Lorna Powell | Starter kit

The thinking of my starter kit was founded in the idea of a drill, and emerging from this, a non-linear pathway of interests, concepts and ideas that I intend to explore throughout this course. As I am coming to this course with an interest in systems thinking, this map suggests an interconnectedness between issues, as well as providing an overview of the things I care about, if I lose my way, or need to centre myself. 

The drill, as a practical tool that can connect and build new things, reflects my intention for this course, to expand my knowledge base and practical skills, in order to realise something new. 

Using a drill is also a skill I recently learnt, which felt really empowering and exciting, and I hope for this feeling to be replicated throughout the course.

I also challenged myself to animate the original starter kit, as a first step in the learning-new-things journey

The colourful, meandering pathway starts with “inner growth”, as I believe that meaningful change in the world comes from first looking within and having a resilient, compassionate and emotionally intelligent personal foundation, from which you interact with the world. 

From here, other areas of interest follow:

Degrowth; a political, social and environmental movement that rejects consumerism, capitalism and growth, focusing on slowing down, prioritising social and environmental wellbeing.

Education; I have come from an organisation that works with primary schools, so I have a keen interest in the education system and hope to continue working on this. 

Connection; as a community, we will build connection with each other and with communities, on an emotional, academic and professional level. 

Future gen; the work I hope to do is with future generations in mind, both human and non-human entities. I am also interested in the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, that Wales passed in 2015. 

Confidence; sometimes I struggle with self-confidence, so I hope that this course will help me grow in this sense. 

Protest; I believe that activism, civil disobedience and protest have a large part to play in the building of a new, more just future. 

Gentle; this serves as a reminder to be gentle with myself if I am struggling, as well as how I treat others. 

Anti-capitalism; see “Degrowth”

Imagined futures; coming from a place of Active Hope, I will use the power of imagination and hope for the future to source much-needed energy and momentum for the upcoming year.

Mental health; I worked for the past two years at a children’s mental health charity, and struggle with my own mental health. Mental health and wellbeing will be at the heart of a lot of my work, as I believe that personal, emotional wellbeing is intrinsically linked to global, planetary wellbeing.

Fungi; fungal networks are life-giving, inspiring systems. I would like to research more into how they can improve biodiversity and planetary health. 

Land; land rights, growing vegetables, agriculture. 

Ecosystems; life-sustaining, everywhere. 

Systems; everywhere, constructed and complex. 

“Dig deeper”: this card comes from a pack of cards called “We are not really strangers”. The game encourages conversations on a deeper emotional level and aims to produce genuine connections between friends, families, partners and strangers. It is my belief that if we, as a society, are going to overcome social and environmental challenges, we need to connect to each other on a deeper level, to have emotionally vulnerable conversations and to truly understand one another. 

Ying Luo’s Starter Kit

Hello, My name is Luo Ying, and you can also call me Lorraine, from Guangdong Province, China. Let me show you some of my starter kits.

Umbrellas — I had heard before I came to London that the weather was so changeable here that I hoped an umbrella would come in handy.

Red envelope — there are different expressions in different regions of China. In Cantonese, it is called “li shi”, which means “good”, “all goes well” and “good luck”. It’s a blessing from my family, and I brought them with me.

Fermented bean curd and instant noodles — sauces and foods from my hometown that helped me better adjust to living away from home during my first days in London.

Environmentally friendly tableware – This is a set of wheat straw made of biodegradable tableware, inside a pair of chopsticks, a spoon and a fork, can be recycled, reduce the use and consumption of disposable tableware.

Watches — I’m a bit of a procrastinator, and I want to use watches to improve my sense of time and minimize procrastination.

Dji Action Camera & small notepad — both are good things to record. I hope to use the camera to record my life and study in London in the following year, while the small notepad is very convenient for me to record my sudden ideas and inspiration.

Pictures of the sky & bottle caps I love looking at the sky and taking pictures of different skies in my spare time, as if it was a new thing to see a different sky or weather every time. In the same way, I also like to collect bottle caps, especially those from different places or with different styles on them. It is a memorable and interesting thing for me.

Eye drops & thermometers — these are the little things that make me pay attention to my health. Eye drops help me get rid of fatigue, while a thermometer reminds me to pay attention to my body, which is the capital of revolution.

