What do you do at Makerversity?
I manage Makerversity’s public programme, working in collaboration with Makerversity members and alumni as well as guest artists, designers and makers. This involves developing and delivering a series of exhibitions, events and workshop looking at making on a social and cultural level.
What do you do outside of work?
More amazing work! When I’m not at Makerversity, I work as an independent curator, working with museums, artists and activists to find ways of exploring gender, sexuality and identity through art. In my spare time, I really enjoy creating my own artwork through illustrations and comics and visiting exhibitions, alongside fencing.
What has your favourite Makerversity public programme been?
Perhaps cheating slightly again since I joined the team late August but working on delivering the Waste Streams exhibition and its talk and workshops during London Design Festival was great because it involved working with a range of members and alumni such as Material Driven, Sanne Visser and Isabel Fletcher who introduced me to new perspectives around designing from repurposed waste.
How do you find the inspiration for public programme content?
Recognising that inspiration can come from everywhere: going to a lot of design exhibitions and events is a large source of inspiration, but so is reading and being curious about everything across disciplines and themes, from fashion to art through to farming, politics and environmental change! I love chatting to makers and members of the public alike to know what they are interested in, concerned about and want to learn for themselves.
I learnt a lot from Makerversity members ADAY, who implement change in the fashion industry across the line – from their seacell fabric from recycled seaweed to local ethical production and a minimalist clothing line that encourages reduced consumption. The same goes for Tina Gorjanc, whose work seeks to challenge the way we consume certain materials: for example, her 100% Human imagining a “human” leather jacket to prompt us to think differently around our consumption of animal byproducts. Initiatives like this and many others show how aware our members are about the way in which making can initiate new sustainable change in polluting industries – and how seemingly isolated areas such as fashion, bioplastics and farming can all interconnect!
What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
I am really excited about getting back into making myself while also learning so much as I work with amazing makers. Being involved with a range of creative practitioners and experts makes you realise what you can start creating at your own pace. For example, developing a programme around fashion sustainability is driving me towards slowly learning to mend my own clothes before tackling perhaps sewing my own clothing in the near future!
Tell us about a member project that particularly excites you
I am very excited about seeing how The Future of Walking’s air-filtering shoe prototype they developed during our last Air Pollution Civic hack is going to evolve further. This project encompasses issues such as micro-activism, product design and fashion.
What excites you about Makerversity?
The constant creative energy within the space, driving forward collaborations and new ideas! Being surrounded by so many different makers working across disciplines who can make me think about the world around me in different ways. For example, Humanising Autonomy’s self-driving car programme adapting itself to differences in pedestrians’ behaviour in cities inspiring me to think differently about how we can think of tech and AI related to cities – and consider its cultural impact alongside its innovative nature. This energy drives my own curiosity forwards and prompts me to learn about perspectives I had never thought about before.
Who are your heroes?
I feel I have so many personal heroes it is difficult to choose between major activists and iconic women artists so I am cheating a bit by going with Guerrilla Girls, a gang of women artist-activists campaigning for gender balance within the cultural sector. They are all anonymous, taking on the names of women artists such as “Frida Kahlo” and hiding their identities behind gorilla masks!
What would your one piece of advice for a young person who doesn’t have a clear direction be?
See a rejection as a door that’s still half open, with the right attitude – and look out for the people willing to mentor you. My first museum exhibition happened because I asked that museum’s team for feedback following an unsuccessful job interview. Being sincerely open to advice and willing to collaborate in alternate ways can lead you to amazing projects that will define your direction, little by little.