Billy Dickinson - Plastics

What’s your background?

I did a Foundation in Product & Spatial design at Kiad in Rochester before going to the University of Hertfordshire to study Model representation. I was lucky enough to get some internships at film and architectural model making companies while studying. Because things were different back then and the industry was booming, I got offered a job quickly after graduation.

I started at a company called Unit twenty two, learning my craft, working with some amazing clients: Nick Grimshaw, Future systems, John McAslan, Thomas Heatherwick. I left after seven years and went to work for Millennium models, who had a very different business outlook. They were really interested in making beautiful things to a very high standard and their clients reflected that. 

With the financial crash, the company struggled, and I was offered work at Foster and Partners, an efficient design machine, and an incredible place to work.

I worked there until CSM came calling... As a model maker I was in a good position to contribute my skills in the workshops.

How did you come to work at CSM? 

Having worked in architecture for over 10 years, I was looking for change. I was well paid, I was working with the some of the world’s best architects on some really cool projects but there was something missing. I wasn't enjoying it as I used to, and that’s when a friend showed me the advert for a job as a technician in the wood workshop at CSM. I was looking for something more rewarding: it wasn't about money but what I could contribute. I started in May 2010.

What do you love most about your job?

Having the opportunity to support students. The standards are high, the expectations are huge, the challenges are difficult, but the reward from assisting these inspiring individuals is more than the sum of its parts.

What's your favourite thing about Central Saint Martins?

There are a few:

Being able to share my experiences, skills and knowledge with individuals who it will truly make a difference to. Not just line some shareholders’ pocket. I also like the start of term. During the break the College is missing something: it's soul and pulse. Most staff won't admit it but I know they are all excited by the start of term.

Textile Futures is a brilliant course, well lead by Caroline Till, Kieran Jones and Nelly. As a course and a collective they are making everyone who comes in contact with them think differently about materialisation, form, technology and design. They are so cool. I'm glad I can contribute.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration? 

The students. It's inspiring to be constantly surrounded by new ideas and be challenged to support them in finding different ways to realise their visions. 

Who's your favorite artist/photographer/fashion designer/director?

No favourites, just influences. With the abundance of resources and media today, we see so much good and bad design being beamed out there.

What advice would you give to new students?

Time management and organisation are very important to being successful. Having a great design, concept or project can be worthless if not managed and delivered on time and on budget. Manage your time sensibly. It might take time to decide on your concept but you need to leave time to realise it too. Don't under-estimate how long this can take.