Meet our graduating Under 25’s

By Esther Ellard

Meet Harry Grundy, Ikra Arshad and Tom Selwyn-Davis

They recently finished up their first 3 months at Makerversity, so we asked them what they’ve been doing and how it’s been!

We offer free desk space for 3 months, for makers under 25 year olds. This includes use of all our workshop facilities, support from the team and networking opportunities to over 80 creative startup businesses and friends of Makerversity. After the first three months, we offer a reduced rate membership for the rest of the year. We aim for this rate to increase incrementally every quarter to reach the normal hot desk rate.

How do you describe yourself?:

Harry: [Multidisciplinary] Designer
Ikra: Artist
Tom: Designer

Brief description of your practice:

Harry: I aim to create playful, insightful work irrespective of the discipline. This leads to a lot of fun mistakes and keeps me on a steady learning curve. By working laterally I hope to offer a new perspective to a theme or field, whilst hopefully communicating a sense of fun and childish exploration. Since graduating I have also begun to play with writing and curation as a way of better understanding the world I try to tinker with.

Ikra: I would describe my work as verging on genre defying. The foundations of my work consist of working in sketchbooks quickly and intuitively, taking in my surroundings. I like to engage with a wider audience through using simple abstract forms in which anyone can feel they can comment on and enjoy, this can be from a life-size installation piece or small simple animation work. My main purpose throughout my practice is to engage with people of all ages, bringing a joyful experience to them where humour and play is present.

Tom: Multidisciplinary design services in the high end market varying from 3D to Graphic design.

Brief description of what you’ve been working on during your time on the Under 25’s programme:

Harry: So far at Makerversity I have; built plastic sun-lounging furniture using only heat, designed a bathroom modelled on hurricane Doris for the Guardian, written about silliness for the AIGA, created a vessel from a condom and have begun stretching a canvas for a painter using my body as the frame.

Ikra: Since starting at Makerversity in January I began to collect my ideas and drawings together to move on to new projects. These included a brief given by Makerversity, mural designs and creating a personal project. I decided to create my own brief in order to zone in on learning new skills such as animation. This was inspired by a meeting with AOI (Association of Illustrators) who are also based at Somerset House.

Tom: Complete personal rebrand whilst networking and completing freelance projects.

What was most useful/valuable thing about being at Makerversity:

Harry: As I have begun to carve out a place for my own practice, Makerversity has been invaluable in giving me a sense of place and professionalism. Having somewhere to contain my ideas, whilst surrounded by a tonne of bright people has been crucial in keeping me sane post-uni. I have also just begun to make use of the auto cad specialists and equipment, which should push my ideas somewhere interesting!

Ikra: The set brief given by Makerversity. This gave me a deadline to work towards and inspired me to learn new skills in animation, it was interesting to work under the theme ‘Activism’ as it made me look further into how I feel about today’s world and situation. During the viewing for this animation I met a lot of other Makerversity members who I might not have crossed paths with otherwise.

Tom: Immersing myself with people of all creative disciplines both broadened and help strengthen my process. There were many times where people would suggest a direction that I hadn’t thought of; something truly valuable.

Were there any challenges you faced during your time here:

Harry: I’m used to making a huge mess. Something that i’m learning to reign in, out of respect for the other hot-deskers. I must be growing up (?).

Ikra: I found it hard to create work in a similar fashion to how I would during my degree as I did not have a permanent desk space. This however can be overcome through using the ‘messy area’ in the wood workshop and regularly using your locker space.

Tom: Other than remembering everyone’s names I found Makerversity a place that I instantly felt comfortable in. It’s great when you find a work environment with such a diverse crowd of people!

What’s next!?:

Harry: Certainly staying her for the foreseeable. Whilst I work 2 days a week as a studio assistant for a designer, I don’t think I could return to full time studio employment. I’m enjoying the potential for new experiences and projects that comes with self-employment. The space has been great for bringing in clients and collaborators for meetings, which is legitimising my practice.

Ikra: Working on a new project, further exploring how to transform a space and engage with a wider audience. Am also looking into finding a permanent working space.

Tom: Throughout my time at MV I had been sending out job applications and posting freelance availability. One company picked up on this and over the past few months I have been working for them as a Graphic designer at a company called Malle. They specialise in high-end luggage and adventure accessories.

If someone asked you now whether they should apply for the scheme or not, what insight could you offer them:

Harry: The first 3 free months are great for getting your head around what you’re supposed to be doing with your time. I often describe those months as a useful grey area between uni and the real world. I now feel like i know who/what I am and why people should give a toss. Also it’s a great way to find your schedule and discover how you work best. I’ve really enjoyed the 24/7 access the membership provides. I’ll often stay late or sneak in at random times if I need to. The access pass is also great for exploring Somerset House and getting cheap drinks.

Ikra: I had recommended a friend to apply for Makerversity recently. They were in need of workshop facilities such as laser cutting regularly, the prices can really add up and be quite unaffordable, Makerversity came to mind straight away. The workshop facilities and space are extremely helpful and money saving to someone who is in regular need for them to create work. I would also recommend it to someone who is quite confident with their ideas or vision so they can make extra use of their time there in the first 3 months.

Tom: I would say they should take it! Dive head first and ask loads of questions, if someone doesn’t know an answer chances are they will know another member who will. Also try not to worry too much about remembering names, just enjoy the opportunity and spend your time maximising your creative potential!

We’ve recently welcomed our next three U25’s to Makerversity and will share their journeys in the coming months!

If you’re interested in joining our programme, you can apply at any time here and we’ll be in touch.

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Posted By Esther Ellard