Week 7: Challenge Layout

Studio Practice

How do you approach research methodologies for your academic journey?

  • Choose an object you feel has a story to reveal.
  • Write a 300 word text acknowledging the texts that link to your writing.
  • Upload an image of object with the title of your written precis onto the ideas wall, and further elaborate in your blog.
  • Design your object and 300 word text, with references, as an editorial piece to be seen in print or on screen.


Sewing has been part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I made my first dress on my mother’s hand-cranked Singer sewing machine at the age of twelve. Sewing clothes for myself has given me freedom from ill-fitting mass-produced clothes, but is it always the case?

The industrial revolution in Great Britain saw rapid expansion in the development of tools designed to ease the manufacturing purposes, which had positive and negative consequences for the working classes of all industries.

Thirty years after Thomas Hood wrote his poem “The Song of the Shirt” highlighting the gruelling conditions under which piece-workers sewed garments, and subsequently, the sewing machine gained popularity in England, the invention was proving to benefit capitalists further up in social strata rather than the workers using the machines. Where seamstresses could expect to receive “threepence-halfpenny” for a shirt before the introduction of the sewing machine, after, that amount reduced to “one penny and threefarthings” (The Sewing Machine and its Victims, 1875, p. 220).

In 1863, The Eclectic Review raised concerns that “in an establishment where, two years ago, two hundred women were engaged to work, only some forty are now kept … the displaced women must often hover about the workhouse steps” (The Charities of London, 1863, p.169). A wider study was done by the London Journal in 1875, and it summarised that the sewing machine “in the hands of capitalists has proved to be more of a curse than a blessing to those whose fate it is, and has been immemorially, to work … and the promise with which its general introduction was heralded, like many another, worse than an airy nothing” (The Sewing Machine and its Victims, 1875, p. 220)

In the middle class of the age, Lance proclaimed that “any lady of ordinary ability can learn the use of the sewing machine in half a dozen lessons” (Lance, F., Social Subjects, p.365) and it benefitted women who chose to use the machine rather than learnt as a necessity. Much as my sewing machine benefits me, today, as I choose to make my own clothes.

The research will be based on qualitative methods to assess how women of different social strata were affected by the advent of the sewing machine, and draw from periodicals, reports and advertisements of 1840s–1880s London whilst critically assessing the sources. As a point of further exploration, the research will extend to a comparison between the textile industry of nineteenth-century England and the global textile industry where similar exploitative practices can be seen.


Self-sewn clothes on the washing line

Editorial layout

Editorial precis_19th


THE CHARITIES OF LONDON. 1863. The Eclectic review, 4, pp. 167-183.

LANCE, F., 1874. SOCIAL SUBJECTS. London society: an illustrated magazine of light and amusing literature for the hours of relaxation, Jan.1862-Dec.1886, 26(154), pp. 365-374.

THE SEWING MACHINE AND ITS VICTIMS. The London Journal, and weekly record of literature, science, and art, Mar. 1845-Apr. 1906; London Vol. 62, Iss. 1599,  (Oct 2, 1875): 220-221.

Stedman, Edmund Clarence, ed. A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1895; Bartleby.com, 2003.


Week 7: Critical Research Journal

Lecture: Martin Hosken, lecturer in critical theory at Falmouth

The aim of the lecture was to unpack research itself and the difference between method and methodologies and to place an emphasis on instinctive curiosity rather than spending too much time unpicking academic lexicon.

The exercise this week is to encourage us to explore an find out more about a subject, join information and draw analysis from data not previously joined, and to promote new understanding of a subject. I’ve thought a lot about making new connections between data and situations and hope to use this in this week’s task.

Hosken posed interesting questions, which I paused the lecture to quickly answer:

  • Is research a science, an art or a craft?

My first instinct is science, because research as I remember it was usually conducted in science and technology lessons at school. However, that wasn’t the case, as we researched artists, musicians, composers, writers, throughout school, and at university, I spent a large amount of time researching and studying for philosophy, social anthropology and English studies, albeit in a less structured form. It took art and instinct to push the boundaries into unexplored areas, however, there was a method that I developed and learnt. In conclusion, a craft seems the best fit out of the three.

