121 with Juliette MacDonald

Coming up to this one-to-one I was a bit unsure as to the point of it. Right at the front end of the module I didn’t really feel I had too much to show her but of course, I went in anyway as I enjoy talking with Juliette. My 121 wasn’t until half two so it was a good chance to go in early and really focus on some other work I needed to finish, such as the new poster  for my daughter’s dance school. 


I’ve just recently been actively looking into developing a shooting script for the documentary and I have now got the first draught sorted out. Not going to share it here because there are a few things I want to ok with Gemma first. But having written the first shooting script it did give me something to show Juliette along with footage of Gemma’s fight up in Strathclyde. 


The 121 went really well and Juliette has challenged me to really think about how I am framing this documentary. Is it about me and my exploration into women in the martial arts with Gemma as the main subject, or is it more about Gemma with the focus being away from me? Honestly, I still don’t know but am going to work up a couple of alternative scripts to help me think through the options. Another thing we talked about was the length of the documentary. Do I want a shorter more crafted work or a much longer piece with fewer edits? At the moment I’m leaning more towards a shorter piece with a website to support it with supplementary information.


So it was definitely worth my going in to see Juliette and make the most of bouncing ideas off of her. Thanks, Juliette!

Sex: My British Job

Well, not mine. It’s a documentary directed by Nick Broomfield starring Hsiao-Hung Pai looking at the hidden world of the prostitution of Chinese illegal immigrants.

Starring is probably the wrong term to use here as the documentary is predominantly filmed through her eyes by way of a secret camera hidden in her glasses. As such the footage is all fairly low quality but the topic is so absorbing that you soon forget about shaky, low quality image.

In the documentary Hsiao-Hung Pai works as a maid in a brothel in London and her duties include cleaning, cooking and answering the phone. This is about 14 hours a day every day all for about £100 a week. Those are meant to be her duties however as the film progresses there is increasing pressure put on her to work as a prostitute with the madam getting more and more aggressive and verbally abusive the more she resists. You can see Pai getting more depressed as time passes and in the end she agrees to prostitute herself, calls in Nick and gets out. The documentary finishes with Pai, accompanied by Nick, going to confront the madam about her behaviour and the way she victimises the vulnerable girls who through being undocumented cannot work in legal well paid jobs.

As I said above, this documentaries strength lies not in its visuals but rather in the immersive investigation that Pai undertook.

In my own work I’m trying hard to produce strong high end visuals but maybe I shouldn’t get too tied up with that.

Documenting the Madness

As a part of developing my own documentary I have been watching a lot of documentaries to learn more about the conventions of documentaries and explore how they develop their narratives. I’ve decided not to restrict myself on the types of documentary I’m watching but generally they are around equality, feminism and violence.


No, not the channel. This time it’s iPlayer and the team that look after it and they were at our uni again to talk to us about the ways in which they gather data to improve the iPlayer and user experience in general. A lot of the data collection methods are ones that we were familiar with but it was interesting to get a better idea of how the BBC works. It was amusing when we were asked what we thought of the layout of the iPlayer home screen and I wasn’t alone in thinking that it is a bit cluttered and messy.

IMG_20170201_104105 IMG_20170201_104625 IMG_20170201_135906 IMG_20170201_143135

BBC Idiation

Apparently that is an actual word and not made up jargon and yes, I did have to google it to check.


This is was the first of several visits by the BBC to work with us on the masters and they have some great, knowledgable people working for them. The morning was taken up with our visit to Orangebox so when we got back we had to do a quick catchup over lunch.


The BBC showed us several methods of rapid idea generation which were great as there wasn’t an emphasis on the quality of the idea, just (for now) the quantity.

IMG_20170125_142456 IMG_20170125_143609

The first image was more of a warm up exercise where they got us to decorate as many circles as we wanted as quickly as possible. The second was to draw or write down as many ideas as we could on the grid of 8, we were allowed up to 40 seconds per slot and I loved this method. 


After that we looked at ways of honing our ideas and judging the merit.

IMG_20170125_132125 IMG_20170125_152748 IMG_20170125_154018


I feel I took a lot away from the day which I will use in the future.

The Pelican Brief (aka Orangebox brief revisited)

In more depth then and ignoring the title (which is probably best) the Orangebox brief requires us to:

  • Form a collective (possibly compete with the Borg)
  • Decide on a company ethos, identity and key values
  • Bring biophilic principles to bear on redesigning a work or leisure environment

So first to the collective: The members of the team are 7of9, Natalie, Jade, Viola, Gemma and of course myself. Together we make up the commercial giant that is Pentagon Design. The skills we bring to the group are photography, video, fashion, design, illustration and of course architecture and interior design. Ok, maybe not the last two but how hard can it be, right?

Together we work in a fairly loose, collaborative way with no clear leader and this does of course have the danger of freeloaders. Fortunately through drawing up tasks and putting our names together we are taking responsibilities and can see who is doing what and this method is working well for us. While there is no leader per se, when needed Natalie takes point and does an exemplary job of it. More specific key values and identity will come across on the website.

So biophilia, what’s that all about? Happily it doesn’t refer to Gwyneth Paltrow and her jade eggs. There will be a separate post going into more depth about what biophilic design is but in short it is all about healthy, eco friendly environments.

Lastly, as Orangebox works with Novaglaze, there is a need to consider the use of glass and items laminated therein, in the design that we come up with. 

Orangebox Brief

We’ve started a new module for the MA and this one is all about entrepreneurship, which is what I spent my entire placement year doing during my degree. So whilst I may be well prepped for the process, I didn’t start out massively enthused at the duplication of work when I’d rather be getting on with my main project. That said, the team I am working with are ace and the more I look into biophilic design, the more interested I am getting. Our “client” is Orangebox and the brief is to design a biophilic environment such as a workspace, airport lounge or study area.

Our initial thoughts were with a workspace so that will be the start of our research. To get us motivated we visited Orangebox’s offices and as usual, I had a camera with me:

All done bar the grade

Tuesday this week was the final academic thing I had to do for my degree, present and defend my work. I must have covered things pretty thoroughly though as there was very little defending that needed doing once I’d presented and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Dare I hope for a First? Fingers are crossed.

But before that we have an graduate show (Mrs Robinson?) to prepare for. We’re doing that the week beginning the 6th and the show opens on the 10th. Time for me to get a new outfit! Then after that all I have left is the graduation ceremony and I’m a free man, ready to spread my wings and enter the world afresh with…. oh no, wait. September will see me back at uni to start my masters degree. Ah well, freedom can wait.

Professional Practice Reflective

This is the end, beautiful friend, the end…

And now I have to look back on all that I have done this year to promote myself professionally. Do we go blow by blow? Nah, the martial arts was last year. Maybe the highlights would be a better approach.

I mean, I started the year coming off an entrepreneurial placement year so the idea of just posting business related blogs could be a bit old, but that wasn’t the drive of the blog. No, the drive of the blog was cataloguing my progress, sharing what I am up to and who I am looking at and working with. Right from the start of my blogging I’ve been clear that I’m not one for creative writing, I leave that to my father – a man of quick wit and even quicker pen. All I can hope is that this blog has been slightly useful, informative and at least a little amusing.

Read More

Penultimate Post


This is the second to last post I will do about my Bachelor’s Degree, an it was a good last day of shooting. The variety to the day kept things really interesting for me with the day starting off with shooting my friend’s textile work which she has made for her final pieces. I met Becca last year on my EPY and so was happy to shoot her wonderful creations:


Read More