Rollercoaster ride

You’re lucky. I nearly left it too late to submit this month’s column. I’ve never left it this late to write, but I didn’t know what to write, or honestly, I didn’t want to. I’ve had some highs, lows, self-doubt and frustrations. I’ve felt apathetic, conflicted, and distracted; and after starting the year in a positive frame of mind, I’ve not found it easy to rationalise the following. I’ve realised that:

  • I don’t want to work independently as a freelancer; I need to be surrounded by creative people, a team.
  • I’m not interested in writing Facebook ads, About Us pages or LinkedIn profiles.
  • Maybe I need to work for a company that is more me.

I know lockdown 3.0 influences how I feel and what I’m thinking, casting a cloud over my head and thoughts. I, like others, am also struggling with cabin fever.

Everything is dragging with no end date in sight, and I find myself getting frustrated with silly things, like our rented house. The freezing weather hasn’t helped: it’s exacerbated issues with the house due to its lack of decent insulation, and I want to move, NOW. We’d planned to move towards Bristol this year, renting via the Army but it’s unlikely to happen. We may buy this year instead, but we need to look for houses, although we can’t justify travelling a good two hours away with the current climate. It’s not essential travel. Is Pete going to be able to race abroad this year, can we get a dog yet?! Everything is in limbo, out of my control, and I like to be in control!

Work has started to get me down: budget restrictions, a new role with more reactive stuff thrown in, and solutions to client challenges are beginning to look the same due to a lack of digital tools. I’m stagnating professionally. My copywriting coursework has stopped, my own doing. The chatter in the Facebook community is of winning pitches to write Facebook ads, About Us pages or LinkedIn profiles – which I’m not interested in writing. Having banked on doing freelance copywriting as my new career, it didn’t sit well with me. It was a ‘throw my hands up in the air and swear’ moment.

I even avoided speaking to my best friend; I didn’t want to talk about how I felt. I just wanted to curl up in the corner, stew things over, adjust to my new thoughts and the potential impact on what they meant longer term. When I did speak to my friend, I knew I should’ve spoken to him earlier. He’s always the right person to talk to about things, and as a solo entrepreneur, he knows about the struggles of starting something up on your own.

I then remembered my career change advice; it’s all about trying things, and if it doesn’t work out, pivot, and try something else. It’s not a failure, see it as knowing what you don’t want to do and finder out sooner. I haven’t put all my eggs into one basket and jacked my full-time role in to be a fulltime copywriter: it’s ok.

On my first non-working day, now that I have my longed-for flexible working pattern approved, I spoke to a couple of headhunters to get a feel for the market and talk through my thoughts. It’s tough out there, and companies are doing more direct recruitment. Which you’d think would be a bonus, but you don’t know who or what is looking at your CV scanning for keywords or whether HR know a good communication professional when they see one. The likelihood of a CV getting through is lower than ever.

I do know the grass isn’t always greener on the other side however I’m keen to look at going back agency side, either as a Comms consultant or copywriter. It could even be a sideways step, starting as a Comms consultant and then moving into copywriting. I thrived in an agency I worked in a few years ago, and I know it’s the environment for me. There’s a real buzz to agency life. Whenever a brief came in, everyone from the design and operations team to the comms & engagement leads downed tools and met as a group to hear it. We’d throw ideas around for a couple of hours and then break off into our respective teams to further develop our pitch ideas. We’d come back together three to four hours later to share our thinking and start working on a pitch document.  The atmosphere is so different: there’s fun, creativity, a pace to things and a real sense of teamwork. It’s you and creatives brainstorming ideas and proposals, bouncing ideas off each other, and learning new techniques. Each client proposal demands a different response, so the mental and professional challenge is always there. There’s also a need to bring in business: an agency will only exist if there is client work and there’s an element of sales in agency life. It’s about making connections with companies and building relationships over time in the hope it pays off. It’s the long game; you can’t slack.

Spurred on by information shared on a call with a headhunter, I searched for a local creative agency recruiting for a comms associate. Although advertised in December, I took the plunge and emailed them with a copy of my CV. Learning to copywrite well has definitely made me better at writing emails, and I went with an imaginative, direct, and fun approach. And it worked!

