11 August 2017

Global Perspectives

On the 27th May 2017, members of CreateVoice held a video link up with young people from the V&A Dundee and the Design Society Shekou in Shenzhen, China, to discuss the way the built environment affects our lives. We discussed four themes: innovative building, sustainability, housing for our generation and public spaces.

Of the discussion topics, we felt that housing for our generation had had the most impact on us and other young people, especially in the rental sector. Shekou, an area in Shenzhen, has grown massively in the last ten years, and many young people are now living in dormitory like hostels with shared facilities; even these can be very expensive.

In London, we have experienced ever-increasing rents for often poor quality accommodation. We felt that young people are often exploited as they don’t know their rights and it’s often hard to hold landlords to account. New Horizons, a charity which works with young people who are homeless or at risk of it, say that 75% of the young people they work with are ‘hidden homeless’ – sleeping on the sofas of friends or relatives, as they cannot afford rent even when working.

In Dundee, the group felt that the situation was better as rents don’t take up such a high proportion of income; they felt that because many people in the city are on minimum wage, landlords won’t fill housing if they charge high rents.

The speed of development seemed to be a factor in making our groups in London and Shekou feel excluded. The Shekou group felt that development had changed the feel of the area and taken its soul, making it more expensive and less inclusive. In London the feeling was similar, as housing developments often aren’t affordable and forces people out of the city. All of our groups felt that gentrification had had a negative effect on our local areas. In Dundee, the renovation of one area saw house prices and rents rising, which shows how fine the line is between improving an area for locals and making it so locals are no longer included. This was echoed in Shekou, where new developments are too expensive for the average worker, and also in London, where locals are sometimes moved out for regeneration and find they can’t afford to live in their area any more (even while properties in the ‘regenerated’ areas sit empty because they are too expensive!)

Whilst there are serious problems with housing and public spaces, all three groups provided examples of exciting innovations in building and sustainability.

V&A Dundee

The new V&A Museum in Dundee was used as an example of this; the group felt it had got people excited about the potential of their area. This, along with the transformation of the railway station and the public events in Slessor Gardens, have given people something to ‘big up’ Dundee and feel pride. These projects have brought a buzz and likely will result in new tourists to the area. The Shekou group felt that their city is constantly being built and rebuilt; the Design Society build gives a sense of forward thinking through its green roofs and maker-spaces; we also talked about a ‘horizontal skyscraper’, with a built-in tropical garden. 

V&A London, The Sackler Courtyard © Victoria and Albert Museum

For us in London, we thought about the new V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, which provides a new entrance to the Museum and links the surrounding historic buildings with The Sackler Courtyard - a contemporary and adaptable new space more suitable for a modern audience.

© Tiny House Scotland Jonathan Avery

Looking at sustainable buildings, the Dundee group put forward Tiny Houses, a design concept of small stylish houses to temporarily house homeless individuals, creating a temporary village. The temporary village will create a home, opportunities to skill up as well as an address to use whilst job hunting. TinyHouses can be moved so the land they were on could be used for permanent dwellings to be built and the tiny Houses relocated to new vacant plot of land.

Another example was District 10, where shipping containers have been converted and stacked to create accommodation and workshop spaces (very similarly to Boxpark in London). These multipurpose, adaptable units give local people in Dundee an opportunity to live and develop their businesses. In London, we looked at 240 Blackfriars, which uses data technology to improve sustainability: employees use swipe cards which control computers, movement sensor lights and intelligent lifts, which maximises energy efficiency.

Finally, we talked about public spaces and the ways which they can solve – and create! – problems. In Shekou, a good initiative was introduced to provide hire bikes for the public to use; however, parking space for these bikes is limited and has meant bikes often encroach onto pedestrian areas. 

Design Society, Shekou
The DesignSociety building in the Shekou is a good example of design for a public-focused space: green rooves create traffic-free, open spaces for people to use throughout the day. In Dundee, Slessor Gardens has been renovated with a focus on large scale public events. Green spaces can be used to relax as well as host concerts and fairs. The street lights contain a built in sound system, allowing the public to hear the music throughout the park. London’s Southbank is a similar space, used for performances, skateboarding and an allotment space on the roof. These examples show an increasing need for public spaces to be multi-functional, as well as ideally being open 24/7 and car free for safety and a reduction in pollution.