Finally, I hope I can spend the following days happily and fully with you.

Cecilia’s starter kit

Hello everyone! I’m Cecilia,

My starter kit is mainly composed of objects related to sustainability that I thought could be useful for the journey we have just started, but also of things that – as a true Italian – I brought in my luggage from home and remind me of my roots.

To get started, I decided to include two books to learn and draw inspiration from:

  • Eco-Visionaries – Conversations on a planet in a state of emergency it’s a series of conversations with architects, artists and designers whose practices confront the current ecological emergency and propose alternative futures for our planet.
  • Clean green it’s a handbook with tips and recipes to take care of my fresh new home here in London in a more sustainable and natural way.

The water bottle, for that as we all know it is good to always be hydrated, but it is even better to be hydrated without wasting plastic!

My notebook, to take notes and sketch out new ideas that will arise during the course.

A set of plantable pencils: at the end of each pencil there are different types of seeds (basil, thyme, chia, coriander …) so that when the pencils become too small and awkward to use, they can be planted and they will grow into small seedlings.

box cutter, to symbolise my background as an interior designer. During my Bachelor I often made scale models to physically embody my projects, the cutter, therefore, represents this particular skill that I have with all of you.

A mini repair-kit for my glasses, that literally is my second pair of eyes. I like to think that they are the tool that not only allows me to see but also improves my perspective and my point of view.

As photography is one of my biggest passion, I wanted to include also my dad’s analog camera (with an expired film). This is a totally mechanical Olympus OM-1 that he gave me to experiment with film and document this new chapter of my life here in London.

My Daruma, a Japanese lucky charm given to me by my father after returning from one of his many trips to Japan. This little doll is a symbol of perseverance and aspiration. It is usually represented with white eyes so that the receiver fills in the first eye upon setting a purpose to reach, and then complete the second eye once the goal is fulfilled. Since I have expressed my wish for this master, I hope that this Daruma will bring us luck and be a good omen for this adventure we are about to begin.

Lastly, a good trip note from my best friends.

A SERENE START. Pujitha’s starter kit.

Hand crafted scarf

Hey, this is pujitha from India. To start with I have the colorful handcrafted scarf in my starter kit, which reminds me of all the hard work I have put in during my final project in college when I am doing my fashion designing, it helps me guide through when being stuck with the design process at some point in the present, it also throws a glimpse on my future work 🙂

Piece of Artwork

In addition to the scarf, I tried creating a collage with a cloth bag, on which I have placed hand-done white flowers to show how much white and peaceful I felt on my day one on campus, it felt so fresh and serene, Although there is a zigzag puzzle that’s happening beside this bag which represents my current situation, how confused I am entering into new place, meeting new people and getting adapted to new situations. But I tried showing the zigzag in powder pink, because I am finding the whole process beautiful.

A cute measuring tape

I have always been accompanied by a measuring tape from past 4 years. It’s just so handy and I always felt something’s missing out when I don’t have one with me, a measuring tape for me as important as clothes and a mask in these times.

Mom’s saree

It felt so good wearing my favorite mom’s saree on the first day of college, I felt so alive and purposeful to start this MA journey.

A Notebook

A notebook with a hand-painted cover page which has a leaf, a detoxifying drink bottle, a book with ” planet earth” written on it, glasses, iPod with earphones (music), and a cloth bag. From the time I know I got into this MA journey, I became more conscious about everything I am purchasing. One such example is this notebook, when I came across this book, there’s nothing that crossed my mind except how apt it would be to carry this notebook along in my MA journey and the best thing about this book is the quote at the end of each page reminding me ” Today is a happy day”. I also placed a token I received from my co classmate, on the notebook, which is a beautiful palm tree from Saudi.

Last but not the least- Emojis

I loveeeeee these ideograms, I have one in my bag every time I don’t know how to put in words how I feel. I am very active in social media platforms like Instagram and whatsapp, they help me out to put myself forward into the outer world through posts, stories, photographs, statuses etc. Cheers to the technology:))) .

Yusie’s starter kit

So far, we’ve had natural disasters and a global pandemic. I have seen many things that have saddened me. I was most shocked by the forest fires in Australia last year. The disaster has undone the efforts of many countries and everyone involved.

