As part of the UAL x LDF showcase, we invited UAL’s alumni living and working in Europe to take part by sharing their work and experiences. We were interested in what jobs they are doing, how they network and build community, how the industries they work in are responding to climate change, diversity, and inclusion, and how they envisage your future prospects in a rapidly changing world.
Four Alumni from across UAL currently residing/practicing/working in Europe were invited to have their work presented as part of the showcase. They will take part in a panel discussion chaired by Dr Nicky Ryan on 22 September.
Central Saint Martins, Innovation Management
Born in Heidelberg, is an independent visual artist, design researcher and innovation strategist. Her work operates at the intersection between culture, design, and technology, in order to derive strategies from the needs and meanings underlying human behaviour. She does this by employing visual, analytical, and participatory tactics that engage the key audience.
Her visual work explores invisible power dynamics in contemporary society, as well as day-to-day gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment.
Isabella Carolina studied Comics and Illustrations at the Escóla Jóso in Barcelona, is a certified paramedic, and holds a Masters in Innovation Management at Central Saint Martins (UAL). She has a wide range of work experience (from strategic consultancy to start-ups and agencies), and has worked at prominent institutions such as NESTA and Accenture where she developed innovation concepts and strategies for the public and private sectors, most recently for the German government.
Motherhood: becoming more resilient in the face of crisis
Text: Isabella Carolina
A mother manages endless zoom meetings while juggling childcare and homeschooling, organising the groceries and cooking, and supporting, or in some cases caring for, elderly family members. Her partner concentrates on his work. Existing gender inequalities have nose-dived during the COVID-19 pandemic, widening the already yawning chasm between the sexes.
Far too often I’ve heard from female colleagues that are in relationships with men, and have school-age children, that they experienced stress and anxiety on a daily basis as they simply couldn’t cope with both childcare and work after the closure of professional childcare services. While, in theory, Germany's parental leave provides equal opportunity for men and women, it’s more likely that women will be the ones to reduce their working hours. And the statistics support this. During the spring of 2021, 24% of working mothers lowered their hours, compared to only 16% of their male counterparts.
The problem is, it’s not necessarily a family's choice but rather a structural problem. Add to that internalised stereotypes, roles, and expectations where women struggle to meet society’s vision of what a “good” mother and housewife looks like, and the environment for women can seem almost impossible. Gender roles have provided a toxic script for how we might behave in a crisis, which is why the old belief that women are better equipped to perform caring roles and household work has reared its ugly head. And it’s no doubt played a part in why men feel they can’t show anxiety and stress. Unsurprisingly, the result of this is that working women - without the aid of external support systems - are suffering from burnout and toxic masculinity has become even more pervasive and damaging - not least for men and their mental health.
But crisis can be an opportunity to evolve - to become resilient. Resilience is a concept to explain how we respond after facing a crisis. It describes a material's ability to recoil into shape after blending. The ability to be resilient is immensely powerful and transformative. The regression into old gender roles to cope with the pandemic may be instinctive, but it is a crutch. The silver lining is the opportunity to discover what we’ve learned over the pandemic, and how we can use it to our advantage to adapt and evolve.
Central Saint Martins, Industrial Design
Paris-based designer interested in making techniques, design research and social innovation. Chevallier studied Industrial Design at Ensaama (École des Arts Appliqués) in Paris and London’s Central Saint Martins (UAL). His design practice is orientated towards physical/technical solutions with a regard to sustainability and social issues. His critical approach to design, allows Tobie to question human behaviours in the context of global crises. He seeks opportunities for new social paradigms, and the possibility for change: ‘Whether you take any object from the point of view of production, circulation or use, it is the society that acts though it.’
Gabriele Gabija Raudonaityte
London College of Fashion, Graduate Diploma Fashion Design Technology
London-based designer, originally born in Lithuania. After studying and working as a junior designer in Denmark she moved to Manchester in 2014 to continue studying at MMU. After that, she developed a career as a Gerber pattern cutter where she has been working with luxurious fashion brands such as Mackintosh rainwear, Roksanda as well as fast fashion brands: ASOS, River Island, etc. She quit her pattern cutting career to develop design skills in 2019 and study at LCF. During 7 years of fashion industry experience, Gabriele was shocked and upset to see that majority of fashion companies have massive overstocking, throwing fabrics and clothing away. Gabriele introduces sustainably made garments, digital fashion as well as educating consumers about fashion, climate change and how can we all make a change in her practice.
London College of Communication, Photojournalism and Documentary Photography
Visual artist based between Barcelona and Brussels. She holds an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the London College of Communication, London. Moreover, she has a BA in Sociology from the University of Strasbourg, and an MA in European Studies from the Sciences Po Strasbourg.
Being both Spanish and Belgian, she identifies herself as a multilingual speaker who embraces languages and cultures from Cadiz to Vladivostok.
She is a winner of various grants and artist-in-residence programmes in Europe. This year she is working on a photographic project, Jardín de naturalización (The Garden of Naturalisation), supported through the Mead Fellowship award, by the University of the Arts London.
The following UAL alumni were selected to be part of the online showcase.
London College of Fashion, Costume Design for Performance
Gabriela Lotaif trained in Fashion Design in Brazil before embarking on the MA Costume Design for Performance at London College of Fashion, UAL, after which she moved to Barcelona to deepen her practice in technology and ‘biodesign’. Gabriela’s work focuses on developing textile through the embodiment of peculiar elements to tell a story. She has worked in opera, film, theatre and dance productions in Brazil, London, and Barcelona.
