My most recent project, Looking North is an exploration of the imbalance of opportunities for creatives between the North and South of England reflecting on social, political, cultural and historical contexts.
The project is based upon three separate interviews with individuals that share varying perspectives on what it’s like to make a success of yourself as a creator in the North of England. The conversations surround themes of exclusivity within the industry, reviving creative communities in the North and Northern influences on art, fashion and culture.
The short films that I produced were accompanied by an essay which dives deeper into the topics that were touched upon in the interviews. Within this project, I became more aware of my specialism which helped me to envision my future as a writer, researcher through documentation, interviewing and filmmaking.
Much of my influence derives from growing up in the North of England and how my aspirations and ambitions were challenged due to the nature of the rural landscape I grew up in. The vision of entering the fashion/creative industry and what it would take to get there appeared so out of reach to me as an adolescent due to the lack of opportunities surrounding me to explore this curiosity. This being the main factor as to why I decided to move closer to London to study Fashion Communication at the University of Brighton in hopes that this would provide me with more options for internships and employment. However, as I began to plan my future as a graduate, I knew this struggle would continue as moving back home after university was inevitable. Within this project, I wanted to utilise my personal experiences to highlight the challenges and limitations that come with entering the creative industry outside of the South of England.
How have you found your time at Brighton?
My time at the University of Brighton signalled a huge change in my life not only in regards to my education and career prospects but the city itself exposed me to a multitude of cultures and vibrant communities which I believed played a part in my growth.
The Fashion Communication degree itself invited me to explore the behind the scenes of the industry and challenged me to experiment with the pathways I was going to take once I graduated. For me, each year of the course brought me closer to discovering my specialism including the option of a placement year which played a huge part in deciding which section of the industry I wanted to be a part of. The experiences of the tutors and guest speakers on the course also play a part in inspiring future ideas of employment with their expertise and advice.
What are your plans after graduation?
In alignment with my project, I aim to spend some time in the North seeking opportunities that I can be a part of going forward and seeing what comes from that. The majority of which will be freelancing work, but with the current climate of COVID-19 and mobile working, it has highlighted that location has little effect in terms of whether I am a suitable candidate for internships and jobs.
In terms of building my portfolio, my plans include continuing writing and producing mixed media projects. Ideally, I would like to build on the groundworks I have created within Looking North and collaborate with other creatives in the North to work towards a network of contacts and give others the chance to create.
Obviously, the emergence of COVID-19 towards the end of the module was a challenge in itself but I feel like I was supported through this from my tutors and don’t think it had a massive effect on my work. However, without the use of library computers, I found that real challenges came with technology and storage issues, which resulted in having to replace my original external hard drive with lost files and then dealing corrupted iMovie projects with a second fault in my external hard drive towards the end of the project. For me, this was not a complicated adaption and I felt I had been prepared with collecting footage that by the time lockdown came I had already made a lot of progress with my content.
I would say that the biggest challenge occurred mentally in which the final two months before the deadline was matched with an internal battle with maintaining self-motivation and discipline. At the time it felt extremely lonely without a face to face tutorial or encouragement from coursemates. Overall I felt wholly supported by individuals within my institution and I am grateful for their perseverance and dedication to making sure I could complete my degree during this difficult time.