As a designer, it seems to me that social innovation comes from self-change. I aspire to live a zero-waste lifestyle. This connects me to the MA course. In the future, I hope to start by using reusable bags for shopping, taking my cutlery and eating with as little waste as possible. There are many other elements of a zero-waste lifestyle that I will gradually enrich. Instead of discarding resources, I want to create a system where all resources can be resumed fully back into the system.

Chang’s Starter Kit!

#Chang’s Bag

Put stones, leaves, feathers and other elements that make up our universe in my mind to show that I want to accept and experience different cultures and thinking. I think life is about constantly meeting challenges and trying new things. Our head is round, so we can dynamically look at problems from multiple angles instead of point-to-point thinking.

#Chopsticks

There is an old saying in China that “Food is the first necessity of the people.” Enjoying delicious food is undoubtedly one of the happiest things in the world.

The design of chopsticks is also closely related to our traditional culture. One end is a circular head and the other end is a square head, so ther’re not fall down the table easily. In fact, this is consistent with the Chinese philosophy of the place, in the design of chopsticks, one end of the circle also contains cultural concepts related to sky and earth. The square part holding by hand symbolizing the ground; The circular side which will be put in the mouth symbolizing the sky.

A pair of chopsticks, bearing the feelings of China for thousands of years. I brought this one from China from my hometown. Everytime use them, I can feel the warmth of my hometown even though I am abroad.

#Translator in fantasy

This is my first time study aboard, so using English in work and life is still a challenge for me. I really hope I could overcome language barrier asap to better express myself and integrate into new life quickly. The most important is to make friend with all of you~

#Glasses

Obviously, I’m short sighted :D. But I’d like to say as a designer I should always be critical and do not be blinded by the surface of things. This focuses on responding to real world challenges. I should pay more attention on problem-finding and problem-setting, rather than simply seeking solutions to problems as they are currently expressed.

Phi for all. Georgia’s Starter Kit.

The basis of my starter kit began with the principal thought of sharing, something both students and teachers are here to do together, whether it be knowledge, skills or differing life experiences and perspectives. As a graphic designer, I wanted to share something from my world that continually inspires me, and I chose the book Golden Meaning by GraphicDesign& [Mathematics], which contains 55 graphic experiments from designers and image makers around the world, exploring this mystical, irrational and controversial number; 1.618…you can read more about Phi here.

Whether you subscribe to the broader Phi prophecy or not, I thought it was a lovely example of humankind’s interconnectedness to nature and the divinity that lies within that connection. And just as I’m sure this course will pose some unanswerable questions, irrational truths and many different opinions I think there is beauty in all these unknowns and opportunity to connect.

So, I built myself a [grid] golden rectangle, to construct my starter kit, in it you will find the following:

  • My great-grandfathers ruler – which has many units of measurement I don’t understand and have been unable to identify, which made me laugh and seemed apt at this early stage.
  • The aforementioned book – I’m excited to contribute to and watch this shared reading list grow.
  • My camera – developing my photography skills has been my 2020 resolution and I can’t wait to put it to use here.
  • My sketchbook and post-it notes – where all doodles, ramblings and ideas begin to take shape.
  • A sharpie – as I want to drop my tendency towards perfectionism and own my mistakes as part of the process – no erasing the maker pen!
  • Coffee beans – little bundles of fuel and potential I’d be lost without, loosely [as I’m not quite sure how many of us there are yet]  representative of our class.
  • A beautiful toy carousel I collected on my travels – to keep play and the curious inner child alive and centre-stage throughout this process.
  • Socks! For love and passion and to remember where it all began.

Lucille’s Starterkit

I divided my starter kit into two sections:
On the left side, I portray skills, knowledge and characteristics that I possess and express which I feel might be useful to me and others in this course. On the right, I portray stuff that helped me get here as they have helped me function to the best of my abilities up unto this point. I decided to express all these things via drawings because that in itself is one of the core skills I am bringing to the course. In the following abstracts, I will explain the symbolism and function behind each element in a clockwise direction.

1 + 2 + 3 = 6
With this, I am portraying my ability to create intersectional and holistic concepts from a variety of different sources. This is one of my core strengths and also one of the main reason why I am excited to work on MA SISF, as I feel like the whole course is designed to work with this ability.