As a bodily garment artist, Gabriela follows the values of embodiment, sustainability and communication of emotion. She weaves them in an ever-evolving fabric of her own construction, harmonising body training, texture, technology, biology, and storytelling.
London College of Communication, Interaction Design Arts
Luisa Charles is an interaction designer, experiential and installation artist, and an experimental filmmaker. Having a strong belief in the emancipatory potential of design to make the world a fairer and more sustainable place, she considers it a moral obligation of designers to harness said potential.
Luisa’s work exists at the intersections of Art, Science, Design, and Engineering, and has been exhibited in the UK’s Science Museum, Science Gallery London, London Design Festival, and the National Science Museum of Thailand, amongst others.
A self contained, aquatic biosphere with an arduino powered structure that allows users to manipulate its temperature and light conditions through embodied interactions.
Tamagukiyo is an experiment looking at food security in areas with poor air quality and lack of access
to soil and nutrients - it is an extension to the work undergone by NASA with their biosphere II project, investigating how food supplies might be sustained outside of suitable conditions. By growing plants and animals in a closed ecosystem, we can avoid the problems caused by fluctuations in climate and extreme weather evens on traditional agricultural land. The self-contained system has the added benefit of not requiring cultivation, as it keeps itself alive with no more involvement than some small adjustments to temperature and light.
Tamagukiyo creates a system that allows humans to manipulate the light and temperature conditions of the self-contained ecosystem, controlling the growth inside it. It is small enough to exist within a family home, providing people with methods of growing and maintaining their own food supplies without agricultural knowledge.
Through embodied interactions, users are able to respond to the needs of the aquatic, self-contained biosphere - communicated through changes in colour, an OLED display, and a detailed report accessible through a thermal printer. This project, through a playful metaphor, gives users the chance to ‘play god’ and decide the fate of the self-sustaining ecosystem.
Central Saint Martins, Textiles
Lidia Muro is a multifaceted Spanish designer. She studiedat LISAA, Paris, and worked as a textile and accessories designer for Givenchy, Céline, Kenzo, Paco Rabanne. In Londonshe worked forStella mc Cartney and studiedthe MA 'Textiles Futures' at Central Saint Martins. She then worked as a textile designer at Clerici Tessuto in Como, Italy. She returned to her country where she became head of the Textile and Accessories departments at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Madrid. In parallel, she worked as a creative director for several leather goods brands and in 2019 she ended up creating her own. She collaborates with artisansfrom different parts of Europe.
Marta De Prisco
London College of Communication, Design Management and Cultures
Marta De Prisco graduated in Design Management and Cultures at the University of the Arts London in 2018. Since then, she has worked as a design strategist across various and different industries such as architecture and interiors, urban planning, film, fashion and digital media. Her expertise in visualisation and moving image creation uniquely merges with her in-depth problem-solving and research skills, which enable her to analyse and creatively visualise complex and extensive data. She’s currently pursuing a Master of Science in Sustainable Development, where she’s learning to translate socio-ecological theories and technological innovation into effective sustainable policies and practices.
London College of Communication
Maria Christoforou is an artist and an academic at the University of Nicosia since 2004. She is a doctoral candidate at the Nottingham Trent University. She holds an MA in Interactive Multimedia, a BA in Graphic Communication, an Associate Degree in Science, and a Diploma in Secretarial Studies. She studied at the University of the Arts London, the University of Nicosia, the University of Indianapolis and Pitman’s College. She has been awarded a Life Coach title by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Her research investigates new methodologies in production of artwork that combine real and virtual space and participatory practices.
London College of Fashion, Fashion Photography
In the last 7 years whilst the world was going through a number of social, ecological, political and social changes and shifts Lina became a mother of three children. In between pregnancies Lina Sych was running her own business called FASHIONCONCIERGE.CO.uk and also starting work on a variety of new projects that are oriented on smart living.
At present Lina Sych is tending to 3 projects in the fashion, travel and service industry. At the heart of each is the notion of sustainability, the surrounding of ones person be it with clothing, the places we go for inspiration or the way our homes and work spaces are organized in a way that is good for the planet and the soul.
London College of Communication, Photography
As an artist working with photography and video I have participated in exhibitions and screenings in France, Spain, Holland, Portugal and Greece. Collaborating with individuals and arts organisations in Europe has been an important and rewarding part of my practice and I am excited to be part of a group exhibition at Photo Open Up in Italy this September.
An ongoing series that reflects on England as a divided country post-Brexit. The series fuses landscape photography, abstraction and graphic design. In some, coastal landscapes are merged with geographies accessed from NASA, representing a land that has become alienated and which causes harm. The work highlights the difficulties, barriers and hostilities emerging from our self-inflicted isolation and separation from Europe.
London College of Communication
Since graduating from the London College of Printing (now London College of Communication) with an HND in Typographic Design in 2001, Mandy Willet has worked both in London and Manchester, with particular expertise in the areas of sustainability, public sector and social housing. Her specialist areas are brand and campaign development, editorial design and animation.
Currently producing work that matters at Creative Concern in Manchester, she has recently worked on sustainable travel campaigns for Energy Saving Trust, brand development for the Manchester Climate Change Agency and major global reports addressing the climate emergency for the Coalition of Urban Transitions.