  • Is it primarily an academic exercise or an activity of life?

I feel we all naturally research every day, through living, and our decisions are based on either conscious research and looking outside ourselves, or based on our empirical experiences, whether we realise it or not?

  • When was the last time I had to engage in research? (I am assuming outside of this course!)

Formally, it was when I was designing a book cover for a recent book, and I explored what already on the market for a book for a similar age group and with similar themes. I also looked into Pictish and Celtic art and typography to give the aesthetic an authentic feeling. Though, as I type this, I am beginning to recognise many other occasions at work where I have deployed research for design and creative purposes.

Hosken asked us to stop the lecture and to spend then minutes looking around the room to engage with my environment. This is similar to a grounding exercise that I sometimes do: name five sights, four sounds, three physical feelings, two smells and one taste. Like John, I wrote out my experience as a way to engage further. This can be considered a primary source of material because although I am typing it up later, I am not editorialising from the original written words.

I feel cosy sitting in a big blue chair with a blanket Cassie knitted. It’s peaceful, through the washing machine is annoying. The room has been repainted for us, an off-white. True white would be cold and cheap-looking but the magnolia adds warmth. There are already some marks on the wall from moving in. The alcoves on either side suggest a covered up fireplace, and the corner to the left has marks as if someone has rubbed against it. The ceiling is very high, which means the room doesn’t feel overly small, and we’ve hung some pictures up high. The furniture is mostly wood, not Ikea white like in my room. There are brackets up high to hand a washing line, or so we thought, but we talked to the neighbours and found out that it was because the lead tenant crammed in as many people as possible and the brackets held a privacy curtain. Laurel the cat has walked in and shaken her head, sounding the tiny bell around her neck. The window is pretty large for most rented property, and couldn’t be smaller else it would feel dismal in here. The room isn’t quite square, which is annoying for putting furniture in. The cat gives a pitiful miaow.

The etymology of the word research can be traced back through French and Latin roots, and I’m interested that a word primarily associated with mental activity has the Latin root meaning “to wander through”: a physical activity.  The crossover between mental and physical space is a subject I have explored in depth as an English student and would like to continue studying from a design perspective.

I’m not going to repeat the rest of the lecture, instead, I will add what my response has been. I knew the difference between qualitative and quantitive data, but because I learnt the difference from a scientific point of view, I have always favoured quantitive research because the results are measurable. I’m not entirely sure why this viewpoint has held, though, because I have conducted so much research for my BA English that was entirely qualitative rather than quantitive. It was useful to hear that the different academics could approach research from different points of view; the example given was that a sociologist might approach a research question from a psychoanalytic methodology and a linguist from an anthropological one. Both can be useful, but one may be more appropriate than the other.

Hosken’s Guide to What Makes a Good Research Question:

  1. It is of academic and intellectual interest
  2. It is a full and nuanced question
  3. It is substantial
  4. It can be assessed
  5. It is clear and simple
  6. It is interesting: not too convenient, or too questionable.

Lecture – with Yuki Kappes

This was a fascinating lecture, and I was really taken by Yuki’s drive to play and to push one thing further. The Ace & Tate Saffron campaign where they used everyday objects into the shoot was great because it really showed me that you don’t need amazing sets and props to really make a stellar piece of work.

“Humans are absurd and amazing” – probably a paraphrase somewhere there!

Thanks, Ella for the Harvard referencing system guide!

  1. Laurel, B. (Ed) (2003) Design Research: Methods and Perspectives (Links to an external site.). Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Week 6: Critical Reflective Journal

This week I found a treasure trove of the art in the area, so will start my Critical Research Journal in Walthamstow and go on to the resources provided by Falmouth.

I love the Arts and Crafts movement and Morris’ design ethic. Also at the museum was an exhibition of the artist Madge Gill, who is also local to the area, and created amazing black line drawings as well as textiles.

There’s also a mural of her on the high street:


I wanted to also check out a cafe to do some work in, but the atmosphere was a little stifling, so I made my way to the library to see if they had any local archives. They directed me to Vestry House Museum, which is based in the building of the old workhouse. They have images and history of the area, and examples of what middle-class Victorian household would have looked like. I was interested to learn that even in Victorian England where workhouse conditions were terrible, those who were unfortunate to end up in the workhouse were treated with compassion by the community rather than disdain as was common in different communities.

