Personal Development Portfolio

Learning to be more playful when approaching a creative matter couldn’t have been taught at a better time. In the term following the constellation module of ‘Describing Creative Practice’ I went to Morocco and after that took part in work experience. These were both perfect opportunities for me to put the skills I had learnt with Dr Cathy Treadway to good use.

In one of the very early sessions with Dr Cathy Treadway we took part in an exercise that meant either eliminating or just specifically using one of our senses. By eliminating a sense (e.g. sight) meant that the others were more intensified, then having to describe a certain smell or feel of an object becomes more sensitive to the senses being used. I was surprised to find how much one sense relies on the others to try and recognize a familiar object. Something we come across on a daily basis can be acknowledged as a completely different object by using different sense. However by doing this exercise in small groups we accumulated pages of descriptive words that we would never usually think of using. It really got me thinking about how I might only use my sight to describe something, but by including all aspects of my sense such as using smell and touch I am able to create a much deeper and detailed description.

Sketchbook-1

I put this lesson learnt into action whilst on a culture trip to Morocco, which was part of my field module. Along with all the beautiful lively colours and patterns we came across there were also many interesting textures and smells that I may not have missed, but wouldn’t think to take note and describe as part of my work. From the spices in the food, to the unforgettable smell of the tanneries where they hand made the leather, these are some of the most iconic things about Morocco which I would have missed if it wasn’t for thinking about the use of all my sense.

When it came to describing my time in Morocco I felt I was able to go into more depth and give better detail, which in turn gives the reader a better understanding and I personally think that makes them more interested. I also found that by becoming more familiar and informed with new descriptive words it had broadened my vocabulary and I am better at using technical and professional terms.

From feeling more knowledgeable and having a better vocabulary of descriptive words I felt confident when it came to explaining an idea of mine. I noticed this whilst on work experience. Having this confidence was really reassuring when it came to working with professionals in the design industry. I felt able to explain myself a lot better then I would have previously. Also having conversations with clients it was important for me to make sure I knew what I was talking about.

Going back to the work we done in relation to our senses, this link in with my trip to Morocco in another way. Whilst in Morocco we visited a blind school called OAPAM. We were asked to plan a workshop for the students in the school to take part and were able to get creative and have some fun. I had a small group of young boys working with me and used aspects of Cathys activity in my own workshop. I gave the students personal objects of mine, such as a hairbrush, and asked them to feel it with one hand and draw with the other. Because of the language barrier between them and myself we were unable to use descriptive words but I felt that asking them to draw the objects how they imagined it gave the same effect.

Seeing the difference in cultures whilst in Morocco is what stemmed my dissertation idea. Technology is very undeveloped in Morocco, and while I was over there I found that I spent an incredible less amount of time on things such as my mobile device, tablet and use of the internet, compared to the time I would usually spend on a day to day basis back home.

This got my thinking about what is it with our culture that makes us so addicted and reliant on these technologies? When I was unable to use the internet whilst in Morocco I didn’t miss it. And towards the end of the week I found it rather refreshing not feeling the need to check my phone every half an hour. I was finding it easier to focus on other things. However, as soon as we landed back in the UK it was the first thing I did. Check my phone, check social media sites, check for any messages from friends. So although I didn’t miss it when I physically couldn’t do it, back in the UK I wasn’t strong enough psychologically to tell myself that I didn’t need to do it. And the addiction took over once again and it has stayed that way since being back.

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