Q1. What inspired you to pursue this particular career path?
I’ve always wanted a life in the arts since young, although I didn’t actually consider design as a career. I originally wanted a career in medicine instead, but that didn’t work out, so my mother told me to consider a career in design, and strangely, that has worked out till today.
Q2. Why this industry?
I’m happy with the work that I’ve done and the people I’ve met along the way. In a sense, design has opened pathways for me that I never expected and for that I’m grateful.
Q3. What kept you going? Were there any setbacks?
I’ve had unethical bosses and clients. These lessons teach you how to be a fairer boss, or how to be a better client. Some of these experiences can be deeply de-stabilising especially when you’re younger and haven’t fully found your grounding yet. At the time, design was still the only thing I knew how to do, so I carried on quietly to make a living for myself. If you do go through a setback, give these things time to process; it can take up to years, but like everything, it is temporary and will pass.
Q4. What skills are the most crucial to succeeding in this career? What type of person do you need to be?
In my opinion, one needs to be hardworking, have a willingness to learn, have a calm composure, but most importantly not lose their own individual creative practice along the way, even if those interests aren’t work related. Creative burnout is real and does happen, so taking breaks or cultivating our own interests will help maintain that balance.
Q5. What were the biggest challenges you face as a solo practice and how did you overcome it?
You essentially take up every role in the company. It’s a lot of time management, trial and error and figuring things out along the way. It’s common to make mistakes too, because there isn’t anyone to really guide you or pre-empt you. But you just learn to either ask for help, advice, or through observing others, and then see what’s best applicable for your practice.
Q6. As an educator, what were the biggest lessons you learned through teaching?
You don’t need to know everything and that’s perfectly okay — I point students to other resources if I’m not the best person for the project. I also learn a lot from my students and their research interests. I think one of the biggest misconceptions I’ve come to realise is that it’s not true when people say “those who can’t do, teach.” Pedagogy is an entire practice on its own and deserves all the credit it can get, because it’s a huge responsibility to guide young practitioners early on in their practice. One just has to be careful not to let their ego get in the way of teaching, because then teaching becomes more self serving than it does about serving others.
Q7. Looking back, what was the happiest memory in your journey so far?
Looking back, I’m definitely happiest when I set up External Assessment Summer School. It’s a completely independent interdisciplinary school that is run yearly. We invite different practitioners from different disciplines in art, design, architecture, writing, pedagogy, etc, and each year the school functions as a platform where participants begin to think more critically about framing their practice, working together, and get creative exposure outside of their respective disciplines.
Q8. What advice would you give to young budding designers entering the working world?
Always be professional — sometimes it is strangely the little things that make people remember you fondly or poorly. And trust your intuition as well, sometimes you have to think about whether a company culture suits you as it goes both ways. Make sure to always prioritise your mental health.
Q9. What’s next? Is there anything you hope to achieve in your current direction?
I’m hoping to develop more curriculums or programmes in the field of design education!
Q10. What does thriving mean to you?
I think thriving, to me, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve hit all the goals you’ve set out to do, but it just means that there is a profound happiness with what you’ve done, understanding your mistakes made, and that despite an uncertain future, you’re still excited for what’s to come.