Information to Insight

Information to Insight

Information (facts provided or learned about something or someone) hear, read or observe.
Its external, till you try it yourself. Practice it. Then it becomes…..
Something you know and are familiar with.
When an experience allows you to use that knowledge it becomes….
You build your ability to think and act with experience, knowledge and understanding.
A continous exploration of these experiences to make meaning and learn from them it becomes…..
Lost Voices

Lost Voices

Darius Simpson & Scout Bostley – “Lost Voices” (CUPSI 2015)

“You know nothing of silence, until someone who cannot know your pain tells you how to fix it”

“The problem for speaking up for each other is that everyone is left without a voice”

Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh curiousity = opportunity

Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh curiousity = opportunity

Just discovered the Sugru, by Jane, really randomly. I read her article in the brilliant book Make Your Mark: The creative’s Guide to building a business with impact. Went online 5 minutes later and stumbled on this post of an interview of hers on swiss miss. I guess it was meant to be 🙂
It’s a great interview and her article in the book is also brilliant. She talks about collaborating with customers, instead of waiting till the final product, showing them what they can do and empowering them to be your ambassadors. I also love how she discovered this product by experimeting at art school. She discovered that mixing silicone and wood, made this thing, bouncy. Her curiousity did not stop there she wanted to test the limits of what she’d made, what was the problem or opportunity it might solve?
“as a community we are collaborating towards a common goal, and that in itself, when it is recognised and reinforced through genuine conversation, is the most powerful reward”
Sugru- 21st Century Duct Tape
Fix the schedule you want

Fix the schedule you want

Brilliant article by Cal Newport on time management. He argues that we should fix the schedule we want and then work towards it, instead of trying to make our current schedule work.
Cal Newport  writes an amazing blog called Study Hacks, exploring ways to increase focus, time management and productivity.

“You could fill any arbitrary number of hours with what feels to be productive work. Between e-mail, and crucial web surfing, and to-do lists that, in the age of David Allen, grow to lengths that rival the bible, there is always something you could be doing. At some point, however, you have to put a stake in the ground and say: I know I have a never-ending stream of work, but this is when I’m going to face itIf you don’t, you’ll let this work push you around like a bully. It will force you into tiring, inefficient schedules, and you’ll end up more stressed and no more accomplished.

Fix the schedule you want. Then make everything else fit around your needs. Be flexible. Be efficient. If you can’t make it fit: change your work. But in the end, don’t compromise”

This is my goal for the week to create my ideal schedule & work towards it. Check out the blog post here..
Laugh at everything

Laugh at everything


Day 4: Teach us something that you do well

I found this question the hardest. I know I can do things like making models, or graphics well but they don’t seem like special skills. It’s taken me ages to work it out but it just hit me. Something i do well is laugh. I smile at everything. It’s got to the point now where I smile at people without realising it.

I am notorious for my loud, tinkling laugh. At university people would tell me they could hear me laughing from the other side. Or I would turn a corner and they would tell me they’d heard me laughing before they’d seen me. I don’t know why I laugh or smile so much. My grandmother was the same and my mother and siblings are the same.

I don’t know how to teach laughter. The only thing I can say is laugh at everything. Most things in life are funny. Try it even for one day, it’ll change you and the people around you.

I want to be like my Grandfather

I want to be like my Grandfather

Day 2: Tell us about something that’s important to you

I want to be like my Grandfather. I want to live a life of integrity. When I was younger, I thought I wanted to be as wealthy as possible. I had read rich dad poor dad as a teenager and realised at perhaps too young an age that the word was sqewed towards the wealthy. And I thought that the only way to get heard was to have power and power seemed to come from wealth.
Then my Grandfather passed away 2 years ago and I realised that I wanted to live a life like his. Although I wasn’t able to attend his funeral, I heard stories of the hundreds of people that attended, his children, grand children, students, congregation. He had been a teacher and later on a reverend, not the biggest professions, but his life had had such an impact that even decades after they’d been tutored by him, his students came. They spoke of his influence and encouragement, pushing them to reach for their best.
When I think of my grandfather, I think of integrity, peace and wisdom. He had a mental and spiritual strength, that came with age and wisdom. He was the calmest person I have ever met. Experience had given him a peace that transcends whatever was happening around him. My grandmother was his opposite. A bubbly, happy woman but you could see that their love for each other had only deepened through the decades. But what I remember the most about him was his integrity. He was known for his honesty and strength of character.
I’ve realised that more than money, or whatever else, is living a life where I can look back and realise I’ve lived the best life I could. A life like my grandfathers.  Where I’d made the most of the opportunities presented to me. Where I’d used my talents and skills to serve others. A life filled with love, laughter and integrity.
New Glasgow Society_ the power of a cause

New Glasgow Society_ the power of a cause

I attended the committee meeting of the New Glasgow Society last week. It’s an organisation that I have always been curious about as I always pass their shopfront nearby.

