On a linear viewpoint, this may look like my fourth career but it's actually my first passion.
I love connecting the dots of different disciplines usually the ones I have collected but actually I am not fussy. I love problem solving and working with nice people coupled with an innate desire to express myself creatively and save the world when I can.
I get confused when people call me multidisciplinary as I am just doing my thing like all those people before the industrial revolution created boxes to put people's minds in.
I also have a major addiction to night school and picked up 3 degrees and countless short courses along the way. Also a slight addiction to travelling and have visited about 100 countries including extended time working for a fair trade alpaca company in Lima, Peru and more recently an art residency in Fukuoka, Japan.
The other thing is I try to keep my cortisol levels down by avoiding drama, mainly to prevent wrinkles and grey hair .... not sure it has worked but on unavoidably stressful days I cling to full make-up.
Always on the lookout for collaborating with nice people and paid work for nice people. You can check out my (very very) long read or there is always my linkedin or download my CV to get an idea of my eclectic skills or just check my recent projects.
The Long Read
Research journal through practice - projects, musings, documentation, conferences.
I agree with ex-teacher current-zillionaire Jack Ma when he famously said that you learn everything you need to know from teaching others.
I taught 2nd year and tutored final year students. Because it was a part-time course, there were many career changers and older students who already had degrees from before. It was an honour to be exposed to so many ideas and perspectives.
In 2013 I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl by emergency C-section. I went back to work 5 weeks after. No I wasn't hardcore or deranged though probably still high on oxytocin but because my lecturing job was part-time and my boss (a mother herself) was super supportive and trusted me. I had set up great child care and ...well I had already done the preparation and wanted to start at the beginning of the timetabled lectures which were quite spread out and it just made me a happier mother.
On the side, I started exploring body centred interactivity and taught myself basic electronics and I attended related conferences, arduino workshops and short courses. To accommodate my interests, I took up studio space within the artists collective Creekside Artists,The Biscuit Factory, Bermondsey.
I also grew my network to find friendly technologists and expert hackers in the field so I could outsource or collaborate if I needed the extra help to embed tech into garments or create interactivity. This body of work and a chance meeting led to commercial opportunities.
I loved this course. Not least because I met such high calibre people from many disciplines and many countries who I am honoured to call my friends. The course itself allowed me to start the journey of consolidation, editing, iterating and accepting what I was capable of and my limitations. For my final project I developed a tool for dementia care using undisruptive interactivity and social benefit and called it S-O-S .. a support system to reclaim the Sense-of-Self. My research took me to interviewing care givers, neuroscientists and related charity founders. I also entered into the world of hackers open to innovation to help me with the technical sides of the project.
I also became a resident at the Centre for Creative Collaboration, a co-working space where I met some amazing people from all backgrounds ...academics, small business owners, freelancers, consultants who had set up different types of working lives. I managed my MA project from here and even used the space to run a meetup with about 40 attendees to try out a lecture I had devised on wearable tech and explore 3D printing when I was looking at creating jewellery cameo lockets of people's loved ones (from their own uploaded face scans) as an image recognition trigger to other outputs.
Ethical Consultancy, Supply Chain, Buying and Production, IT - I worked in very small award winning companies creating disruption in mainstream fashion. I also helped set up the UK office of MADE-BY, an ethical consultancy owned by Dutch Fair Trade pioneers Solidaridad where I was a supply chain manager giving consultancy to the following brands - Edun, KuSan, Ted Baker, Komodo, Jackpot, Kuyichi, Imps & Elfs, Bijenkorf, Fair & Co.
I assimilated complex supply chain data and turned it into relevant engaging consumer information with a focus on marketing and PR so the consumer could be informed in their choices. Also as is the nature of the fashion world, had quite a lot of dealings with trade events and parties... exhibiting, organising, attending.
I found I could transfer over some skills I had gained from being a small cog in the corporate world but mainly I was there to learn.
The nitty gritty of small business life was exhilarating and relentless.
Resourcefulness, innovation and creativity were the only strategy. More problem solving, loads of IT and process building, a lot of marketing and client focus, a lot less money.
The only reason I left this all-consuming fashion revolution I had worked so hard in was because I started to get bogged down by contradictory ideologies and somehow I was back in an analytical role with little creativity. My horizon felt very narrow. I needed to change my trajectory.
So many subjects to learn, it blew my mind. Fashion is a complex industry. Paradoxical at every turn. I had to know a little bit about everything and a lot about some things; to dip in and out of introspection whilst being fully present of global, societal, tribal trend dynamics. I became a truthseeker. I was chewed up and spat out as a high functioning creative generalist. Great brain training.
When I graduated, this is where all the jobs were and I desperately wanted to get on the property ladder so it seemed like a good option. Pretty much everyone I knew.. family and friends were in science and technology. I literally did not know one person in the creative industries to even think I would end up (sort of so far) there or may be full circle has brought the creative industries to technically trained people like me.
I mostly coded on AS400 databases .. housing probably the biggest data of its day into management information reports. I also did some e-commerce and java (completed all the SUN courses) in finance/city. There was a lot of problem solving and working in traditional IT departments in massive corporates. Dumb terminals. Green screens. Y2K. When the cloud had a proper name like 'internet server'. All geek no chic. Those were the days.
I also discovered night school. It was my salvation. Encouraged by a fashion illustration tutor, I pulled together a portfolio for a fashion degree. I wish I could track him down and say thanks. He changed my life.
1997 Biochemistry with Management BSc(Hons) Imperial College, London
Prior to that I had a number of student jobs including at Buckingham Palace for 2 summers. As a child moved around a lot in the UK but that's an even longer read. Lived in Uganda briefly. Born in Bangladesh.
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