The first few sessions that I had in ‘Tipping Point: An Agent for Change’ were really quite daunting! Sitting in the clean graphics studio reading through a list of objectives and dates, discussing how to develop a brief and awaiting the arrival of a client, I felt a bit like a fish out of water and if I’m honest, was regretting my choice of field group. However, I decided to stick with it, recognising that positioning myself outside my comfort zone would probably be a good opportunity for growth as an artist. This was definitely the right decision, and I found this option one of the most significant opportunities for growth that I have had in university so far.
This was a live brief, which meant working alongside a real client, the significance of this was the opportunity to experience a realistic working environment. As a result of its live nature, the project involved more structure than I am used to. In my artistic practice, I have really benefited from some of the skills that this structure gave. For example, I was able to see that rather than hindering creative process, being able to set and meet goals was actually improving my productivity. Instead of one large objective at the end of the project, we set milestones to meet along the way, which enabled me to work much more thoroughly and consistently. This is something that has definitely benefited me in my approach to the way that I work as an artist.
One main objective that the client emphasised was to consider how to create and nurture empathy between cultures that have significant social and geographical differences. Myself and my project partner Rebekah Seaman, looked to achieve this by creating a mascot and encouraging the children to create, personalise and then take this mascot to a favourite outdoor place in their community and take a photo, which they would then be able to share across the communities that they were partnered with through Size of Wales. I am incredibly pleased with the outcome, and how it was received by the clients. Working closely with an organisation taught me a lot about the importance of listening carefully and responding thoughtfully to the direct needs of a client. I am pleased that this became a strength of ours, and the clients noted in their feedback of our presentation that they were pleased with how well we had considered and met their specific concerns. I felt that we successfully and sensitively put forward a good practical way to achieve connection, empathy and communication across such a diverse range of communities. Encouraging those involved to value their own environment, and to also recognise the value and beauty found across the world, hoping that this would change attitudes and encourage people to reflect on the way that their behaviours (specifically linked with environmental issues) can have a global impact.
Below is documentation of the mascot itself and some prototype photographs of our intentions. Following this is a link to the presentation that we made to the clients, a creative narrative of how we hoped that the project would unfold in the future.