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Client Focus: TJ's experience with Built By Us

Photograph of TJ Ahluwalia
  • Written byArts Temps
  • Published date 12 November 2021
Photograph of TJ Ahluwalia
Photograph of TJ Ahluwalia

One of Arts Temps’ first external clients was Built By Us, an award-winning built environment team committed to providing mentor support to young practitioners from various backgrounds represented unfairly in the industry.

Tejasv (TJ) Ahluwalia  worked with Built By Us Founder Danna Walker over the summer as a Graphic Designer, providing designs for their social media templates and written reports. We caught up with TJ to find out more about his experiences and how the flexibility provided by Built By Us and Arts Temps helped to develop his international career.

You can also see our guidance for working with Arts Temps as an EU, EEA, Swiss or International student.

Hi TJ, thank you for catching up with us. Could you start by telling us a little about what attracted you to the role?

Actually, on paper this role was almost built for me! I used to work for an architecture firm in India. My experiences in that role involved collaborating with the Media team, so I was able to bring that expertise to this position -- I had an idea of what was needed from both the client and creative perspectives. I also understood the purpose of Built By Us and the importance of their work which focused on diversity concerns within the built environment industry.

My shared background in both areas attracted me to the role as it provided a space for me to apply my specialist expertise.

The role itself was primarily graphic design, which is something I do in addition to architecture. I am a visual learner and enjoy thinking about the visual representation of ideas.

That’s so great to hear, it sounds like it was the perfect fit! Did this role tie into your current studies in MA Design for Social Innovation and Sustainable Futures?

I had a few assignments due over the summer so this position helped me to build structure and routine so that I could focus on both simultaneously. By doing more graphic design it also allowed me to think more visually about my university assignments. This role created my own visual headspace that helped me to articulate my ideas clearer.

How easy did you find planning your time around the job and the assignments?

I’m an international student so can only work a limited number of hours each week, this meant the job provided structure where I could fit my studies in between. The project was also focused on end-deliverables rather than milestones, so it allowed for more flexibility. Danna was supportive, and my contract was extended twice so that I could fit all of the work around my studies and restricted working hours.

How did you find the process of applying, interviewing and completing the work with support from Arts Temps and Built By Us?

All the support I received throughout was exceptional. I found the application and interview process straightforward and efficient. Within two weeks of the application, I was notified that my application had been successful. The application wasn’t too difficult; I just had to write a cover letter and send them my CV and portfolio which is so much easier than other places. Angelo from Arts Temps was easy to keep in contact with and I knew what to do and who to contact if I had any issues.

And finally, what will you take from this experience?

Starting from scratch in a new country is difficult, but this role helped provide me with contacts and an experience of working in the UK. The crossover between graphic design and architecture was insightful and it has given me some invaluable experience.

That’s such a great point to highlight, thank you again for your time and for sharing your experiences.

You can check out more of TJ’s work on his Instagram and read more about the fantastic work Built By Us are doing on their website and Instagram.

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