I have been steadily working towards what I know I need to do for professional practice, just looking at what my cohort have already completed and talking to my friend and housemate, Elin. I spent some time a few days ago looking through the module handbook and trying to find as much resources as I can for professional practice, honestly to not much luck.
I made myself a little list of things I would include in my last presentation of action I have already taken and things that I want to do as I did find out that essentially professional practice is an action, what do I intend to do next after uni?
This is a difficult question for me in a number of ways, first of all, my health. I have not been able to consistently do what I need to every day, one day I could feel fine and manage to even drive a good distance, but other days I could be very anxious and not leave my workroom, but work and my patterns and art has been a good outlet for me. I could focus on them for hours and then suddenly the day is nearly over and I can go to bed and try again tomorrow. However, this means I could not see myself coping well with a job right now, the isolation also does not help and I feel anxious around people, so I have started going to shops and going out more to try and get back into society and try and solve some of these issues as I want to keep the option of a job open for myself. Because of my health also, I went part-time on the course for a short time which meant my next year would be spent finishing off the course, so my next steps towards my future were not as pressing as they are right now that I am finishing the course this year. And finally, Covid-19, the graduate job market has been affected, the housing market has been affected, so these were things that I wanted to work around in my plan, and have a plan essentially that I could put into action no matter what is happening or where I end up.
So the first thing I thought about was my press pack, I have been working on my business cards and I think they are ready to go after my tutorial a few weeks ago with Suzanna. I would like to show these to someone one more time for some feedback before I send them to print because that is very final. I think I then managed to insert the kind of formula that I wanted and made quite a cohesive collection including a postcard, personal statement, CV etc. I think I will expand this to include ‘Thank you for ordering’ cards, maybe think about an email signature and continue to expand my CV and skills to go onto it and my LinkedIn profile, which I have started actively posting some of my work on.
I think I will also talk about my portfolio website that I created, I think this is important as the handbook mentions ‘exampe of professional web presence’ so I think this represents this well, as well as my LinkedIn and business Instagram page, and also covers a digital portfolio of my work which I cannot wait to put my graduate collection on too.
I also want to cover workshops I have done, I need to keep a list of these as I have taken a few since lockdown, with the University, with the careers service and also workshops and classes on Skillshare and Careercake. I have also taken a few free workshops with the General Assembly and some small businesses I have seen on various design social media sites.
I have also actively been taking part in contests, particularly the Spoonflower contests, which I think most importantly has shown me how to make things more marketable and attractive to the general public. The contests are judged by likes and it is encouraging to see a general rise in my number of likes I get per week, with my jellyfish one doing well, then my Canadian Wildlife one doing well, and currently my Ice Cream Truck design getting about forty likes today which is really great to see. I also entered an OhhDeer pillow contest and will try to do their new contest now for the box design, hopefully I think have some time!
Next I think I need to cover what actually happens next? What can I actually do with the presspacks?
So I think my main options would be:
– Further study
– My own business
– A job or internship
I have looked into further study before and it seems like the only place I can actually do a Surface Pattern Design masters is in Swansea, which may be an option next year, I do not think I could dive straight back into education now, especially after finishing so late in the summer. I would get a couple of weeks free and then have to jump straight in again, and things are very different now with the virus, I would consider doing a remote degree because I have coped well with this situation now and become very independent as a designer. I think my next step in this aspect would be to talk to the careers service to discuss my options at Cardiff Met as Textiles does not have a page dedicated to a masters but I thought past students said about doing it, so this is something I would like to find out, I did want to do the Cardiff Met Award’s Entrepreneurship extension too.
In terms of starting my business, I have created a business plan now. I think with my business ideas there is a lot going on, and I think keeping the costs down right now is important, but I have been looking at grants and bursaries for this and will continue to research these.
I have also applied for a couple of remote working jobs in the design industry, this is something I would definitely have a go at, remote working as I have said seems to suit me and I am being through a lot of work at the moment. I do struggle a little with my work-life balance and work usually takes over, but with a paid job this is something I could work on a lot better. I have also reached out and contacted a couple of design companies that I liked the look of and offered them my website link as a portfolio to have a look at.
I think finally I will add a slide that illustrates some researc into craft fairs and exhibitions in the future, this could be especially useful if I decide to go in my own business direction as it would be a good way to market myself. I think I should also include the last slide about the effect of Covid-19 on my work and my life and plans. Ultimately I think Covid-19 has shown me what is important, one main thing I would like to do next in life is move in with my boyfriend, who I know would be very supportive of my business. I think the most important thing that has come out of Covid-19 is that it is okay to be uncertain, it has been a stressful, scary year and a little break to just explore my options and create things that I like is also an option that should not be overlooked.
I think actually getting this down in writing has shown me what needs to be done still and what progress I have made, I also want to make a note for myself that there needs to be a reflective statement written for Professional Practice as well.