I received a response a couple of hours later, saying they’d love an informal chat with me. It made my day, it really did. I had a spring in my step, and I felt more optimistic. It might never come to anything, but it’s always worth building connections. And I suppose I was essentially pitching in my email to the agency; I might be good at pitching for work after all!

How do you get a handle on things? Or do you, as in the film Frozen, ‘let it go’? Do you feel you’re on a more even mental keel if you manage to get a fraction of control back?

Claire 1 – Lack of control 0!

www.WhenweGoOnline.com

Hello all,

Hope you are well and still keeping positive within Lockdown 3.0.

Today, I’m going to do something a little different and just write this letter to you all, about how I’m doing in this time and hopefully reach out to all of you who may be feeling similar.

When I say, I’m a drama student- most people would think of someone who lives their life on a stage, pratice rooms full of people making weird shapes and pretending to be trees (which I have done but don’t judge it). Though now, in this time that feels more like a fantasy than something I was doing only 3 months again, which I luckily was able to do.

Working with a mask on, is not the most glamorous thing in the world but it was not the torture that it appears to be. I was able to work in a class of 7 people, all socially distanced and in masks, but still in a pratice room. It was a strange experience, a warped sense of a familiar feeling of going into the room. Nevertheless, I was excited to do things after the nervousness we felt in Lockdown 2 of not knowing if life can be a little bit normal again. However, I also felt fear and frustration- fear that, I was doing my degree, all the while I kept seeing on  the news how the industry, I wanted to go into was ‘crumbling’ and going to be ‘CLOSED FOREVER!’ – Oh, the horror of it all! But it scared me of the anxieties what if it did, then what would I do, nevertheless, I just kept going to my classes and tried to solider through the fear that this wouldn’t be so.

And frustrated, I was upset that it just didn’t feel the same, it didn’t feel like the same degree and my experiences would they amount to the same, if I can’t properly perform.  This whole thing was just a whirlwind of emotions for three months and put me into a strange place.

Now in Lockdown 3, I miss that feeling but I also learnt from it. Now all my class I am sad to saying are online, which is still a strange sensation. Nevertheless those 3 months taught me a lot in how to cope in this strange circumstance. But I’ll break it down to three things.

1, Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself – Sometimes anxiety can take over in a difficult situation, it’s okay to take a day to yourself, to ease your worries and working on yourself, not me that’s writing and recently…knitting! I definitely recommend it- I’m not the best knitter but it’s very relaxing. Admit to yourself you’re having a bad day. We all have them.

2. Get to know other online chat avenues- Zoom is not the only outlet out there. Yes, it maybe it’s the most efficient but also take time away from it to, there is Microsoft teams, Skype, A website called Lark which not only calendars your events but also taking calls. There are plenty of avenues to try to navigate and feel more comfortable in this new way of talking. Additionally, this can apply talking to your friends, this doesn’t have to be over zoom either! There are plenty of ways to reach out, whether be over the internet through discord which is perfect for voice chats in big groups or even writing a letter or going on a walk, a nice way to break your day away from a screen  and stress and reach out to the people you love.

3. Think about what you’re grateful for. Over Lockdown, I feel I’ve reflected on I am lucky to have people around me who care about me so much and have been making steps to learn to appreciate things in life more . So tonight, I will be thankful I’m able to make a pancake and enjoy it with my family, in my home where I’m warm, fed and loved and I hope you all can do the same, whether it be with friends, family, pets or even having some alone time. Remember you can do this; you’ve survived this long and it’ll get more comfortable.

Love Em x

Em’s tip: If there are any societies or groups whether you be in university or just online in general. Don’t be afraid to get involved, it’s a great way to meet new people and have fun things to do online. For example, in my drama society at my university, we just did a online combat class- How cool is that!

A picture of my Knitting! I know it’s got some holes but a rainbow is a rainbow none the less.

