Inspiring Young Designers
Over the weekend I was clearing out some stuff from one of those household cupboards that was filled with ‘I don’t know what to do with you’ archival boxes. I came across a little envelope from 2011 and inside was a carefully designed bespoke sleeve with a fake $100 bank note inside. The title read ‘This is not a bribe’ and was followed by this statement:
“Dear Amber, just a note to say thank you so much for a wonderful semester. I truly enjoyed your classes and I have been very encouraged by the genuine dedication and patience that you have shown towards our class. You truly have been a great inspiration, and I hope that you never grow weary in the work that you continue to do. Thank you.”
Wow. Just wow. This was a genuine act of gratitude shown by a student of mine who was clearly listening during class (not on Facebook or checking superfluous Twitter feeds). I remember at the time being completely taken-a-back; most of the time students bolted for the door after class unless they were looking to negotiate an extension on a deadline or they needed help with a project because they weren’t listening (refer my comment regarding Facebook during class). It was the end of semester, I worked full-time in a busy agency and yes I was weary (I hope it wasn’t that obvious).
While it is lovely to feel appreciate and this did wonders for my sense of self, I share it with you because it reinforces my message in last month’s blog ‘Improving Design Education’. Students need mentors and people that inspire them. We all do. When I was at University, I remember all the guest lectures, industry ‘visits’ and conferences that promoted engagement with the industry community. It was a world that seemed so foreign and out of my league but I was desperate to learn and thirsty for knowledge. I clearly remember seeing legends of the Australian design scene like Mimmo Cozzolino, Brian Sadgrove, Heather Towns, Max Robinson, Gary Emery and the list goes on. These people shaped my views of the design world that have stayed with me until today. Their passion for their craft, focus on creative process and methodology have imprinted a permanent set of standards and values in my approach as a design professional.
While I am handing out acknowledgements, it would be remiss of me to not tip my hat to Dr Ken Cato whose business has been pivotal in creating stronger industry engagement with design students through his involvement in the agIdeas International Design Forum – this year celebrate their 25th anniversary! Thank Ken. Kudos also to the design faculty team at Swinburne University of Technology for their innovative sprit and long-standing commitment to their unique IBL Program (Industry Based Learning) which also supports the mentoring and growth of design students in preparation for entry into the ‘real world’.
Lastly, thank you to the student who took the time to express her gratitude. The gesture did not go unnoticed.