Bushra Kelsey-Burge

Bushra graduated from MA Applied Imagination in the Creative Industries in 2011 and also holds a degree in Biochemistry. She is Creative Director of Oumi, a fashion company, and lectures part-time at London College of Fashion.

What did you do before coming to CSM to study this course? 

I worked in ethical fashion for a number of years while I had completed a BA (Hons) in Fashion Design Realisation at London College of Fashion. When I started this MA, I was working at an ethical fashion consultancy as a supply chain manager, which involved working closely with mainstream fashion brands to identify how to make their fashion process more ethical, and advising how to communicate this to customers. 

Prior to this, I had followed a science and technology route and had a career in IT in the city, after graduating from Imperial College in Biochemistry. Growing up in a family of doctors and scientists, art and design were never seen as a career or degree option, and once I gained my BSc, like many of my peers in the late 1990s, I ended up in IT. That’s where all the jobs were especially in the city. I felt I couldn’t afford to do anything else but I became progressively bored. By the time I was in my late 20s I started to do short evening and weekend courses in art, design and fashion as a hobby. It really fired my interest and imagination and soon enough I had a portfolio to apply for a fashion degree. I had always wanted to go back to university because my first degree was not suited to me and I had not fulfilled my potential. With the support of my partner, I applied for a part-time fashion degree because I wanted to try and gain experience in small ethical fashion companies while studying.

In your experience, what was the best thing about the course? 

The best thing about the course for me was being part of a multidisciplinary and international cohort. I loved the team projects and discussion of ideas. I also found the loose structure very empowering in proliferating ideas and quickly iterating them in a tangible form. 

Did MA Applied Imagination in the Creative Industries change you and if so, how? 

The MA changed me massively. I think because of my eclectic background as well as the eclectic mix of disciplines on the MA, the course encouraged me to interrogate everything I had done before and what led me to this degree, before I settled into developing my interests. 

In fact, it reinforced my own methods of approaching creative and non-creative challenges, and allowed me to use all my diverse skills in a focused and coherent way. Prior to this I would dismiss the training I had as a scientist or technologist because I did not feel it would help with creative problem solving. Through the course I realised, however, that for me my creative thinking stems from this initial training. It increased my self-awareness about my own contributions as a creative thinker and problem solver.

Can you describe what your job is? 

I have been progressing my own business within wearable technology while lecturing at London College of Fashion. I have created a number of interactive costumes for music bands and presented my work at academic conferences. I started to exhibit and have had an installation at Phoenix Brighton and have also developed commercial accessories mixing craft and electronics.

What do you most enjoy about your job? 

I enjoy the creativity and intellectual challenge of combining a number of disciplines in this growing area of fashion. I enjoy having my own business where I can explore and innovate through hacking and rapid prototyping, particularly while still being involved with academia.

Does your experience of MA Applied Imagination in the Creative Industries help you in your work now? 

Definitely, the MA introduced me to new networks of people outside the university who I am still in contact with regards to my business. It facilitated exposure to cutting edge innovation, which informed my final MA submission and my current work within wearable technology. The MA allowed me to experiment with different research approaches to evolve ideas and has been instrumental in my intentions to go onto a PhD.