London Exhibitions 2021


Looking forward to a brighter 2021, and dreaming of open galleries and enthralling shows, I have collected some of the best exhibitions hoping to open this year.
All of these include textiles in various ways – from garments and pattern, to interiors and photography.
If not physically open, let’s hope that these exhibitions will be available online in some form:

Zanele Muholi
Tate Modern, 5 November 2020 – 31 May 2021
Zanele Muholi Calls herself a visual activist – one who focuses on South Africa’s gay, trans, intersex and queer communities. The LBGTQIA+ communities still remain a target in South Africa, despite equality being promised in 1996. The photographs are intense, with the sitters gaze being an important aspect. The images also contain characteristic textiles, hair pieces, garments and make up.


Jean Dubuffet
Barbican Art Gallery, 11 Feb – 23 May 2021
This will be a retrospective exhibition of Dubuffet’s work showing his tireless experimentation. Butterfly assemblages, enamel paintings, colourful canvases and lithographs will be among the type of work shown. He is famously the founder of Art Brut movement and his work rallies against conventional standards of beauty.


Epic Iran
V&A, 13 Feb – 30 Aug
This exhibition will explore 5,000 years of art – from 3,000 BCE to the present day. Art and culture will be shown through 300 objects, which includes sculpture, textiles, carpets, film and photography. This is a landmark exhibition on one of the greatest civilisations in history. Knowing the V&A’s past shows, this will surely be a remarkable display.


Chintz: Cotton in Bloom
Fashion and Textile Museum, 12 March – 15 August 2021
The Fashion and Textile Museum spans hundreds of years and miles with this exhibition that explores Chintz fabric. This material bears multicoloured patterns and designs that became sensations throughout 18th century England and Europe. Some 150 examples of this textile will be on show, from Japanese dresses to wall hangings and sun hats.


Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser
V&A, from 27 March 2021
This immersive and theatrical exhibition takes you down the rabbit hole into a magical new world. It is the most comprehensive exhibition ever held on Alice and Wonderland. It looks at the huge impact Lewis Caroll’s story has had in the history of art, fashion, design performance and more. Salvador Dali, Walt Disney, Tim Walker and Vivienne Westwood are among those included.


Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Rooms
Tate Modern, 29 March 2021 – 27 March 2022
The Infinity Rooms are immersive installations of endless reflections. Kusama is famous for her obsessive and repetitive dots. Her work uses a variety of media such as painting, sculpture, drawing and performance. There has never been a Kusama exhibition of this size before in the Uk, so it’s not to be missed.


Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture
Fashion and Textile Museum, 3 September 2021 – 1 January 2022
Beautiful People explores fabulous examples from Chelsea’s iconic boutiques that sparked a 1960’s fashion revolution. Creative exploration led designers to sell radical clothing to counterculture youth. The flamboyant ‘flower power’ style emerged with an explosion of colour and pattern. Styles from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Jimmy Hendrix will be displayed alongside garments from iconic boutiques like the ‘Kings Road shop Granny Takes a Trip’.


Impressionist Decorations: the Birth of Modern Decor
National Gallery, 11 Sept 2021 – 9 Jan 2022
This is the first ever exhibition dedicated to the Impressionist’s impact on the decorative arts. These painters sought to bring the outdoors inside and turned their eye for landscapes into objects that could decorate the home. Interior elements such as panels, painted doors, tapestries, ceramics and paintings will be shown. Impressionists such as Renoir, Pissarro, Degas, Manet and Cezanne are included.

Lubaina Himid
Tate Modern, 24 Nov – 22 May 2022
The 2017 Turner Prize winning artist Lubaina Himid exhibits on a large scale, showing recent work and highlights from her career. Himid is known for her approaches on painting and social engagement. Her long career has contributed to the British Black arts movement and recognising women’s creativity. Taking inspiration from the Himid’s interest in theatre, this exhibition will unfold a series of scenes designed to put visitors both on the stage and backstage.

Walls

Walls

My room does not have

four walls:

curving and caving,

I trace hollows over the paint,

bumping over the bodies

of insects brushed clean

in Victorian Pewter gray.

I have counted seven walls

in my room:

bumping and falling,

curving and caving

with the hollows

of bugs and the hollows

of whispers and the shadow

of one person in a bed

made for two.

