Graduate Design Scheme Professional Development session with Adrian De La Court

The Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE) and the Design department at Goldsmiths recently delivered the first Professional Development session for our Graduate Design Scheme. The Design graduates who are currently part of this program had the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge of Adrian De La Court, MA Lecturer in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at ICCE.

The purpose of this session, and future ones, is to prepare and advice our graduates in aspects related to entrepreneurship, freelancing, financial models and management in the Creative Economy.

Adrian De La Court is the Director of SYNAPSE, a programme delivered through ICCE and Goldsmiths to develop and encourage entrepreneurial and creative thinking and action in students, practitioners and industry specialists. Adrian is also a trained life coach, and still works as a freelance business consultant, arts consultant, development advisor, director and choreographer and visual artist.

Here is what some of the graduates who attended thought about the session:

Julie L. Parisi:

“The session was very challenging and it made me think of my practice in a very concise and business-oriented way. It forced me to articulate and reflect what my profile is, and where I want it to go. The workshop was very clear and direct and challenging in a good way. It was great that it was done in a small group and a very active workshop. Yes, this was a good start to make me understand and be confident in my own practice and as a practitioner.”

Amanda Millard:

“The session got me thinking about what effect I want my work to have in the world, in a new way. It did help me to articulate my professional goals and how my designs relate to that, as well as better incorporating my ethical aims into my business plans.

We discussed how the products/services we want to make into a business can have an impact in the world, who they will impact, how we can reach these people, and what we offer that is not already available. This is a useful framework to filter my ideas to make sure my designs are truly benefiting people, and to help me avoid getting too lost in my own personal tastes and wants.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, I thought the session might be more technical, but actually I think it took the right starting point to focus on refining the product/service itself before moving on to more technical aspects of starting a business, because that is the very thing everything else rests on. If you don’t get that right, then the rest is a waste.”

Erica Jewell:

“The session encouraged us to think deeply, not only about what our practices are, but why we do the things we do and what impacts we wish to have. As I often have difficulty expressing “what I do”, identifying the reason I do what I do helped me better define my practice. I learned that I am motivated by both learning and teaching in my work, and that the primary impact I wish to have is spreading knowledge and making difficult topics more accessible to outsiders.

It was very useful to be asked difficult questions and to be forced to more narrowly define my work and my interests. One of the reasons I work as a designer is because I enjoy moving between subjects and themes, learning about new topics for projects along the way. While the session allowed me to better understand this about myself, I also became aware of how this lack of specificity could be problematic in finding consistent work.

It was helpful to consider the marketability of our work as designers with many different practices. We were encouraged to think about methods for reaching potential clients, building a network of other practitioners and clients, and considering workflow in order to have continual, consistent work. It was also helpful to think about the risks involved in our specific approaches to design.”