Dissertation PDP

I’ve reflected over the last 5 months the journey this dissertation has taken me on. Heres the summery of my difficulties, findings and an overall reflection for the process.

The reason I chose to explore the design responsibility, specifically in connection to Global Warming, was because of a field project I participated last January. ‘Agents For Change’ was a project focused around harvesting an understand of sustainability and applying to design. Working with a really client ‘Eco Camping Wales’ in groups we had to come up with sustainable solutions to improving their campsite. Before this I hadn’t heard of the word Sustainability, and it took a good part of a week to grasp the meaning. The project was lead by Wendy Keay-Bright and Neil Angove, both specialising in sustainable and green design, and throughout the 5 weeks they couldn’t express enough the importance of sustainable design in the future. Neil also preached that designers have greater responsibility than they realise. Saying something along the lines of “unless we as designers embrace sustainable design, we will be left behind”, hearing this really hit me hard, and after the 5 week project I felt the direction I wanted to take my study was clear.

When it came to producing a proposal last year, I was adamant on focusing around sustainability, the responsibility of a designer, and effects of Global warming. What I struggled with was concentrating my question, and the feedback I kept receiving was that it was to vague. Thats been the biggest struggle through this process. If it wasn’t for being able to reflect my concerns in my blog and discuss it with my tutor then I would be in trouble. The concern I had was the less subjects I had to discuss in my dissertation the less research and words I could use.

Also I don’t consider myself a strong writer, partly due to being dyslexic, which effects my ability and my confidence. None the less I was passionate and intrigued about the subject, so when it came to researching and reading, it did feel strenuous.

Although, I did get extremely OCD when using a highlighter.

Another struggle I encountered was not being able to ignore the word count. I felt intimated by it, especially having never completed an essay of this magnitude before. I had always struggled with short essays, usually down to time management, but I liked to think I’ve grown as an individual since joining CSAD. The approach I instantly took was to reach the world count as quickly as possible, so I could improve it later. Despite only having written 2,000+ words before we broke up for the end of term, I had made sure I spent the whole summer reading and highlighting, so during the christmas holidays I was able to spend a full week on it, and things came together pretty quickly from there. A frustrating part of the Dissertation was reviewing sections of a paragraph that I’d written, towards the start process, over summer. The constant need to shuffle and adjust things was tricky and I could of spent a whole day just re-writing a signal section.

After producing a whole chapter on Global warming I became quite concerned that it may not be necessary, that I was going off subject , but the idea of including a sizeable part of this thesis on Global Warming was to educate myself, the readers and to set the scene. Global Warming isn’t new but I can guaranty a large majority of the world know little about it, I am guilty of this. So I though it was important to include such an in-depth study into the subject. It also occurred to me that some of the changes brought on by the ever altering climate may effect my future descendants, like my children and grandchildren, which is worrying, but sparks a personal emotion that invites action on my part.

Coming back to my practice, I have always be sceptical of essays and the benefits, because I believed creatives shouldn’t have to do academic study. This preconception was wrong, I have learn’t so much about my subject, and the world around me. I have discovered artists, scientists, theorists, publications, authors, companies and many more interesting sources, that will contribute to the kind of professional I will graduate as. Currently for a ‘The Big Idea’, a subject project, I am studying the word ‘Serendipity’, and have to produce an outcome based on this word. Being influenced by the findings from my essay, I feel like my outcome should be a functioning, sustainable, and have a purpose, instead of being a piece of art that may only be used in this particular project. I am now conscious of what I do as a designer, and an individual, so I do feel like this thesis has made me re-evaluate my career path. If you had asked me 4 years ago why I wanted to be a designer, I would of said because I want to make ‘sick’ skateboard art. If you had asked me before ‘Agents Of Change’, I would of said I want to do some branding or posters. Influenced by the dissertation and Agents of Change, I now want to produce work that is sustainable, meaningful and that benefits society.

To conclude, prier to starting this dissertation my attitude was very pessimistic and I didn’t see the benefits nor understand the why we had to write a essay, especially considering our field is creative and visual. I starting reading in the summer, the more I read the more engrossed I got in the subject, and this surprised me. In fact I got so interested in the subject I believe it’s altered my perception and made me re-think my career path. If I could what would I of changed? I would of started writing sooner, I made sure I read over summer and gathered a good amount of information, but I didn’t really start writing until January. I could of read few more up-to-date and contemporary books. I think I could of refined my topic/question and found something more to argue/debate about, saying that, this dissertation was a self educating thing, and I think I’ve gained a lot from it. It’s been a long and exhausting process, that I have enjoyed and found very useful. my attitude has matured and I see the big picture of academic studies.


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