A little bit about the author:

Emily Uduwana (she/her) is a poet and graduate student based in Southern California. Her most recent work has appeared in issues of Stone of Madness Press, Rogue Agent Journal, and perhappened mag.

Find more from Emily:

Tentatively optimistic of Hampshire

It really is the New Year, end of January and its bitter outside. How are you? I hope you’re keeping warm and safe and not feeling too depressed by lockdown 3.0. I’m interested to hear if you’re approaching things differently this year knowing we’ve been here before. I’m wrapped up and can be found mainlining tea in my office although I’m feeling optimistic. This year has got off to a much better start than I predicted.

I started my copywriting course, finally! Rather than squander our second week off at Christmas, Pete and I decided to have a little structure of sorts. Wake up, though not before 10am because you know, we were on holiday, breakfast, train, lunch, social media/news catch up, followed by a couple of hours of both of us studying. And we stuck to it. I’m struggling to wake up early after having so many lie-ins though.

There was something quite pleasing seeing us both study and work together to achieve our dreams. I sat in one area of the sitting room, Pete the other; headphones in and off we went. I made a dent in my course, covering topics I knew already, and others I didn’t. It also made me reflect on the web copy I developed last year, rethinking the way I would have approached the copy if I had to do it again.

I’m nearly at the end of the course and focusing on homework; one piece I must nail is coming up with a ‘spec ad’ in collaboration with a designer. This could be a banner ad, poster or leaflet co-developed by me and a designer for a brand I choose. The idea is that if I want to work as a copywriter, I need to showcase my writing but without any paid copywriting work under my belt it’s a bit tricky. I have a number of examples of creative writing, but I need more copywriting experience than just my web copy examples. The spec ad needs to be designed and written in the same style and tone of voice of the brand I choose so that if a prospective employer or client saw it, they wouldn’t be able to tell whether it was real or not. Ergo showcasing how well I have captured the tone of voice of the brand, and the designer’s creative skills.

What I have found interesting doing this course is the sometimes-conflicting advice I’m receiving. I follow an award-winning copywriter, Kate Toon, who I think I’ve mentioned last year. Listening to one of her podcasts, she and her co-host copywriter don’t agree that you need a spec ad to start out and be noticed; they feel a blog has more clout. Kate says she generates a lot of her business from people who have read her blog, rather than her portfolio.

I am torn, because I do find myself more drawn to Kate’s way of working, style and she has more experience than my current tutor. I am however going to do the spec ad, if only to see what it’s like working with a designer, and how hard I find it. Because I’m still a bit dubious that writing copy for banner, ads, posters etc. is for me!

To do the ad justice, I need clear space in my diary, and hold on to your hat’s folks, I’ve managed to obtain approval for my 4-day compressed week! I honestly didn’t think it was going to happen especially as I was starting a new role, but the new boss is impressed by my work ethic and thinks it’s achievable. What a relief. It’s now all systems go, no more excuses for me.

Another area I need to focus on is beefing up my social media presence. I made a concerted effort one weekend to do more on it, and oh my gosh doesn’t social media marketing swallow up your day before you know it! I spent nearly 4 hours re-doing my Facebook business profile, linking it to my business Instagram account, which has been renamed @staffordwrites. I researched the best scheduling tool (Later) to schedule my posts to both accounts, developed content and built on an idea I had last year to showcase my work: ‘Thank You Thursday’. It’s aimed at giving coverage to brands I’ve worked with, both raising their profile and my writing, and I managed to get my first post created, scheduled and ready to go. I felt quite proud and satisfied at the end of it all. And needing a lie down.

Come Thursday though nothing had been posted. Zip, nada, rien. I wasn’t impressed. And although I’ve tried to fix things, I can’t schedule any posts via Later as it’s a FB issue. Whilst trying, unsuccessfully to fix the FB problem, I stumbled across their scheduling tool which does work, and while it doesn’t give me all the data Later does, I’ve spent way too much time on FB trying to fix it. It will have to do for now.