It was fascinating to meet the members, who are a mix of people  Some have been there since it started in 1965. They spoke of the Wee Green Book and how it inspired many of them to protest the large urban reconstruction projects that were happening in Glasgow at the time.  They spoke of the archives of the newsletters which showed proposals, many of which were never built. It all just reminded me of the power of a cause and the power of individuals to make positive changes in their environment.

It is fascinating and I definitely want to find out more and keep involved. This year will be the 50th anniversary so keep an eye out for the wonderful series of events that will be happening throughout the year! 🙂

Employment status?

Employment status?


Image: via…

I’m currently in the enviable or unenviable position of straddling a range the whole range of employment status. I’m employed in casual labor, working freelance, a trustee of a charity under which we’re starting a starting a (social enterprise). It’s been brilliant when I think I don’t have to sit in an an office all day but terrifying when the dreaded word tax comes up. It’s been 6 months since I graduated and 3 months since I began the mix of work, so now seems to be a good time to take a moment and reflect on them and explore what is great or isn’t so great.

What has been great for me is that I’ve realised I thrive on the mix. The past three months have been intense but it is great being able to see multiple perspectives. As I go along I’ll keep

My current employment is casual labor but during my studies I worked full time in offices during the summer and also did my year in industry. One of the perks is of course is the steady pay check. Knowing how much you will be paid and when is a blessing. Working at the theatre I have met other freelancers in creative industry’s who dip in and out or work permanently in casual jobs to supplement their income.

After office hours are also your own, which is something you start to miss when you are self employed. Additionally there is the prospect of promotion and moving up the ranks, depending on where you’re working. I found the bigger the office, the greater the chance of that, but the experience you could gain in a small office would be more hands on.

However as I discovered when I was made redundant in my year in industry, working for someone else does not equal security. Loosing that job, made me reconsider working in full time employment, especially because I found that sitting at a desk all day was not my idea of fun.

Freelance/ self employed
I never planned to go freelance. I sort of fell into it as the research internship I will soon be finishing required it, so I never really had any expectations for it. One thing everyone imagines is that freelance equals greater freedom and flexibility, I remember saying that to freelance tech guys, and laugh at the naivety. There is definitely freedom to plan your time as you want and work on different projects in different areas of interest. I really enjoy how no two days are the same and how I can work on one project for a short time and move on to the next. However have quickly realised is that all time is work time. You can easily work 365 days. The difficulty will be forcing myself to take a holiday, something that’s so simple when you’re employed.

A big part of being freelance is networking. Going out there, meeting people, finding opportunities, promoting yourself. I definitely enjoy how sociable it is meeting new people and finding out the interesting projects they are working on.

The most important thing that the last 3 months have taught me is that self employment is a big balancing act. Balancing projects, knowing when to say yes and when to say no. Balancing time off with work time, balancing your finances, balancing quiet times with busy times, balancing client relationships and priorities, balancing time between fun work, paid work and admin.

Starting a business/ entrepreneur
Since I was a teenager I dreamed of starting my own business and although I dabbled in some eBay sales in my youth, it was only in my last year my final year of uni when I attended the Clean Conscience Dirty Hands conference that I understood the type of business I wanted to set up. I ended up pairing with a friend who was also interested in the same ideas and we have since joined the non profit with the aim of setting up a social enterprise. It feels unbelievably lucky to be starting a business I’m passionate about, using design to make positive social and economic change.

Starting after university felt like an ideal time to start. I already had some experience in over 1/2 dozen offices and I felt that if I went into a traditional job and decided to branch out in a couple of years I would get too comfortable and too afraid. That’s not so say it can’t be done, I’ve read before that the average age for start up entrepreneurs is the mid 30’s.

Starting a business is really similar to being freelance in a lot of ways, you’re working all the time, dealing with clients 1:1 which brings greater feeling of responsibility. However it’s like double the pressure because you have to do things like monitor your finances and the companies finances, network and promote, but people are buying into the company’s vision, it’s product and service as well as you.

