121/Group tutorial with Rowan

It was a 121/group as I had Greté there briefly but then it was just Rowan and I. The general gist of the conversation was around the conflict I previously mentioned between where the focus of the documentary lies. If its me and my exploration and showcasing of Gemma or if it’s more focused on Gemma with just the occasional VO from me to move the story along.


To help decide I have been scripting the two options and showed these to Rowan and she agrees that I should continue with this exploration and also suggested I watch yet more documentaries so that I can compare the styles.


Next time I’ll talk about one of those documentaries which was a BBC storyville one called Sync or Swim

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!

A TMA1402 Final Reflective

So what can I say about this module, what should I say, what is prudent to say?


Here’s a nice post:


and with that out the way I suppose we should get on with the not so positive post…


Let me start by saying that this is the most amazing exercise in futility and time wasting I have experienced in four and a half years at Huddersfield university. At least in other collaborations the topics were relevant to the course. So let’s see if we can work out the point to this module. 


From the brief we had to form a collective with a range of skills, decide how the business works and is set up and work ethically to investigate the health and wellbeing properties of materials, their affects on lights and sound, how they look and feel and how these affect our emotions and promote creativity and health. From this we had to develop plans for a biophilic working or leisure environment.


Why? Other than to generate ideas for a company that we’ll never be paid for I see very little benefit to this project. If anyone has made it to an MA without some experience of working with others collaboratively or even better in a real job in the real world I’d be very surprised and that is what this felt like. A make-work activity with a nod towards giving students some semblance of work experience. It is meant to help us learn about group processes and collaborative working but I can honestly say there was nothing new here. In a collaborative group with a set project of interior design their is little motivation to do more than the minimum. A range of briefs to choose from may have alleviated this a little.


As in all groups some work harder than others and there are always outside influences pulling us away from the uninspiring work, so there were times when tensions arose within the group, but through a bit of simple communication these were sorted. We decided early on not to assign job roles and instead chose tasks and put our names to them which on the whole worked.


My next gripe, as I think I mentioned in a previous post, was with the very concept of biophilic design. At the time I called it a distinction without difference and weeks on this still strikes me as all that biophilic design is. A marketing gimmick to sell what all good interior designers and architects do anyway with a few extra plants thrown in for good measure. Beautiful, light, acoustically sound environments don’t need the biophilic tag, they are already doing it and anyone with a slight awareness of mans impact on the environment, the anthropocene, will try to work in an environmentally sympathetic way.


The one good part of this module, and the reason I chose it, was the sessions with the BBC. Their knowledge and advice was exceptional and something that I can take with me but unfortunately it does not make up for the failings of this module. In future, I’d like to see this module scrapped and just have the BBC as general guests. 


So in summary, it’s a pointless module but we’ve gotten on with it anyway and done the work. Sometimes that’s all you can do. 

It’s the Final Pitch!

The day arrived once again with a flurry of final prep the day before getting all the slides organised and running through the presentation. This time was slightly easier as all the prep work had been done and the team were all here. We’d got the order down and even convinced Jade to talk a bit (which she did well). There is a part of me that relishes talking to groups so I was eager to go and enjoying pre-talk adrenaline nerves. 


This time we got to do the presentation in the Researcher Hub which is laid out like a large courtroom (M’lord) and the acoustics are great. I couldn’t help glancing round and thinking “I know what those dangling things are on the ceiling and the shapes on the walls are for”. Who knew research learns you stuff?!


The presentation went well and the feedback was fairly favourable although we did go over the allotted 15 minutes, but just slightly, and for once it wasn’t me that was talking too much. I’m even slightly looking forward to the grade for this part.


For Friday we have to submit this is a pdf and I seem to have volunteered to make sure all the referencing is correct. Will I ever learn not to volunteer?

A place to call my own

In a world of hot-desking one of the major complaints from users of the DOYYEC was a lack of anywhere to store things. Fine if your work involves sitting in front of a screen but not so good if you have a lot of equipment or samples.


