • Combine the walkway and building so they’re not such separate elements

 

I’ll do another post soon detailing how I went about these interventions, but first, I think it’s about time I showed you guys my new house…

 

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The First of the Second

I have always loved to learn and theres no better feeling that gaining knowledge in a subject that truly interests you. So naturally, I was awake bright and breezy ready for my first lecture of second year. Bag packed the night before in excited trepidation. Now, we have all laughed at the new year 7’s with their man sized bags that are undoubtably bursting with useful as well as what they’ll soon realise is surplus school equipment. However, there comes a point where having a bag full of stationary is cool and you’re the class idiot for not having a pen. After all, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. With this in mind when I received an email from my lead tutor this year, Paul, with an attachment for us to read I printed it straight off and began to devour it.

Our first lecture back, like most peoples, was a formality spent covering module information. Taking a quick note of all the boring but necessary information like how many credits each module is worth, the final hand in date and the distribution of work between coursework and exams.

My next semester looks a little like this:

In Design Studio: Close Up – taught by Felipe Lanuza – we will be redesigning the foyer of the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage, inspired by the innovative theory of Garden Cities.

Below are my notes from the first studio lecture. We looked at previous plans for Garden Cities, using the images as a stimulus to imagine the interior.

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Final sketchbook page

I was inspired by the green areas visible in the image, immediately envisaging a fresh modern square accommodation block surrounding a circular green space and fountain. Taking heed of the geometric shapes in the image, specifically the grid windows in the top left hand corner, I sketched a rough modular design. Also thinking along the lines of a minimal, yet interchangeable layout. A space you could make your own with customisable storage and kitchen units, for example,  which can be updated and moved around. The premise of being able to update the design was also at the forefront of my concept.

The modern world is constantly coming up with new gadgets and clever design ideas, a space that could be upgraded to accommodate these new innovations would in itself be somewhat innovative.

 

Final Crit

As mentioned before crits are incredibly nerve wracking, but nothing prepared me for the dry throat panic of THE FINAL CRIT. The this is it, nothing more you can do, no pressure but what you say in the next 20 minutes affects your grade crit. I think I speak for the entire class when I say I was holding my pen with white knuckles as I quickly scribbled a few last-minute notes on what to say, anticipating a mental block.
Learning how to present your ideas is crucial; as someone who doesn’t relish the idea of public speaking, I thought it best to plan out my presentation. Unfortunately, what I didn’t anticipate was that in a moment of pure fear, I forgot how to read. I was left standing blankly, note pad held limply in my hand as I stared at my lecturers and peers as if they’d all just fallen from a tree.

 

Fortunately, as I said in the previous post, the support of your classmates can be the difference between sink or swim. One look of ‘what the fuck are you doing’ from the back of the class was enough to jump start me into life. I rambled for what felt like years about Permindar’s work and how that, in turn, influenced my design. I tripped over words, the jot stuck in my teeth and tittle rolling around in my mouth, and eventually spat out what I can only hope was a coherent sentence. I had already thought about the layout of my work and had it on the wall in what I felt was a methodical way so that the presentation flowed nicely. Or, as nicely as it could when a prickly heat is rapidly taking over your body, encouraging you to talk as quickly as possible to get out of there. Presenting is something that, although unpleasant, gets easier. And fortunately with fear comes adrenalin.

When I slumped down into my chair after the presentation I was red-faced, embarrassed, and frantically chocking back a lump in my throat, but I was pumped. Pumped because although I wanted to cry, I didn’t. And because I had presented my work- work that I was proud of. And most of all, because I was now officially done with first year.

 

Let summer ensue.