There is also a local history archive, but it only opens when I am at work, and will visit another time. Helen Stone created an exhibition called Trousseau in which she researched the history of her maternal line and discovered that many were laundresses and charwomen in E17. She took typical items that her ancestors would have worn and stitched details of their lives on them:

Afterwards, I headed to God’s Own Junkyard where the Neon Man, Chris Brace, displays his neon artwork. It’s a dazzling display of handcrafted neon signs set against salvaged ephemera


John Berger film, Ways of Seeing

I watched the whole series of this, not just because I was interested in the subject, but because I love Berger’s shirts!

Brereton, R. (2009) Sketchbooks; The Hidden Art of Designers, Illustrators and Creatives. Lawrence King: London.

Looking at sketchbooks, I see how open they are, and how they could be regarded as diaries for a designer. The designers featured aren’t precious about what they put in them, and seem to regard them as a way to play, and in the case of Dreibholz to connect with friends, and they became “a collection of thoughts, experiments, notes from lectures, graphic ephemera we found and other things”.

The style of the sketchbooks has changed for each designer through their career. For example, Saville notes that in the 1980s, he “was dealing with the visual problems of others alongside my own interests”, whereas now he is “increasingly called upon to diagnose problems rather than find visual solutions, and so my sketchbooks have become almost exclusively notebooks”. As he looks back at them, he feels that “all my notebooks trace my ability to read the world around me, so if I look back through the years, I can see changes in what I notice.” He notes that “the process of learning to look can make the simplest things quite amazing and beautiful.”

My art director told me to always carry a notebook, no matter what, and I do. It’s been a useful pad when I’ve forgotten to bring paper to a first-aid training course, for sketching out what I mean to other people, and to sketch out ideas whilst travelling. My application portfolio for this course included sketches for page layouts I did on the bus. I’m all for notebooks, but I wonder how these designers use them in a digital world. Most content that I absorb is on a screen, and so printing it off seems to be a wasteful and time-consuming enterprise that takes away from the spontaneity of the system. At the same time, digital scrapbooks, for example, Pinterest, don’t have the individuality and cut and paste of the analogue scrapbook. To have both digital and paper sketchbooks seems to me to split minds. Sketch-booking is something I’d like to make myself do more, no matter what it is!

Hara, K. (2015) Ex-Formation. Lars Muller: Zurich.

I’m definitely guilty of placing too much emphasis on knowledge. As an academically solid and socially awkward child, knowing things was how I could create an identity for myself. But that has led to, as an adult and something I’ve become painfully aware of the past weeks, a desire to show off knowledge, but WHY?!

Hara states that “knowledge is merely the entrance to thought” and that ” ‘to know things’ is where the imagination starts, not the goal.” By throwing facts back and forth in a conversation, “we stopped the continual and difficult kneading [from which originality rises] and begun a consistent game of information catch”. Food for thought, for me.

From the next given examples, I took the most from “If the River Were a Road”, where images of roads are super-imposed onto river beds. The designers say that “the river inlaid with an asphalt road conveys the river’s size and shape much more vividly hat would ordinary photographs”, and I like the effect of transposing one method of transport with another. In “Tokyo Camouflage”, Matsubara draws our attention to details of the neighbourhoods he features, and makes obvious what we would overlook. I think this is a key point of this week, taking note of what is there around us and why.

Critical thinking: Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience 

There’s so much that I’d like to quote! I’ve found this a very useful guide to connecting the more esoteric theory to everyday life.

External sources I looked at this week:

Week 6: Noticing the Ignored

The Brief

This week will involve you going out to really look, explore and record a local geographic area. Be prepared, plan your trip and visit several times; perhaps even at different times of day / night.

  • Identify your chosen geographic location. Select a street nearby to you within 1 or 2 miles from where you live.
  • Document it, explore it, evidence it.
  • Come up with something unique to your street.
  • Present your interpretation of your street in the media and format of your choice.
  • Load your work to the ideas wall, and post a link to your blog demonstrating your development and your reflection.

