Within term 1 of Level 5 constellation, I was in the study group ‘Posthumanism Art & Design: Matters, Ecology, Ethics’. In this topic, we discussed a variety of different subjects in relation to human/non-human, objects and the ethics of design which enabled me to think further into my practice as a graphic designer in terms of the effects of what my practice can do and to think about it in relation to the wider world. I decided to write my formative essay on the question ‘Is the 21st century graphic designer a cyborg and what effect is this having on the gap between the human and non-human?’ because I wanted to explore whether graphic designers are consumed by technology – therefore making them a cyborg – and whether this is affecting the non-human world. I enjoyed researching into the topic and making up my own opinion regarding the gap between graphic designers and the non-human world which led me into my dissertation topic. I started to question my responsibility to the environment as a graphic designer and how I can relate the ideas I was exploring to my practice. I felt that as a graphic designer, my responsibility is to create work for the human world and I thought it interesting to find that by doing this, what is the impact on the environment and is there a solution to change this. I decided to continue this through to my dissertation because I felt if I discussed this topic in depth then it would develop me in practice as a graphic designer in becoming more environmentally friendly. Sustainability is really important, especially within this current climate, so already in my subject, I am trying to be mindful of the materials I am using and to create pieces of work that have a real purpose in the world so are worth the materials they are using. I have learned to not create just ‘stuff’ that is not needed and would just be thrown away once it’s been used. I have begun to work in a way in which I think about the end use of the product before designing it so that I can limit my negative effect on the environment. I feel that this constellation topic has been really insightful and I have been able to create strong links between this and my practice which has development myself as a designer.
My feedback from my formative essay submission, stated that my referencing system was incorrect, in particular my text citations. So within this proposal, I worked to ensure that I had improved upon my referencing. Another piece of feedback was to ensure my work had paragraphs so I worked on the structuring of my essay within this submission. Taking this feedback forward into writing my dissertation proposal, I ensured that I allowed myself enough time in preparing the research and writing the piece of work. Originally, I had planned to write a 10,000-word dissertation however, as I developed my idea I decided to write a 6,000-word dissertation and to present it alongside an artefact. I felt that this would more appropriate because within my dissertation I am talking about how designers have an effect on the environment so creating an artefact to alleviate the effect being negative seemed more fitting to the topic. Though I have enjoyed researching for this topic and look forward to creating the dissertation/artefact, I am apprehensive as to whether or not the artefact will work as planned. I am relying on natural resources to create my piece of work and it’s quite an experimental technique with room for it to go wrong so I am prepared for the challenge of creating the artefact. Despite this, I am sure that it is possible to create the finished artefact and I have planned for it to be a sufficient piece of work to present alongside my dissertation. Over the summer, I begin and hope to complete my artefact.
I continue to find it difficult to read and critique pieces of texts so it’s something I have learned to allow myself enough time to do. Within the first term, I found it beneficial to notice links between constellation and my subject because I have found before I struggled to notice the connection which made me less motivated to read different texts. Having found a dissertation topic in which I can be passionate about and have found that it can have a positive impact on my practice, has enabled me to want to read more academics texts and has allowed me to realise the importance of widening my reading. I feel that writing long pieces of text will always be a challenge for me and as I move forward into writing my dissertation, I will continue with the pace of how I have written my proposal so that I allow myself enough time to produce a piece of work I can be proud off. Being able to write about different pieces of texts has helped me in being able to critique pieces of artists/designers work within research for projects. In the past – in particular in first – I rushed to write my essays which led me to be given a grade I wasn’t happy with, so I’ve learned from that to have better time management so that what I submit is the best of the work I can produce. Alongside this, I should work to read more variety of text as I have done for the proposal, to provide a varied conversation. I plan to continually develop my writing skills and the reading of my text, in particular for the writing of my dissertation but also with my subject when writing blog posts for my work.