I have realised that the best way to do it is in a team. It makes a huge difference to know that you have the support of others with a shared vision. You can bounce back and forth ideas, spread the work better, and it also makes you actually go for it if you are accountable to others.

Enterprise for me is more about the end game; empowering people by improving the design of their environment. It has the perks of giving you ultimate control, which being freelance doesnt really do. The goal is to be able to get to the point where the enterprise runs smoothly and you can have people, smarter and more talented people working for you. As Seth Godin explains beautifully in this post Organising for Growth.

Third sector/ charity
This is my first foray into the third or charity sector, the social enterprise we are setting up is under the charity. It is definitely a field where the potential for feeling like you have a purpose and being fulfilled are the greatest. But as we all know there is little or no money in it. We do not take a salary for the work which is great as it means all the money raised goes to the projects and there is that increasingly important transparency. It also means that the work we do is in our free time, which can have its drawbacks, however it is fascinating how much you can give when money is taken out of the equation. As a sector the passion in the people I have met has astounded me. It is definitely highly motivating.

Charities are more tightly regulated than in businesses, where it seems like you can do it however you want as long as it’s legal. Money is of course important here, it is about asking people to donate to a cause and in order for them to do that you have to get them to not only believe in the vision and purpose, but to also the results and sometimes why it would benefit them to help. Something I have never considered before. Of course the moral concerns are high on our minds. It can sometimes feel overwhelming but knowing that you are helping someone even if it seems small is a wonderful feeling.

So what do you do?

So what do you do?

So what do you do? As many of freelancers/ self employed people in what ever capacity could tell you know this is a dreaded question. Worse than doing a job that no ones heard of and you know trying to explain will make them mentally switch off. Is probably doing multiple jobs in multiple fields and thinking where do I start or which answer do I give today. Worse still is forgetting what you previously told the person. Speaking to others working with multiple hats this a recurring theme.

Since graduating last summer,  I have ended up doing a mix of things away from the traditional post Part II architecture path. And it’s been brilliant but when some asks me what do you do? I’m stumped.  I usually have to pause and assess the context and conversation and choose the answer. I currently start with “I studied architecture but…” Then the options range from the short “I am part of humanitarian design organisation Orkidstudio,” to the mid length “we’re setting up a social enterprise and I also do freelance work”. With the long version in exceptional circumstances “I do freelance graphics with an online fashion company Unineed, research for project for a events and space management agency TAKTAL and I’m doing a course in community arts with Impact Arts, and also doing front of house work at a theatre.” As you can see that is definitely a mouthful.
So I thought I would try to come up with a simpler answer to the “what do you do” question. Asking instead what do I do and why do I do what I do? The best I’ve got so far is “I am a recent architecture graduate, working on local and global projects that use design solutions to affect positive social and economic change.” I’ll give it a try and let’s see what the feedback is. If you have any tips let me know 🙂
Here we go 2015 resolutions

Here we go 2015 resolutions

I know a lot of people have given up on the notion of New Years resolutions especially the bland ones like eat more healthy, got to the gym e.t.c e.t.c. But I still find them fascinating, if only that they make you pause and access where you are and where you want to be.

I was reading my resolutions/ goals from 2014. There were roughly ten, and out of them I had only done two. Graduate and work for people I admire and can learn from. I definitely hadn’t exercised at least twice a week unless you count thinking about it. But instead of seeing this as a negative, I found it interesting because it reminded me that life isn’t a smooth line where you can map out everything. Its a series of choices. So maybe it’s about having an idea of what you want and taking the opportunities that align to it.

For example I knew I didn’t want another job like the ones I had done most of my summers while studying. Where I didn’t find the work stimulating or feel like I had a purpose. This in turn helped me when it came to seeking and going for opportunities that were interesting. And when I attended the Clean Concience Dirty Hands symposium at the GSA, it opened my eyes to see that design could make positive social and economic differences and perhaps I could make a career in this area. I’m still very much finding my path but it was comforting to see I had stayed somewhat in line with my resolutions for 2014.

So for 2015 I have set myself an overarching attitude and mantra for the year. To keep hope and keep smiling. And if I notice myself complaining about something too many times, to either do something about it or stop complaining! Of course I still have my resolutions/ goals, among them to get my driving licence and the obligatory try to excercise (one year i will do this).

I’m excited for 2015, it is looking to be a good one.

Happy 2015 everyone 😊