We recently caught up with Afeni Payne Bonnick, a final year student studying Contemporary Media Cultures at LCC, to talk about her inspiring journey over the past year with Creative Shift. Afeni has truly immersed herself into projects and opportunities beyond her course and has certainly made the most of them. As she enters a nail-biting final year before launching into industry, Afeni is calm and collected but above all focussed. From pitching to industry to tackling big briefs, and through the support of a motivating mentor, here’s what Afeni has to say:
How did you find out about Creative Shift Projects?
At the start of this year, I went through all of my emails and created a plan because I knew I had to make the most of it. Before, I would never look through my UAL emails but in January I went through them and that’s when I saw an update on Connect To*. It hit me! The way it was worded “industry professionals” and “boost your career” intrigued me. I started to see opportunities and thought I would apply to see what happens. So that’s how I found out about it, by registering and looking at my emails – using what was right in front of me! (*Connect To is a creative network run by UAL students with support from Creative Shift.)
What are some of the Creative Shift projects you’ve been involved with?
I was involved in quite a few projects with Creative Shift:
Tate Project: We helped organise an event to inspire young people within the creative industry. Following the project I got contacted later in the year to be a Tate Collective Producer, which I’m currently doing now. We have monthly meetings and we’re currently working on an exhibition that’s happening at the Tate Modern in December. This is a paid job alongside studying.
Creative Shift Professional mentoring (This programme is run by Careers and Employability): This came through Jai, Creative Shift Manager, who has been amazing. I really adore the team, honestly, they’ve just been so helpful. I received an email and then went to the introduction where they told us what to expect from being a mentee and having a mentor. I went through a process and they connected me with my current mentor, Sandra, who they felt would be appropriate for me. She’s amazing! She’s a fashion buyer, she’s been a stylist and she’s done so much during her career.
Mentoring definitely came at the right time in the run up to my third year. Having that structure supported my thinking about the year ahead, graduation and my career afterwards. Creative Shift made a really good connection and I’m grateful for that. I got to be part of the promotional film too.
Can you tell us about any extra-curricular projects you’ve been part of?
Creative Shift shared an opportunity called Module: Shanghai at Tech University. I applied, got it and went to Shanghai for two weeks. That was a crazy experience and I learnt a lot about the culture and purpose of our project. The brief was to build a brand and product, which led us to develop an authentic food app. There were 10 UAL students and 20 Shanghai masters and undergrad students from illustration to photography which was a great mix. Collaborating with students from different disciplines is important because you’re constantly teaching and showing each other different approaches and your practice will always need support from another discipline. It was the key to the whole project because we collaborated our UAL skills with the Shanghai Tech students’ science skills, which was an interesting dynamic. We had a final show at the end where we displayed our work to the students at the University.
What are your top take aways from the projects you have been part of?
Collaboration is necessary in order to succeed and to appreciate the people around me; recognising the different skills that could help benefit me and how I can benefit them. Sometimes you can’t do it all on your own and if you have big ideas you need big groups of people.
Stay consistent with projects and see them through to the end. I used to have ideas that would sit inside my head and I wouldn’t act upon them. Since being involved with these projects it’s definitely taught me to make them real and not to stop half way because the end results are worth it.
3) Time management
It’s definitely taught me to manage my time well and balance other projects alongside my course. Projects which have shone another light on my university experience.