So with that in mind I started looking for storage solutions that would fit with our designs for the DOYYEC. In this case I wanted the storage to be adaptable, acoustically absorbing, well designed and moveable. 


The best supplier seems to be a Scandinavian company called Glimakra based in Stockholm. They have released a line of office storage units which are covered in sound absorbing materials and they are in a variety of sizes and shaped and can be moved and used together. This is an almost perfect match to our requirements. Here are some of the examples I found:

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 19.59.35 Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 19.59.23 Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 19.58.59 Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 19.58.39 (1)


The only thing I’d add would be a touch of colour.


The last thing I considered including would be a couple of architect plans chests for storing photographs and artworks.


  1. Dezeen,. (2017). Soft storage. Retrieved from https://www.dezeen.com/2015/02/10/johan-kauppi-bertil-harstrom-sound-absorbing-office-furniture-sabine-glimakra-stockholm-2015/

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.

Sounds about right

One of the areas I chose to look into for the DOYYEC was sound as that was always one of the things that got to me with the space. It felt so quiet at times that it was oppressive and at other times when it was full it could be overbearingly loud. Humans feel comfortable with an ambient noise level of around 50 decibels and so this needs to be factored into a new design. Less than that and people can feel uncomfortable and isolated or inhibited in breaking the silence. More than that and it’s hard to focus or follow a conversation.


To control this then we need to control the acoustics of the space with the use of speakers for when the room is fairly empty and sound absorbing materials and baffles for when it’s full. That brings us to part of acoustics which can be overlooked: reverberation. The DOYYEC has many large smooth surfaces and this can make the sound bounce around a lot which can be distracting to people holding conversations. This can be combated using materials to break how the sound would normally bounce.



This is a nice example of how large surfaces can be covered to control sound and bring in some vibrant colour.


As I mentioned above speakers can be used to stop the area getting quiet but any that are used need to be controllable locally and I have been looking at the use of sound bars and domes such as you see in restaurants and museums. 


Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 18.45.13

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 18.46.32 (1)


Above are two examples of directional speakers supplied by Brown Innovations and the use of these could transform the way a space sounds. The only big surface I not covered, if you’ll excuse the pun, is the ceiling. In the DOYYEC this is one massive, smooth surface so something to look at would be the use of baffles on the ceiling, and these can be quite decorative:



Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 18.59.52 (2)

Like this one from Resonics



  1. Brown Innovations,. (2017). Domes and soundbars in location. Retrieved from http://www.browninnovations.com/
  2. Resonics,. (2017). Room with ceiling baffles. Retrieved from http://resonics.co.uk/acoustic-products-projects/texaa-abso/

Sounds about light

For a photographer you’d probably expect me to have a lot to say about light, but I really don’t. All I’d want for the DOYYEC would be control of the lighting in zones, daylight balanced bulbs and blinds to control the amount of light coming in from the windows. 


In our interview with Phil he did raise concerns over the harshness of the light in the pod so we would look at diffusers but the main requirement for the space is plenty of light with control over where from and how much.


The idea of broad-spectrum lighting was raised but looking at the evidence for this and the potential for long term damage to coverings and art works it was decided to avoid this. (1)



  1. How valid are the claims regarding full-spectrum light sources? | Full-Spectrum Light Sources | Lighting Answers | NLPIP. (2017). Lrc.rpi.edu. Retrieved 4 April 2017, from http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/nlpip/lightinganswers/fullspectrum/claims.asp

Feedback the 2nd with Jo

Once again it was good to catch up with the team and do a bit of planning before meeting with Jo. Everything seems to be coming together well for the presentation and real progress is being made with getting feedback from the DOYYEC users. Some of the team have been in the DOYYEC talking to the people there, an online questionnaire has been created and is being acted upon and I have been on facebook in the current years EPY (Entrepreneur Placement Year) group talking to them their. With it all coming together like this the final pitch should go well.