Medication
Without my medication, I would not be able to attend this course.

Sketchbook + Pencils
Drawing and art, in general, help me to both quickly express ideas in a design environment and are useful for me to take my mind off things, recharge and express myself.

Passport
The passport is used as a metaphor for the privileges I hold, that allow me to be in the position that I am in.

Games
… are useful to me because they help me disconnect from real world issues for a while and allow me to reset my mental state. I also find that they can be a great source of inspiration and an important tool for teaching that transcendes language barriers.

Storytelling
Building on the final point I made in ‘Games’, I believe that storytelling is not only a great way of getting ideas and concepts across but also helps with teaching others about the significance of the topic. This sort of teaching allows them to relate to the story. You can find varying amounts of storytelling in a lot of my previous projects.

DIY + Anarchism + Collectivism
These are all philosophies that are integral to me as a designer. Both DIY and Anarchism inherent an important portion of self-empowerment rhetorics paired with the idea that one doesn’t need to ask for anyone’s allowance to start bettering the world or even just one’s own circumstances.
Collectivism then provides the additional factors of learning through others, working together, and progressing through others having different and important skills that help with achieving things that no single person would have been capable of.

Notebook + Digital Toolkit
Definitely one of the more practical sections. With this, I am trying to portray my skillset as well as my way of working. I am proficient at most of the Adobe CC programs and also some other software like Maya. Working digitally on shared documents and projects is something I have a lot of experience with.

Optimism
Is the core reason of why we all are here. After all, why try to create a better world if you don’t believe that change is possible?

Hello, My Name is Marie.

My name is Marie. I was born in the heart of Europe in the Czech Republic. I always had been a very creative and curious child. I was that type of kid who got kicked out from Sunday school for asking way too many questions. I loved founding out more about the world we live in and questioning why does it have to this way? Like why all dolls in the toy stores have been made with the same skin colour? Why do I have to eat meat when the animals are my friends?

My kid’s imagination creativity and passion for the world around was a good foundation for me to become a person who I am. I believe that design, especially when we design together, is an essential human expression that will help us all towards a more sustainable future.

Questioning the world around us and coming up with different solutions helps me until today to fulfil my desire to contribute to a greater societal good, using design to instigate change.

Hello, I’m Meghna

Hello, my name’s Meghna and I’m from India.

Moving here to London is probably one of the most exciting yet nerve-wracking things I’ve done in a while. And here’s what I bring with me, in hopes to help me make the most of this wonderful journey and find my designer self within this space.

The first thing, and probably the most important thing for me in my starter kit, is the book I made while in undergrad. The book was designed to act as a conversation starter between a parent/guardian and a child about topics such as race, sexuality, body positivity, and 11 other such topics, in order to reduce prejudices and judgements and encourage empathy amongst kids. This book is probably the entire reason I’m here, doing this particular course, for it really helped me discover who I am as a person and what I stand for and believe in. It also helped open up a whole new world of work that I as a communication designer could be involved with and the kind of designer I could grow into. So for me, this book represents growth and hope, and in a very cliche way, following your dreams. 

I also added an empty book to my starter kit, cause for me, the book represents a clean start, a fresh, unbiased mindset, and a platform to start anew, and fill it with all that catches my fancy, and all sorts of new aspirations and ideas. 

I also have my grey sweater, a hand-me-down from my grandfather I lost earlier this year. And this has to be one of the most important things for me in my kit cause it’s a reminder to believe in myself and be kind to myself if I fail and feel lost, just like he always was to me. And for some weird reason, sweaters have always made me feel safe haha. 

I also obviously have my headphones and my random playlists of music with everything from 70s jazz to current day pop, that have always been my happy place and helped me clear my head when I needed to. 

A water bottle is something that I decided I needed to have in my kit cause I’ve always struggled with keeping hydrated and moving to London came with me promising myself to take better care of my physical and mental health so the bottle represents just that. 

And lastly, I have a sunflower, cause they’ve always meant so much to me. They represent for me an undying sense of optimism, joy and love and a sense of openness, which is how I hope to be able to take on my time here.

Oh, and scrunchies; Adding a lot of scrunchies in here cause I always seem to loose them without even trying.