My process

I’m new to Walthamstow, so I’m using this week’s brief to get out and about around the area and to really explore what’s going on. I have visited in the past, but never have I really looked. On Sunday I set out with only one initial aim: to visit the William Morris Gallery and then to go to a cafe to sit down and absorb this week’s course materials. It wasn’t a true dérive as coined by Guy Debord, because I did have an aim, but in between I let myself wander.

Here’s the post describing what I found.


Screenshot 2019-07-07 at 14.43.23.png

This is the area I have chosen: from St James Street station heading east to Hoe Street. This is a long stretch, and it’s possible to see the history of the street and where different sections begin and start. On Sunday, I took 3D photos on my phone every 50 steps or so, and also ten seconds of audio. At this point, I wasn’t sure what my final piece would look like, but thought that I could start my gathering raw data and observe the changes down the street. The 3D images on my phone look great, but I can’t extract them very well to display: a failed experiment, but I’d like to look into this type of media in the feature.

As I walked down the high street, I noticed how international it is and how many cultures thrive together. I’m looking into the last census and the area is amazingly diverse: signs and food shops in over ten languages. I’m finding a way to incorporate that into my piece.

There were a few graphic points of interest that I noticed as I was walking, namely the unification of shop signage on the West End of the high street. After research, I found that in 2015, money was raised by the council from the Heritage Lottery Fund, shop freeholders and leaseholders and volunteers, with the aim to:

… repair and improve 59 properties and restore a number of historic features.

This included restoring the original brickwork as well as removal of unnecessary signage and clutter, installation of new shopfronts, and architectural lighting to landmark buildings.

It also transformed the St James St/High Street junction to improve access with new heritage paving and lighting columns, benches, landscaping …

St James’ Street Improvements

The shop fronts now use muted colours with business names displayed in a fine-line all-capital serif font. It’s quite the change from the typographic mishmash at the eastern end of the high street.

Owen Hatherley has been critical of the changes made at the St James’ Street end of the high street, saying that although it is good to have funding for the area, the step to unify the shop signage is an “anally retentive mistake, driven by a total misunderstanding of what makes London interesting”. I have to agree: although the shops would have looked uniform, since four years ago, other businesses have moved in and not kept with the new aesthetic, spoiling the original vision.

3D Writing

Shop signs tended to use 3D type, whether physically, like the knock-off Tesco, or simulated like the Romax coffee shop, eel and pie shop, and pieces of street art. Definitely a skill I would like to master!

William Morris

William Morris was born in the area, and there are lots of references to him! The first two images are technically not on the street I choose, but I thought showed a lovely project by school children to paint Morris-esque patterns onto the railway bridge, elevating what would otherwise be an overlooked spot. The irony that Morris was sceptical of technology can’t be lost!

These birds are definitely not William Morris, but I feel like the colours, birds and swooping tails are intended to evoke his style.

Adverts of days gone past


I managed to find one example of a ghost advert on the high street, and there are a lot more around the high street. I like the juxtaposition between the Printing Works advertised above the “Mobile Solutions” shop – how the dissemination of information has changed!

Hand-written signs

Lots of handwritten signs in shop windows in different languages, offering rooms, food, and services (what else to call a Japanese Massage?!).

Terrible neon signage

I feel overly harsh including this because neon is hard, but compared to the beautiful signs of God’s Own Junkyard, I feel like the Nando’s and Turtle Bay signs are badly-executed tributes. There are also Christmas lights left up all year, c’mon guys!

My response

After a look at the street, I wanted to draw these elements together, and also to include a map. The National Library of Scotland has a huge resource of online maps, and I chose the earliest map I could find with clear details from c.1890s.


I used a lightbox to create a map of the high street and the surrounding area in the style of Madge Gill, another local artist (explored in my CRJ post). She uses black ink on paper with lots of different patterns, which I utilised to show different land use. Along the high street I used overlapping ripples to show the importance of the shops in the community. The checkerboard is residential, the railway lines are hashed and the clear areas with stars are green open spaces.madge-gill.jpg

In the 2011 census, Walthamstow was shown to be a very diverse area, and other than English, these languages are commonly spoken: Polish, Urdu, Romanian, Turkish, Lithuanian, Punjabi, Tamil, Bengali, French and Bulgarian. I thought about incorporating textiles from each culture into the piece, as there are many fabric shops on the high street, but came to the conclusion that it made it much too busy.