It was very interesting to listen to other young people and compare and contrast our experiences in our cities – it’s the start of an interesting project based around the built environment, and we hope to speak to them again in the future!

This video link up was part of Futuropolis, a year-long project for young people to explore the built environment supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, as part of the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter project.

This project, alongside others from the last year, will be shared tomorrow at a festival for young people at the V&A. For full programme details head here. All events and free and drop-in. 

Words: Laura Blair

23 May 2017

The Digital Future at Making It 2017

One of the speakers at Making It this year was Alex Flowers, Head of the V&A's Digital Programmes team. Alex gave an overview of his work here at the Museum, but also talked about the opportunities for employment that industry developments are creating. 

Alex chose to focus on three main questions, which are worth considering. 
- Why is creativity so important for the future?
- What can I do to prepare for a creative digital career?
- What opportunities are there?

His top tips for future success were the following
Do something different
Build your networks
Be creative with your choices
Think like a designer

For related information on his presentation, Alex recommends taking a look at the links at the bottom of this post. And for anyone interesting in exploring his programmes here at the Museum do keep an eye our for events for 16-19 years with the Samsung Digital Classroom, returning to the Museum in Autumn 2017.

You can also follow Alex on the V&A blog 

Drop-in Adobe Creative Suite Sessions with the Samsung Digital Classroom at Making It 2017

Recommended links for anyone interested in the digital
      https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAjo5S1k6LBQGujNv-zGYJg (V&A Digital     Learning Channel)
      http://scratch.mit.edu/ (free and simple programming for kids)
      http://learn.media.mit.edu/lcl/ (Learning Creative Learning Online Course)
      http://prostheticknowledge.tumblr.com/ (Blog on new digital art and interactivity)
      http://www.creativeapplications.net/ (Network and editorial on digital design)

Look back tomorrow for more top tips for speakers at this year's event!

Image © Victoria and Albert Museum

19 May 2017

Making Your Portfolio Stand Out

CreateVoice favourite, designer and University of the Arts lecturer Jane Francis returned to Making It 2017 to provide all the information you need about presenting your work. A portfolio is key to getting onto a course or that elusive job interview. 

Jane gave her tops tips about how to make your work stand out in a competitive environment, which she has kindly shared with CreateVoice. 

Jane Francis providing one to one advice at this year's event

Please note, all information below is owned by Jane, and should not be copied or shared without permission. 

Keep up with Jane's work at her Central St Martin's course instagram and for some examples of excellent portfolio practice she recommends Arts Thread

Mounting and Presentation of your Portfolio
The way in which you select, mount and present your work in your Portfolio reflects your skill and
judgement. It shows awareness of the need for a professional approach. A well presented portfolio helps the admission tutors to see your work clearly. It helps them to understand it.

Why do I need to mount my work?
• The purpose of a portfolio of work is to create a sequence of images that tell the visual ‘story’ of your creative process. It needs to make an immediate impact and communicate your ideas clearly.
• By grouping related images and sheets together in an appropriate sequence, you can communicate
the flow of your ideas clearly. This allows links and connections to then be made by someone previously unfamiliar with your work.
• Poorly judged mounting and presentation can instantly devalue the quality of your work. As a result, your portfolio might not show your true potential.

What materials do I need?
• Spray mount, double sided tape
• Sharp bladed scalpel, retractable craft knife, cutting mat, metal ruler
• Sharp pencil, putty rubber for cleaning
• White cartridge paper A2
• A clean portfolio to store the mounted work safely

What is the mounting procedure?
1 Organise workspace
2 Sort selected work
3 Trim and cut to size
4 Select portfolio sheets A2
5 Layout of images, drawings & text
6 Glue
7 Clean and mend
8 Sequence of sheets
9 Store
10 Final Check