I’ve updated LinkedIn again and it seems to be creating more interest too. Do you remember my column from July? I discussed my thoughts on the job descriptions I was seeing on The Dots and one that had caught my eye – Chief Change Maker. Well, a Chief Change Maker contacted me about a prospective role as an Innovation writer. Unexpected and very much welcomed and I’ve responded. Even if it comes to nothing, the connection is a good one and who knows what might happen further down the line. I mean, to just know a Chief Change Maker is exciting.

While January started in lockdown, again, and the weather outside is either freezing or wet, this year, dare I say it, has the makings of a good year. I’ve a spring in my step and nervous excitement about possible opportunities. All I want now is a good dump of snow please!

Shapes of solitude

A little bit about the artist:

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1982, Juan spent most of his childhood with his grandparents, It was there in the kitchen that he fell in love with cooking and tango. Soon he pursued studies in culinary arts under the supervision of L’école de Cuisine Lenotre and soon started working in professional kitchens were he found cooking as an art outlet. By 2007, working at Palacio Duhau had the opportunity to collaborate with the French artist Laurent Moriceau in his ephemeral art series titled Proyecto Deguste, which involved the creation of chocolate sculptures for an exhibit at the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art. This project made a great impression on Juan and inspired him to begin integrating plastic arts into his cooking.

Juan’s culinary career has taken him around the world, cooking both in restaurants and on stage at some of the most exclusive events such as Taste of Auckland and New Zealand Chocolate Festival. He has been mentioned in the New Zealand Herald and Cuisine Magazine, and even featured on an episode of Hangi Masters on Māori Television.

Although he’s known for his achievements and accolades as a chef, Juan is also a talented saxophone player, and has performed at the popular Sundeck in Queenstown with DJs Guillem Ribera and Murry Sweetpants. Juan himself is also an acclaimed electronic music DJ, playing under the stage names Ship Shape, Chupa Trance and Electric Rush at acclaimed clubs such as Ink Bar.

In addition to the culinary and musical arts, Juan is now taking his artistic talents to canvas. His paintings were recently displayed at a private event at Studio Dinner in Auckland.

Amongst other projects, he’s currently working on a photo portrait project involving 100+ people, a commission for a mural artpiece for a new restaurant in Auckland. Juan is comfortable with abstract, mixing techniques and medias.

Debris from the past by Amy-Leigh Bird

About the work:

I studied Painting & Printmaking at The Glasgow School of Art and recently graduated from my MA in Creative Entrepreneurship from UEA. Since moving to London I have been making work which explores the ideas of time and place. Walking along the Thames I have been collecting objects and finding ways to use them in my work. From the debris of the past I have been particularly drawn to the many old bones that are found along the foreshore, and I have been finding ways to incorporate them into my practice. I have also been seeking ways of making new work under lockdown by repurposing and up-cycling old work and using the resources I have to hand. Coming from a working-class background has meant that the work I create has usually come from using the scarce resources and material available to me. I have experimented a lot with natural materials in my work, recently creating a sculpture of found bones, Thames clay and scraps of old wood found on my street. Earlier on in my practice I made a curiosity cabinet of found items from the river Kelvin in Glasgow which was later used as my degree show piece. I have always been attracted to the unwanted, discarded material that I find around me, finding ways to repurpose it and bring it a new life.

A little bit about the author:

Amy-Leigh Bird graduated from the Painting & Printmaking BA Hons at The Glasgow School of Art in 2017 and in 2019 graduated from her MA in Creative Entrepreneurship at The University of East Anglia.  Whilst studying Amy-Leigh lived and studied in Jerusalem, Israel at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and has taken part in several group and solo exhibitions including her first solo show at The Anise Gallery, Shad Thames, The Other Art Fair and at The West End Centre. After her graduation she was selected for Aon’s ‘Community Artist Award 2017’ and awarded the ‘Artist in Italy Residency 2018’ where she spent ten luxurious days walking about the Tuscan landscape collecting inspirational material. Since graduating the award-winning artist has exhibited alongside Christian Boltanski at the Apple and the Lust Gallery in Edinburgh, at The Edinburgh Art Fair and at An Lanntair in Stornoway after taking part in a two-week sailing residency with Sail Britain. This year she will be exhibiting at the prestigious and highly regarded No20 Arts gallery in Highbury and Islington and developing her research on the bones found on the Thames foreshore. She is currently living and working in London, developing her research on the psychology of collecting and the emotional significance of objects and place.