Instead, I chose to use language to show this diversity, and used the phrase Welcome to Walthamstow, because I feel this is fitting! It was a challenge to find out the correct phrase in each language that was suitable for the context, and also to then find correct typefaces to display them. I did a taster course in Arabic in sixth form, so know that there are usually four versions of each letter depending on the position in the letter, and vowels are marked not but their own glyph but by dots above and below the consonants. But I think I got it!

welcome tob-01.png

Final piece


The background of the piece is an acid-bright depiction of a William Morris print, and he would have hated it because he took a stand against artificial pigments and chose to print his work using natural colours, however I feel it is more representative of the area now.

I twisted the map around because the high street takes a more natural top-left to the bottom-right path, and serves to cut up the page. Of course, this high street does it opposite, it connects people and communities, and I love juxtaposition (see above paragraph). The text crosses over the map to bridge the divide in the page, whilst keeping enough of it on the less patterned background to make it legible.

Week 5: Critical Reflective Journal

Seminar with Laura Gill

In our seminar this week, Laura Gill came on to talk more about her work. She seems to have many hats on! Her Keep It Complex, Make it Clear project is a grassroots poster campaign that allows people to engage with politics without it being overwhelming. I like that the name suggests that we should stay away from soundbites and keep focussed on the complexity of politics, whilst making it easier for people to understand.

The main thing that resonated with me the most is how she creates design frameworks that others can come in and add their own experiences, for example migrants, and have the living design framework celebrate concepts such as human movement rather than stigmatising migration.

A Study of the Design Process and Eleven Lessons: Managing Design

Divided Brain by Iain McGilchrist

Thinking too much, and Thinking too little and Exercising the Mind by Alain de Botton

Alain De Botton explores thinking and exercising the mind in a short animated film Thinking too much; and Thinking too little, and a chapter in the book of life on Exercising the Mind.

Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience

This week I didn’t engage as thoroughly with the materials as I could have done, and this is the cause and effect of struggling with the challenge this week. I read and watched the materials, however I didn’t make notes, which for me is key in my understanding and retention. So hands up, I could have done much better this week.

Week 5: Brief 2 & Challenge

Studio Practice

This week you will:

  • Explore and find an example of a way of thinking. This could be from the area of arts, design, philosophy or science.
  • Choose a thinker or a process and summarise in a black line drawing.
  • Explore models of thinking – what sorts of theories and process models exist to help us generate ideas?
  • Document your whole process and reflect upon it in your blog.
  • Upload your final black line drawing to the ideas wall and a link to your blog showing process and reflection.


I went down a rabbit hole this week: from the lecture and resources and after talking to Joe I felt confident that I would be able to produce a good piece of work. Then I started researching and overthinking. This is an editorialised, similar to Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, portrayal of my thought and design process.

Joe shared with me Francis Alys’ work Green Line where he carried a bucket of green paint with a hole in (Dear Liza…) along the armistice line between Jordan and Israel. He was “greeted by onlookers with some bewilderment” (1), which makes me smile. I wonder how many people pointed out the dribble before Alys explained.

A process that leaves a mark on the earth without explanation when you first encounter it appeals to me; but I can’t justify pouring paint on a London pavement for environmental/fly-tipping/angry councils at me. Alys also says that he “wanted to ask what the role of poetic acts could be in highly charged political situations while acknowledging that the relation of poetics to politics is always contingent” (1) and this is inspiring to me because I’ve always shied away from what I feel are difficult subjects.

Similar to Alys’ artwork, Garrett Car walked along the border of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after the Brexit vote to demonstrate the permeability of the border: in some cases, fields straddle the border, or it is marked by hedgerows (2). But the customs check border that politicians are arguing about? It doesn’t exist either physically or people’s minds, as residents of both RoI and NI cross the border for employment, business, education and healthcare. It made me consider what invisible borders are present around me that I could tread and document, which can also link back to Iain Sinclair’s Walking the Ginger Line (3), although his work differs because it explores the temporal differences between places now connected by the Ginger Line.