1. Organise your workspace
Clear and clean tabletop/workspace completely.
Work with clean hands.
Ensure you have all materials required.
2. Sort selected work
Seek advice from your tutor about selecting work for your portfolio.
Separate the work to be trimmed and mounted.
Organise work in piles according to theme or project.
3. Trim and cut to size
Use metal ruler and scalpel or retractable craft knife on a cutting mat.
Cut corners at precise right angles.
Placing white strips of paper round the image can help decide where to trim.
Trim off existing borders around prints and photos.
4. Select portfolio sheets A2
Work to A1 or A2 standard size and stick to this throughout the portfolio.
Use white cartridge paper throughout your portfolio. Do not use colour or black backgrounds.
Do not use heavy mount card except when heavy materials need support.
5. Layout of images, drawings & text
Think of your A2 paper as the walls of a gallery. Leave space around the work.
See suggested layout formats.
Choose the group of selected images that will go together on one sheet.
Test the images on both, landscape or portrait format.
Arrange images and pieces of work in a simple, symmetrical way on the mounting sheet.
With multiple images, think in terms of an evenly spaced grid; do not overcrowd images.
Some images may be removed or photocopied from a sketchbook to complete a portfolio sheet.
With multiple or similar images, be highly selective and avoid repetition.
Key images or sections of them could be enlarged, others may be trimmed down.
6. Glue
Use either spray mount or double sided tape to glue selected work to the portfolio sheets.
For health and safety reasons do not use spray mount in the studios.
Use the spray booth at college or a well ventilated area at home.
7. Clean and mend
Use a putty rubber or eraser to remove dirty smudges from back and front of sheets.
Mend torn corners and edges on portfolio sheets and sketchbook pages.
Stick a patch of identical paper on the back behind the tear.
8. Sequence of sheets
Choosing the right sequence of work in your portfolio is important. Take time over this.
Try out different solutions and get a second opinion.
Your portfolio needs to make an immediate impact. First impressions of your work count.
The top of your portfolio should contain sheets from your strongest project.
Do not place your work chronologically (in the order you produced it). It rarely works as a solution.
9. Store
Store your work carefully in a portfolio and do not leave it lying around unattended.
3D work needs specially made boxes or containers for transportation to interview and for display.
10. Final Check
Before your interview, always give your portfolio a final check.
If you go to more than one interview you will need to check the work again afterwards and possibly reorganise sheets.

• Only present full or nearly full sketchbooks
• You can improve sketchbooks by removing empty pages and by adding relevant images and
drawings to fill any empty spaces on the pages.
• Get rid of any loose material that could fall out of the sketchbook or fix it securely to the pages.
• Images, drawings and annotations must show how your research informs your idea development and how this leads to a final outcome.
• Clean up sketchbook covers and remove brand logos. You could even design a new cover.
• If you have several sketchbooks, it might be helpful to number them or title them.
• If your sketchbook contains more than one project, you might want to insert labeled tabs, so the start of each project can easily be found.
• Write your name inside the front cover, not on the front.

More advice to be posted Monday, so check back with us then!

All portfolio advice © Jane Francis
Image © Victoria and Albert Museum

18 May 2017

Making It: Careers in Art & Design 2017

                      2017 Making It marketing image. Illustration by Priya Sundram , as briefed by CreateVoice members

We recently hosted our fourth annual careers festival for young people, Making It: Careers in Art & Design, at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Co-curated by members of CreateVoice over a six month period, volunteers on the project group were able to suggest contributors, help plan the programme, write the illustrator’s brief, advise on marketing and help run the event by introducing speakers, supporting workshops and manning reception on the day.

It was a brilliant event, and thanks to everyone that attended. The festival had 2870 visitors and we talked to other young people from as far away as Cornwall, Birmingham, Manchester and Norwich.

Over the next few days we will be posting a selection of top tips, advice and resources as recommended by some of the speakers on the day for those of you who were unable to attend in person, so keep checking back!

Please do also check out our Resources page for further advice on working in the creative industries. These links were gathered as part of the original 'Making It Happen' project which ran as part of the first Making It festival four years ago. You can view the accompanying film we made about youth unemployment below here.

The next large scale festival for young people will be at the V&A in late November. If you’re aged 16-24 and interested in working with CreateVoice to help co-curate the next event, email create@vam.ac.uk as we’ll be forming a new project group around June/July this year!  

08 December 2016

Levis X Skepta: Music and Revolution at the V&A

As part of the Levi's Music Project, Levi's and Skepta have partnered together to establish a community youth music facility in the heart of Skepta's hometown of Tottenham, North London. 

For the duration of this project, Skepta and a group of young people worked with the V&A, taking inspiration from our headline exhibition 'You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70. This project culminated in a night of special performances at the V&A on Saturday 5 November 2016.

Skepta via Levis

Members of the V&A youth collective, CreateVoice were lucky enough to attend the event, and below follows a review of the evening by Gift Ajimokun, a member of the collective here at the Museum.

