So, you want to talk about design and its role in a complex, networked and technologically driven world? Phew I'll make it personal so put the seatbelt on, might get hot in here, relax and enjoy!
Let's look deeper at the definition of design, imagine more than just a solution, choice of colors, conceptual model or typography, imagine it as a lifestyle. Each of us is a designer of own life while life is an independent project with several deadlines dictated by society, moral conduct or a law for example. We had a year already to slow down, forget the daily rat race, breathe out and think, think a lot. At first, majority got terrified and disappointed, maybe even scared when regular life and daily routine so dramatically changed by global pandemic. It changed everybody's life without exceptions. But how long it is beneficial to be devastated and mourn for broken dreams and plans?! At some point you want it or no, but you need to start thinking creatively of the next step or potential progression route, otherwise human would not be as amazing creature as it is if it would not be able to adapt. I found myself in a shared birdhouse sized rented apartment, on the bottom of career ladder, slowly hitting 30 in the city of stars which doesn't shine as bright as in the first year of immigration. Who am I, what am I doing here, where am I going?! Most my agers got families maybe already two, degrees maybe two as well, settled down, invested into properties, travelled the world etc. and me? I left career of an operations manager to start all over again here in the U.K, with help of DPS year I expected to design my life/career path in my own way, but no, it will not be a story of a life changing placement. Trying to find my place on labor market within design industry I did not find myself. Decolonization and equal opportunities only sound good but reality hits harder. Placements offers terrifying low pay which is maybe alright when you are just a student trying to get a very first in life work experience. Graphic designers, who are they thought I, scrolling through another offer tailored exactly for them. Disability and belonging to ethnic minority, nope it is not about me. Trying to fill the gap and seeing different approach of students from variety disciplines and focusing more and more on Self-Initiated Project - the social research and a photo project based on study of what is HOME for people of London, from first sources I learned a lot about values, fears and weaknesses of people from different socially economic backgrounds, that inspired me as never before. I met amazing people who shared their stories, I’ am not afraid to say, opened their hearts to me. Learned more about other photobook authors and got more inspired to launch my own. Inspite government guidance (I’d like to highlight word guidance not the law) I traveled London gathering stories and seeing amazing ways of people living was it a boat on one of city canals, hostels, bunk beds through lit windows of night city, private villas etc. waiting for it to open its doors for me to come with interviews. I was lucky to witness how in different boroughs people coped with restrictions and where these made people go out of their comfort zones. Researched publishing opportunities as all of this primal research has to be followed but publishing of a photobook. One of amazing people I met shared his success formula, he studied physics but works in FX sales in Lloyd’s bank, nothing special really, he simply applied for a graduate work opportunity in his last year of a course and was promoted several times since then. Simple guy in early 20's on 80k+ annual pay, saved and bought his own house, travelled the world etc. Here I done a little research and found out that really a lot of people does not really work in the industry related to their degree title, I’ll be simple here, degree just puts you on another level “a bit” above other workers without it, and straight after realizing I decided to find out where can BA in Illustration lead me, so…. A little woman from a little country with ambitions bigger than Victorian shack she lives in and not so successful story (did you ever watch The pursuit of happiness?), suddenly realizes she qualifies for the worlds best business schools available in London. Only two things to sort -first is as smaller as possible number on the degree (1.1 would be great, here Sarah’s email with statistics of DPS students graduating with highest grades gives enough of motivation and hope) and second is GMAT exam with again highest of possible score. With help of QS company orientated on providing support during whole preparation and application to MBA courses, my doubts and fears varnished. Apart of completing undertaken projects, searching for people to interview for SIP and working to pay bills I worked on designing my future and life, luckily DPS gave me this opportunity. I did not find a placement within design industry, but I found where I want to be in next 3 years. Time. Time is the only value in life which cannot be extended, bought, earned or borrowed. Our time is limited. At first starting DPS year during the so-called pandemic I felt disappointed not being able to fulfill my expectations in professional practice and put a list of recognized company names on the CV, therefore realizing that clock is ticking, when if not now will be a right time to work on a branding and shaping self for labor market of tomorrow. I can proudly state I did not waste the time but invested it in personal development mostly. Projects undertaken taught to adapt, research and widen the knowledge about ways of working with images, producing images, designing images on potential products, think strategically and apply it not only on projects but on own life as well. Work not to pay bills but to develop skills of interest, to become a better person, fight inner fears, lack of confidence and believe in self inspite all. What about design and its role in a complex, networked and technologically driven world? I designed my DPS year pretty well, adapted to virtual way of presenting self and gaining information, moved from physical creation of design solutions to completely digital, networked with people and organizations, created advertisements to attract audience of interest…Complex? But what is simple in this world?! Life is complex but we – creative people design it as we want.
Couple of taken by me photographs of random participants in HOME project, Moldovan pharmacist, refugee from Afghanistan, mysterious macaw whisperer from Primrose hill park, MA graduate from sunny Delhi and a happy young banker. Names will be used only in the book :P One of digital handbooks given by QS to participants of global MBA conference. https://beaslouise.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/my-quarter-life-crisis-cycle/ https://www.harveker.com/blog/ambition-can-achieve/
If you ever found yourself in the position where you feel small, powerless, unqualified and stuck in foreign country trying to fulfill expectations of your ancestors or simply want to see stories of some unbelievable strong people stories here are a couple of films to cheer you up.
The Pursuit of Happyness 2006 ‧ Drama Slumdog Millionaire 2008 Darama/Romance Desert Flower 2009 ‧ Drama Pirates of Silicon Valley 1999 ‧ Drama/Docudrama The wolf of Wall street 2013 ‧ Drama/Comedy