My history doing BA English means that I have a fair grounding in philosophical and literary critical thinking, so I dug around my memory for a different theory. Hegel’s spiral of dialectical theory interests me, but I struggled on how I would demonstrate this as a black line drawing in a novel way without copying existing visual models. I also went back to Plato and Aristotle and mimēsis (4): in a world where images are so copied and digitally replicated, is the original perfect form lost? In which frame would I place it?

The work of Alfred North Whitehead fascinate me and I found a wealth of criticism on his models and processes in the online Falmouth library (5). He approached processes from the mathematical point of view and applied it to creativity. But I couldn’t quite grasp the process well enough to feel confident to commit it to a black line drawing as per the brief.


I feel like the double-diamond model of thinking suits how I have trained myself to think through the years, in a more concrete format. Ideas, or a problem, appear to me as instinct as a singularity, and then I collect research, push at the boundaries, before distilling to a more refined idea incorporating different branches into one, idea that is tested in development before it is presented as a final project. The growth of the idea is rarely as neat as the two diverging lines, and the path I take in the diamonds is more a squiggle than a linear path. But when do paths have to be straight?


And so the overthinking continued until Stuart said that what I most definitely what was doing. I went back to the brief and tossed out lots of ideas. Lots of ideas that I couldn’t quite grasp? Out. Running a route? Love it, but I’ve done it before and want to test myself like Alice did last week.

The brief did say that black line, and I take this is a hard and fast rule that my project has to address. What is a line? In a mathematical sense, it is the realisation from a one-dimensional singularity into a two-dimensional plane between two points. It is straight in this context, but contour lines on a map define the height at a certain point on a bumpy plane. 


In art, you can use lines to define an edge and to add value to a surface to create the illusion of three dimensions. For example, in wood and metal engraving most commonly used in the


A line can separate, a line can guide. It can be arbitrary: to provide meaning and context whilst not necessarily dividing. Or, it can be divisive, by separating thoughts, people, countries, views.

A line can be something to follow until it divides into multiple paths, or smudges into streaks.


In this blog post, I consider what could constitute a black line, other than a black line on paper. The double diamond shape reminds me of a prism refracting its component colours; the original light is as close to white as you can manage and displays a rainbow. A parallel process is seen in chromatography, where you can split out the colours of ink using water:


The water acts as a medium, carrying the different pigments in an ink different distances according to the weight of the colour molecule. Since all black ink we make can only ever be an approximation of true black, splitting the ink into its different colours would create a random, prismatic effect.

This was my first attempt (not scientific) using newspaper (apparently a great type of paper for chromatography). I did leave it longer, but it didn’t work, and by that point, all the shops are closed.

New experiment now going ahead with a sharpie and coffee filter. Correction, apparently it can’t be a sharpie as they are permanent. D’oh.

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Above is my submission for today’s brief – the chromatography coffee filter I made yesterday has been quartered and arranged to resemble the double diamond design process. The original point has organically grown/exploded into something of itself, and shown fascinating colours, before clashing and reducing down to the final delivery. The shapes remind me of the anaphase change of cell division: the duplicated DNA separates into the two cells before a new cell wall is built between them.

Our process is just as fundamental to us as DNA is to life.


I also played around with layering the different stages of the chromatography:


and just letting ink dissipate on a soaked coffee filter:chromatography 3

Both form very natural images of a cross-section of a tree, and a gas cloud in the universe.


  1. Francis Alys at the Tate
  2. Carr, The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland’s Border. London: Faber, 2017.
  3. Sinclair, A Day’s Walk Around the Ginger Line. London: Penguin, 2016.
  4. Wikipedia on mimesis
  5. Example of criticism

Week 5: Black lines

“Amanda’s art projects take on a number of names, including the Vulture Sculptures and The Living Word. The idea consists of creating letters and words out of cow bones, fish guts, toxic-spill-killed birds, toilets from building demolition sites—essentially, dead objects, killed by humans in some way, either micro or macro. Amanda then invites these parts to be either eaten by vultures or covered in insects as this process is filmed from above. In her eyes, this process brings these objects back to life. She is highlighting the ability of the natural world and natural processes of life to make use of decaying, dead, or seemingly useless and unwanted materials. In a way, it does not matter what word she chooses to write out with the materials. The vultures and insects will always tear it apart or cover it up just the same. If we take language to be a marker of civilization and civilized society, a system of signifiers, what does this say about the hierarchy between the natural and constructed world? These pieces are great examples of ecofeminist art.

