Reflection on our first class (26/07/2013)




~20, Melbourne, Australia
*RMIT Industrial Design, Change Design as advocacy, activism, agency


The day started off by testing my patients as struggled to find a park in the bustling streets of inner city Melbourne at 9am on a Friday morning. That was my first mistake of the day, choosing to drive to uni. As I overcame my first obstacle I walked along Swanston Street to class. I reached building 12, so consequently building 13 should be the next one along, right? Wrong. My heart sank as I discovered that the building I was looking for, b13, was not sitting nicely between building 12 and 14, which I assumed it would be. That was my second mistake of the day, making an assumption. So panic stations kicked in as I frantically bashed at the screen of my iPhone, searching for the location of my classroom. Up to Victoria Street I marched with a look of distress on my face and a sprinkle of sweat on my brow. I’d reached the building, what I relief. “She’ll be right from here on in” I thought to myself, but how wrong I was again! Up and down lifts, in and out of empty rooms, up and down stairs. Who would have thought that to get to level 4 room 1 you don’t just hop in the lift and press the blue ‘4’ button. Instead you press the blue ‘3’ button, hop out of the lift, go around the corner, up a flight of fancy stairs, and arrive at your first class 15 minutes late. How stressful. That will teach me to know where I’m going before I leave home. “Sorry I’m late” I said to Soumitri, whose reply was “Are you really?” wow that was not the first impression I was hoping for. Change Design as advocacy/activism/agency was the elective that I balloted for second. I’ve previously had Liam as a tutor and I feel that he brings a lot out of me. I also chose this subject because I didn’t have a lot of knowledge on the topic of change and I felt like I didn’t really know very much about the world. Well I was right about that one… Class progressed and Soumitri challenged us by asking questions about topics that none of us knew very much about, like the Arab Spring, the London Riots and the Island of Nauru. He said that we were shit middle-class people that don’t care about the rest of the world, and that we design things to take money off the rich people of our society. I guess my worries of this morning were pretty worthless in the grand scheme of things. He asked us how we felt about class thus far. We used words such as “worried, curious and shy”, and he was unimpressed by our ability to articulate our emotions. Class discussion began and not many people were contributing all that greatly to the debate, including myself. I think this is partly because we were shocked at Soumitri’s sense of irritation but also because quite honestly I didn’t know very much about the topics of discussion. I felt quite ignorant. On the back of my jumper was the word “coach”. Soumitri asked, “Are you a coach?” to which I replied “Yes”. He asked “What do you coach?” and I answered “Volleyball”, which followed by Soumitri replying “Bloody Hell”. What was that supposed to mean? I felt quite offended. I think that Soumitri was trying to push our buttons, make us feel irritated, maybe even angry. He wanted to spark something from within us that would create a reaction, to ignite a sense of drive for change. And he succeeded. The objective of this class is to make us free thinkers who can connect with our feelings and sense of irritation. Once we’d achieved this, once we had a sense of purpose and need for change, we learnt that people our age could make a difference. To become a change maker you have to become a bit stronger and a bit more confident. We have to put aside Australia’s tall poppy syndrome and not let people knock us down if we succeed. Let’s pretend I am a woolen knitted scarf. At the moment I’m looking a bit scruffy. I’ve got a few holes here and there and I’m not very good at being warm. My goal is to unpick and unravel myself. Pull on threads that need to be pulled and then reconstitute myself into a better scarf, to put myself back together. 

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