When I asked Skepta why he took part in this project at the V&A I didn’t know what answer would come back at me. He's rich and famous now, why would he need to give back to the community? But his answer astounded me. He truly is a humble man who doesn’t forget where he came from and where he started. 

The young people he mentored truly have a passion for what they do and hearing Skepta talk about working with the young people, its obvious to anyone he is passionate about creating a platform for young people to showcase their talents; seeing a little bit of himself in these amazing young people. 

The variety of style, beat and themes really enabled you to get a taste of each and every young person. Police brutality, minimum wage and the refugee crisis were some of the many topics that were covered throughout the performances. Truly throwing out the notion that young people are unaware of the topics affecting the world today. We are more aware than ever.

Now back the coveted question. Love. Love is the main reason he took part in the project.

Now I personally think that is the best foundation to any project that involves young people.  

If I had to sum it up the whole show in two words. Pure Talent.

Music and Revolution event at the V&A via Proper 
For more information on the Music and Revolution project head here
To see performances from the evening at the V&A head here.

Many thanks to those who worked on the project and for allowing CreateVoice members to attend. 

Words: Gift Ajimokun and Laura Woodfield
Images: © Levis and Proper Magazine

07 October 2016

LDF16: International Working and the Design Industry

Every year, the London Design Festival brings design professionals and enthusiasts from around the world to London for events, workshops, talks, pop-ups, installations and much more. The Victoria and Albert Museum acts as a hub for the festival, hosting new artworks and a wide programme of events celebrating the ever-changing design industry. CreateVoice members were kindly invited to attend some of these events and share their own perspectives.

Next up: A Masterclass from Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien on the hybrid nature of their design practice Doshi Levien, and a Masterclass from Spanish Architect and Design Patricia Urquiola.

 Doshi Levien design for Hay in 2014 via Dezeen

During the 2016 London Design Festival there were several fantastic talks held at the V&A. They covered many areas of art, design and innovation and also provided a very interesting social commentary on modern design practices. Designers there included the famous Doshi Levien and Patricia Urquiola who showed us their present and past projects but also the process of getting a product to where it needed to be, the steps of design from start to finish. The whole experience was very inspiring and we got to hear their stories from the inside and learn lots of invaluable information that could help encourage any future designers.

Glas Italia Table designed by Patricia Urquiola via Dezeen 

It was also quite the interactive experience because at the end, the designers always tried to make time to answer any questions that the audience may have. This is quite a different experience to other panel events I have attended as sometimes an ‘elitist’ attitude can be taken and there is not that much interaction, this is what made the experience at the V&A different.

I would love to go again or attend something very similar as it was a great experience and the advice I got will help me for many years to come.

Words: Gift Ajimokun
Images: © Nipa Doshi and Patricia Urquiola 

05 October 2016

LDF16: Graphics and Music: Past, Present and Future

Every year, the London Design Festival brings design professionals and enthusiasts from around the world to London for events, workshops, talks, pop-ups, installations and much more. The Victoria and Albert Museum acts as a hub for the festival, hosting new artworks and a wide programme of events celebrating the ever-changing design industry. CreateVoice members were kindly invited to attend some of these events and share their own perspectives.

Reviewed: A Masterclass from Jonathan Barnbrook on his graphic design work including his collaboration with David Bowie, and the 'Music: Past, Present and Future' Panel Discussion which took place on Saturday 17 September.

Album Artwork for Heathen, 2002 via Dezeen

Humans love touching things. While music as an immaterial entity that cannot be touched, graphic design has the power to make it tangible through visual interpretation. On this note, three people from three generations were invited to the V&A to discuss this theme and to present their work: Designer and artist Nigel Waymouth, creator of iconic artwork for bands and musicians such as Pink Floyd or The Who in the 1960s, graphic designer Jonathan Barnbrook, best known for his album covers for David Bowie, and singer songwriter Beatie Wolfe who experiments with creating tangible electronic album formats. Following the panel discussion, Jonathan Barnbrook gave a more in-depth insight into his practice. While a large part of his ninety minutes centred on the different stages of his collaboration with David Bowie, he also spoke about his political work with Banksy.

Thanks to the LDF team for arranging such enjoyable events!

Words: Evelin Arweck
Images: © Barnbrook