“What also fascinates Amanda about these projects is the way things are able to move and grow and then disappear. We learn that this fascination is tied to her identity as a, likely illegal, refugee from Texas. Beyond her art providing a way for her to feel both visible and invisible, I think there is also a connection to migrant and refugee bodies. Migration is often a risky and dangerous process in which people die. Bodies are found on the border, in bodies of water, and perhaps there is something comforting about returning to the earth and to the world through vulturizing. I hope we can share our thoughts on what Atwood is trying to say either about Amanda or about nature/civilization, ecofeminism, migration, or beyond through these art pieces.”

Amanda Payne’s Vulture Sculptures: Art as Social Commentary by Linda Luu

Week 4: Critical Reflective Journal

This week’s material was philosophically-based, and it was good to dig deep into the foundations of who I am and what I am as a designer and how I can use that to communicate my ideas with others.

Guest Lecture by Martin Hoskin

This was a fascinating lecture look back at the history of thinking around the self and consciousness, starting from when Copernicus proposed that the Earth revolved around the sun, rather than the opposite, in 1543. This caused a shift in thinking from seeing the world from a symbolic perspective to a scientific one. With the rise of industry and new technologies, power shifted from the ruling elite to the people and meant that Western autocracies fell.

Hoskin then introduced Freud’s Iceberg model as part of depth psychology as a way to illustrate the parts of self that were immediately reachable and the parts more hidden.


It was a ground-breaking model at the time like, say, Mendeleev’s periodic table, that has now been surpassed and built upon. Jung, Freud’s associate, disagreed with him that sexual desires were human’s primary drive, and went on to create a model of the Archetypal Self.


Sometimes discussion of the philosophical self doesn’t connect with me much: I can understand the theory, but don’t identify with it within myself. When Hoskins moved onto explaining the archetypes used in branding, for example, the hero, I began to place the philosophy into the world.

Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays pioneered what we now think of as marketing and propaganda, and his campaigns were effective because they drew on the philosophy of the time, rather than regarding it as a separate field of study.

Hoskin then moved onto what it means to exist, to be today. He mentioned that rather than people accepting your word that “I was there”, that a selfie is a more common identifier that we exist: “I can be Googled, therefore I am.”

I haven’t done the best in summing up the lecture, and I feel like I’m still getting to grips with it.

Giddens, A., (1991) The Trajectory of the Self. Cambridge: Polity Press

I feel like I understood more of this resource because it covers similar ground to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Exercises such as writing a journal and becoming aware of your thoughts, good or bad, are core elements of the therapy.

I found it interesting when Giddens expressed that “the writing of autobiographies (as well as biographies) only developed during the modern period” and that “autobiography … is actually at the core of self-identity in modern social life”. Writing a diary, or consciously asking how we are feeling forms a type of unofficial biography where we become aware of ourselves in our own context.

The following pages deal with “pure relationships” and “body awareness” that stepped out of my understanding, although I did find the examination of what anorexia means in the modern “open social environment” absorbing to read.

Additional Resources

  • The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind by Gustav Le Bon
    • I want to read this …
  • Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • I’ve downloaded this on Audible and am slowly making my way through it. It has some very interesting content, which I am at times struggling to understand, but I hope that with repeated listenings I will be able to absorb more.
  • Nudge theory
    • Positively pushing people to act in a certain way, for marketing or social good reasons


Week 4: Studio Practice

Studio Practice

Define your values as a designer and communicate them through a designed artefact:

  • Distill from your understanding of your practice, your character and your values as a designer (aspirational, honest, negative) make an initial list of 20 words that you can then edit down to five words.
  • Create a visual mood board for each word.
  • Create a single visual expression that conveys you (eg a film, 3D, typographic, an artefact or an experience.)
  • Document your whole process and reflect upon it on your blog.
  • Upload your five words and your final visual response to the ideas wall and a link to your blog.