Find more from Amy-Leigh Bird:

https://mybestzine.bigcartel.com/

HATe

There are feelings that we hide inside and they keep building up. And when they do, they can either be tamed and transformed into something worthy or they can come out in the worst possible way.

In this post I would like to examine ‘hate’. It has been around for quite some time now but these days I feel like it’s growing stronger. During the past week one of my former teachers got accused of spreading religious ideas during his physics lessons. A long article on the happenings was published in an online magazine. The thing is, none of these accusations were true. People who know that man are aware of that. But the people who hide behind n/a in the name section, the ones wearing the cap of invisibility without grace started to offend him in so many ways in the comment section. The more they kept writing the more it was becoming obvious that they are not aiming at him. They were aiming at themselves, the pandemic, all their own faults, the people who were mean to them, the government. And it’s obvious that these reasons behind being angry apply to us all. It is all about what you do with that frustration.  Observing this situation from the perspective of an outsider made me more aware of what is really going on when someone hates “you”. Especially online.

 “Run” 2021

I brought this subject forward because from my perspective; as an artists, as one of the people who create something to be publicly viewed, we have to learn to defeat this hate and find the way to let it go. I had a chance to conduct a few art-in-public actions. They were published by the local online magazine in my city. Unfortunately, readers had completely different vision of aesthetics than I had, to say the least. I’m not talking about constructive criticism here. It was a big-time hate session. From offending me personally, through suggesting I should pay a fine for damaging the common wealth (although my actions lasted only 24 hours and were completely harmless to the surroundings) to claiming that all artists should quit taking drugs because we lost our minds. And I’m not writing it all here to pity myself or to show how wrong these people who wrote it were.

I’m coming forward with this concept because maybe lately you have heard something hurtful, maybe someone made you question what you do, whether it’s art, writing, dancing or something completely different. But could you easily put a face and a name to that hurtful comment? Did they really say it based on some relevant reasons? Or maybe, just maybe they’re the negative observers and you’re actually the one living your life and trying? Think about that.

Confidence comes with time and experience. I’m still learning that as a young artist and also simply as a person. If we want to do something great, and we want to achieve our goals we need to be prepared for the so-called ‘hate’ be it online or in real life. When we reach the point when it all stays outside and we gain the strength within what we’re doing- this will be the turning point. I really believe that.

Stay healthy,

Stay cool,

Maria

From School to University – The changes and differences to be aware of.

In my lead up to leaving my secondary school (which also acted as my college) to University, I found the transition difficult, particularly in the differences in structure. I know that for many young people, whether going to university or not, it’s a hard experience to go into the unknown. As a person with some experience now, I hope to put your mind at ease, even if not completely, but just a little, during this transition, particularly in this time where nothing really feels right

The Workload can vary 

For people coming out of A-levels, it was a time of having an extreme revision of a lot of content for exams. This may be something you never want to do again because of this. University is similar but not the stereotype of being A levels on high energy. Instead, most of your First-year work will be things you may have covered already and then build-up to the new elements. Lectures are similar to classes with the typical PowerPoint and taking notes, however, there are also seminars later on that are much more suited for you, instead of waiting behind to ask your teacher a question about your work after class. Instead, you have an hour with other people in your course to, not only ask questions but also get other perspectives that may change your mind. In many courses, you don’t have to go in every day, similar to college, but this time is not just to do homework but also do research on your own. In my opinion, University is a perfect space for people who don’t mind doing some extra work. As you work through your modules, it may appear that because you study one thing (or two if doing a joint degree) that you do less, but like college, you will have more substantial work instead to build your understanding. 

  • Teaching

In my experience, self-study was always the main focus at University. The majority of my teachers are good at what they do because they don’t need to specify that they are knowledgable. You already know that they are (partially because half of the books you will read are written by them) but also because they trust you enough that you can answer your own questions and solve your own problems instead of relying on the teacher. This can be one of the hardest things to adjust to, but the way to get over this is through doing your own research. If you simply rely on what your lecturer tells you throughout your degree, you will not get the full experience. Instead, you should gain more experiences. A good way to do this is not just to talk to your lecturers but perhaps reach out to other lecturers in different modules too to gain their view in order to eventually come to your own.

