Tutorial // FMP

Tutorial with Matt this morning.  I’ve reached and gone through my (possibly) final impasse and perhaps most important point.  I finally know what I’m doing/saying.

Image result for about time meme

So rather than have this great nebulous subject that people are forced to make a decision on, the whole premise would be awareness.  That is awareness of yourself, and of others, within the context of a wider subject.  The crux is about personal positioning, and how we find ourselves drawn to things or forced away from them, and what things we listen to or don’t listen to.  Why do we listen to some news and not others?  Why do we believe in certain politicians but believe the other ones to be liars?  Most importantly, this experience is different for different people and it all depends on so many different factors.  That’s why I’ve reached this point – I was trying to give people a topic or a subject and get them to choose.  Some graphic designed version of Sophie’s Choice.  But I’ve come to realise now that it’s not some binary choice made between black and white, yes or no.  There is a vast middle ground that’s not explored or questioned, which is where my project lies.

What if the goal was to create awareness?  Not of a given thing, but of themselves, and of others.  The whole idea at this point is to demonstrate our differences, how we are the same, and importantly demonstrate what things are important to different people.  This awareness of others comes back to how we position ourselves in a wider whole.  The ‘whole’ in this case is society, not a particular topic.

I can’t give people one thing to pick from, because it needs to come from themselves.  By making a choice, or way finding, they become aware of their needs/wants/desires/dislikes, in relation to different people.

I discussed with Matt the Degree Show itself.  People will be forced to make decisions on unfamiliar topics and unfamiliar things, and be encouraged to think laterally, liberally, and a bit left of centre than perhaps they would have previously.  Matt said “They should leave feeling as though their brains are a little bigger.”

So I saw this the other week which has spurred a lot of my decision.

Getting the attendee to make the graphics in your booth. "Great way to add some interactivity" -triadcreativegroup.com::

I’m not going to recreate this, of course, but something similar that explains the journeys of other people along with some visual aid, that also makes you aware of your position in relation to others.  It becomes this map of “What Made You” – but of course the finished product is the sum of what made a number of different individuals, and not just one person’s choices and feelings.

For my subject and topic area, this would be a little more divisive.  I think the ‘pins’ in my case would be a topic, and the string would be an emotion.  Perhaps if you followed someone’s journey through anger or fear, and what caused those feelings and what encouraged them to feel that way?

Basically, what would be the pins and what would be the string?

Of course by the time I come around to designing this myself I won’t be using this method, but I think the mechanism is there.  I want it to be some visual story of peoples’ journey, their way finding through the topics, and your position in relation to them.  Together, this provides a visual ‘map’ if you will of the way that people think, and the way that people found themselves thinking that way in particular.

I think one of the most important things I’ve always looked for in my practice is to encourage people to think about themselves.  Be excellent to each other is a perfect way of describing what I always want to achieve.  With the Pearson D&AD brief, or the Big Idea, or Real World back at the start of the year, I want people to think differently and for the betterment of themselves, and as a whole.  By creating an awareness of other peoples’ journeys and feelings gives the viewer the perfect opportunity to think of themselves as one of many, and to realise the importance of the journeys of others.  We are always told that we don’t exist in a bubble – nobody does.

If people leave my exhibition with perhaps a little bit more awareness of themselves, and that they are not the only person with a journey and a story, then I’ll have done what I set out to achieve.

PDP – Constellation

Despite the fact that I’ve always enjoyed reading and certainly writing, something I have struggled with since first year was finding relevance to my course within Constellation. I will always remember a terrible lecture we had in first year on William Morris and ceramics and I just couldn’t understand what purpose this would possibly serve. Contextualising my practice makes sense, but I couldn’t make any connections with the context they were providing us. This has definitely changed now that the nature of Constellation has become a lot more focussed on what we want to be learning about, rather than what we have to learn.

I thoroughly enjoy the written aspect of the course and the dissertation is something I’ve been looking forward to writing and exploring since we started in first year. The obvious first step was to identify something that I was passionate about, something that would hold my interest for the next year – if I found it boring or taxing then I’d inevitably lose interest pretty quickly.

Initially, I had chosen to pursue the module led by Catherine Davies, as I had missed out on the opportunity in first year: she’s a popular lady! I was over the moon that I’d managed to secure a place because it meant exploring something that I found captivating and worthwhile. I have a great deal of interest in femininity in visual media, particularly with how women are presented a certain way. It’s something I had written about in first year with Mahnaz so to explore this in greater detail has been really beneficial to my understanding and contextualising some of my own work. It can be difficult sometimes to contextualise to our practice within Graphic Communication, as a lot of the time we are given briefs that do not necessarily lend themselves to exploring what you would really like to look at. A branding exercise for a company does not usually lend itself to an exploration of femininity, the female form, the ‘goddess’ or the ‘monster’. The portrayal of both women and men in media is something that I now feel a great deal of awareness about, and I think it’s something that will continue to inform and help me.

When required to submit a dissertation ‘idea’ form, I didn’t want to stick to what I had already done – albeit a short 3,000 word essay on the portrayal of women in media in first year, which was very similar to what Cath was teaching through the Goddesses and Monsters theme. I wanted to stretch myself and come out of my comfort zone. As I have an interest in teaching, creativity, and art and design, and is a career I look to pursue, I decided to look more at the idea of creativity within education, and how this is changing or being effected within schools. I have been assigned Mahnaz as my tutor which I’m definitely looking forward to as I worked with her in first year. Some of the tutorials we had were helpful in pointing me in the direction of some well-known authors in the field of developmental psychology and the role that this plays in our fundamental creative tendencies. This essay has really peaked an interest, as it’s overwhelmingly clear that what is being explored by psychologists and in the education literature is not transcending to schools, certainly not in my own personal experience and evidenced by a decreasing level of interest in artistic/creative subjects in school. According to a Guardian article, the amount of money given to the arts (0.3% of public spending) is negligible compared to what is generated within the arts sector; whether it be exhibitions, museums, stage production, music, drama.

This all started very loosely, and it still feels a bit that way, but after speaking with Mahnaz I wanted to look more at the idea of creativity as a subject, as something that could be or can’t be taught. Certain theorists I’ve studied have differing standpoints on this, but using the psychology behind creativity will be more a basis from which to work. Placing this research within the realm of a modern day classroom, or even workplace, and whether or not we’re truly getting the best out of people. Is creativity the final piece of the puzzle that people aren’t tapping into? It is my belief that we could be generating scores of bright, creative people, but we’re not. Why is that? Even in the workplace we are encouraged to get our heads down, get on with our work, and get by. Where are the new ideas? Are they being discouraged?

I want to look at the ways in which we implement creativity, and how we think. The ways in which we interact with each other and the world around us is fundamental to our existence, and central to our success as a species. Our understanding informs us but it also shapes us. If we’re not being allowed to reach our fullest potential, if creativity is this untapped resource that few are accessing, can we truly understand what’s happening around us and make informed yet radical decisions? Or do we all just stay the same, like cogs in some great machine.

I think this subject is something that is of pertinence to my course, as Graphic Communication is a way of problem-solving and ideation. It requires smart thoughts and new ideas, and to me is a perfect example of being taught how to tackle a problem creatively. Yes, we are taught ‘creative thinking’ strategies, how to mind-map or use other techniques, but at it’s core there is a simple truth – you are presented with a problem, go and find the best way to deal with it. Without the thinking of a few who thought quite far outside of the box, we would be living in a very different 2016. Phones, tablets, television, apps and even our print-based medias might not be what they are today without those creative thinkers.