Define your values as a designer and communicate them through a designed artefact:

  • Distill from your understanding of your practice, your character and your values as a designer (aspirational, honest, negative) make an initial list of 20 words …

I asked for help from my friends and colleagues because they have a good measure of me and my work/design practice (and I can be overly self-critical) so here they are:

  • Curious
  • Growing
  • Sensitive
  • Stylish/elegant
  • Ditzy
  • Contradictory
  • Clumsy
  • Resourceful
  • Inventive
  • Honest
  • Intelligent
  • Thorough to the point of pedantry
  • Professional
  • Cryptic-thinker
  • Anally retentive (thanks, Nic)
  • Focussed
  • No-nonsense
  • Funny/witty
  • Inappropriate
  • Off the wall

To pick out the five words out of twenty, I used a technique I’ve seen used in UX/UI design to narrow them down. I’ve also seen the process used in team-building “team focus consultations” (as nauseating as it sounds), psychotherapy, and my flatmate helping me to figure out what qualities I would like in a boyfriend (when I find the photo, I promise to share). Because this is a design course, the UX/UI reason is obviously the most important.


For UX/UI design the words tend to focus on the services you would like the website or end product to perform, and for this, I used the twenty qualities I picked out. Usually, all the words would be written on identical pieces of paper to not give them a hierarchy, but I did some pre-sorting on different colours to create separation in my head, and to make the photo prettier. I had cut up a lot of paper into squares for a Mental Health Awareness Week “pick-me-ups” and the colours suited this too. Pink is roughly personal qualities, green is design, yellow is practice values.

I was in the pub waiting for my friends to arrive and played around with them, sorting into different collections that I felt went together: negatives, positives, eccentric:

I wrote down my five, and when my friends arrived, I devised a cruel game based on the boyfriend-quality picking exercise my flatmate did with me. As one friend put it: who brings homework to a pub quiz FOR OTHER PEOPLE TO DO? They indulged me, the course, and my self-absorption on understanding that it’s really evil to make someone pick out the five qualities they think most fit you, and that I shouldn’t ever try it again. Oops. Here are the results:

They all did the picking separately, and I distracted myself/went away from the table. I promised that I wouldn’t be insulted/hurt because these were words that I also agreed fitted me. I feel they have tried to be nice. It was interesting to see what they picked out, and the similarities and differences between them: one friend I’ve known since I was a child, one I met at university, one through friends and one through work.

Define your values as a designer and communicate them through a designed artefact:

  • Compassion
  • Conversation
  • Curious
  • Inventive
  • Focussed.


Define your values as a designer and communicate them through a designed artefact:

  • Create a visual mood board for each word.










Define your values as a designer and communicate them through a designed artefact:

  • Create a single visual expression that conveys you (eg a film, 3D, typographic, an artefact or an experience.)


This week I stumbled with timing and did not have time to create what I intended. This is a plan for my aims:


The text reads: A plan for a multimedia woven piece for Week 4. My words were conversation, focus, inventive, curiosity, compassion and this is a combination of them. The warp (vertical threads) are electrical wire,like used in communication technology and a thread is used to spell out the word artefect. Around this, the weft (horizontal) will be strips of paper from a shredder, probably made from emails at work. Even though when approaching a brief, it can feel like people are talking at cross-purposes, the answer can be in the tension focusing the thread into words. I’m curious to know how this will work out, and whether people will be able to read the word quickly!

As this was a project at the beginning of the module, perhaps I could have developed it more for the final project. However, I decided to keep on top of the rest of the work and let this stand as a concept rather than risk falling behind.

Week 3: Webinar

Because I forgot my notebook at work!

01 Action: Imagine

02 Output: Printed matters

03 Purpose: Make sense of the world around me Articulate


Alice Marlow: Develop, Game, Play

Ella Brett: Illustration, Exhibition, Ponder/move (publish, in public space)




Kris Miller: Empathy, Experiential, Community


Alice Neve: Form, Fusion / Merge, Share

Gajan Panchalingam: Collaborate, Strategy, Reflect

John Prince: Dream, Poetry, Inform


Instinct vs impulse

Fusion, reflect, community, dream, imagine, empathy, collaborate, strategy

Gajan says equals compassion

What does that mean for my practice?