For this reason, most of the best teachers in my university experience acted more like hype-men and give advice rather than lead us to conclusions for the entire time. This transition is hard to get around but it is important for students when going into careers. Just make sure you still ask as many questions as possible.

  • Freedom and looking after yourself

For many people, going to University means freedom you don’t experience being surrounded by your family. It’s almost like a temptation once you get there, your focus is on making friends, making memories and going clubbing because now you can. However, these wants also distract you from the more negative elements of becoming an adult which you may not need to think of in school. One of the examples may be feeding yourself and being away from home. For some, this isn’t a problem but being in a new atmosphere and environment distracts from learning. In college, there is an intensity which people again want to avoid and University, for the most part, can do that, however, this will only happen if you plan. It is important to find in your first year, while things are little more relaxed, a balance between work and social life, such as doing 4 hours of revision a day on the lead up to exams or going out at least for 2 hours a day to see a friend. The main thing is to build a plan that can be challenging at times but also allows there to be some pacing. 

Once you have that, the university may become easier and less pressing on you and your mental health, which is the most important thing to look after.

Uni is a strange experience, to say the least between the so-called real world and childhood but this makes it the time in which you can start to figure out who you are, what you want and start to build it. In this time, it may be hard to know that but uni will continue differently through zoom and if they can continue so can you.

Em x

Em’s tip- It’s okay not to understand who you are as an artist, explore and try new things and don’t feel you need to stick to one thing to be popular, versatility is a good trait to have and being able to adapt is even better.

Also, take your vitamins.

Solitude in visuals by Jess Mezo

Life’s strange: “Love has a way of surviving in small spaces, pockets of reality, remembrance, earmarks and notes left on the margins of some old diary of ours. Echoes of midnight conversations and summers past find us in contemplation, even though their sharp edges mellow out and blur into watercolours over time. It’s everywhere. You’ll find it within the slow rhythm of the urban heartbeat, or the stanzas of love poems exchanged between French symbolist visionaries Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud.”
A Shakespearean sonnet: “‘It’s you!’ ‘No, it’s you!’ – it’s always someone else. Maybe it’s a form of recognition, maybe it’s the forces of alienation and the pressures of our capitalist economy. Maybe it’s both. Fact, fiction, past, and present melt into one as we inhabit the same virtual spaces, running through the same loops, playing out the same patterns of behaviour in eerily similar settings. What lies beyond our conditioning? Some things cannot be intellectualised, only experienced.”
Community: “It often feels like the clock stopped ticking months ago. ‘Life as it is’, life as we remember it, ground to a halt, allowing a strange sense of stillness to filter in. Objects are left behind, spaces are abandoned as the rhythm or normalcy skips a beat. It’s been summer for months – it’s been a different year all along, or at least it feels like it. Temporality gets muddied as our perception of time is thrown around by winds of a new decade.” 

A little bit about the author:

Jess Mezo is a thinker, writer, experimental artist, and semi-professional picture-snapper, focusing mostly on political aesthetics, structures of power, resistance, beauty, and the psychology of everyday life in her research, writing, and art. Having seized every opportunity to travel and study abroad while earning her parallel BA degrees, she finally settled down in the UK and completed her MSc in International Relations at the University of Bristol. Jess is currently working as a freelancer and preparing for further studies after a year-long travel break she spent expanding her creative and professional toolkit.

Jess has recently launched her passion project, JessThetics, across different social media platforms to host her social and political commentary, as well as her (visual) essays on aesthetics and modern philosophy. A passionate student of photography and digital art, Jess pairs her articles with pictures and other forms of mixed media shot or otherwise created by her, often solely for a particular piece of written work. She invites everyone to join her on a journey into the realm of the unconscious, experimental, and accidental, as she embarks on a quest to uncover more about the delicate balance that exists between truth in beauty and beauty in truth.

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