Week 9 – Guru’s Day

Week 9 marked Guru’s Day in the calendar, one of the first big milestones of the 4th year project. I had the privilege of having conversations with six gurus over the course of the day.

Ryan Hutcheon and Hazel Wylie were both previous graduates of the Social Digital programme of study so their insight was most valuable to my personal development as design student. I spoke to Ryan mostly about my anxieties about my future career. I feel like it takes having a job to get a real sense of the values of the company. I also feel like it isn’t a good idea to bounce from job to job as I may never find something suitable in time. He settled these fears but said to keep my initial placement for six months at least, then use that experience to make switching job easier. Hazel had actually already done this, moving from Prudential to the BBC within six months of employment. I spoke with Hazel about my fears about running a workshop and she gave me helpful tips and ideas on making that experience smoother.

I found my conversations with Adam Todd and Jasmine Cox to be the most interesting. Adam introduced me to a product that was a dress with arms. The dress monitored your acidity of your sweat. When you are around someone you don’t like, your sweat becomes acidic, and vice versa for someone you’re comfortable with. This dress would recoil from people you do not like and reach its arms out towards those you are fond of. I loved the honesty of the clothing and how it acted was completely out of your control. He recommended that I try foil models in my workshops as it is a creative visual medium that no one is going to be particularly good at. This avoids someone at my workshop being particularly good at drawing and making it more difficult for the other participants to express themselves.

I spoke to Jasmine for a long time about identity.  I spoke about my experiences of gender and how I think empathy should really work. I found her input to be incredibly insightful considering the pace at which I was explaining the mess of ideas in my head. I thoroughly enjoyed our discussion about a wide range of issues surrounding human identity and allowed me to openly discuss some thoughts and ideas out loud.

I also spoke to Finlay Craig and Loraine Clarke but due to time constraints these conversations were cut short but still had valuable nuggets of information within them.

Towards the end of the week I attended a writing workshop in the Cooper Gallery. The workshop was called TypeCast and was hosted by Kirsty Hendry. The workshop focused on using tarot card like prompts to encourage the user to engage in a certain type of creative writing. 

The first exercise I engaged in was called auto auto biography which asked me to write the prompt “I was born” into my phone and let auto correct write the rest. This was really interesting as I’ve only had a phone for about a month so the responses were quite specific. I then tried it out with other prompts such as “I was reborn”,”When I died” and “Next Week I”.

The second exercise asked me to respond to a photo from one of the other participants smart phone album. I responded to the above image of a greasy food fix. I saw this as painkillers or a coping mechanism for pain. I wrote about how we often procrastinate and chase short term solutions that are negative in the long term. The third exercise I too part it asked me to write a passage in which the character is told through the history of someone else. I wrote about someone grieving the loss of someone they were once close to, following them recalling their qualities.


I thought the workshop brought out some interesting thoughts that I would never have explored without the prompting. This made me think about how I am going to design exercises for my own workshops and what kind of responses I might get from them.