Last year in Venice, I began my research for the writing of the paper. I thought that was relatively early, because I know I have trouble concentrating or committing to one project. I also knew this third year was going to be hectic and full of work. I was not wrong.
The research part of it was really interesting. I found books easy to read and understand because Sustainability is a subject I am interested in, so they made sense. As well as books, I looked at many websites. What I found the most helpful for those times were I could not bring myself to write, was looking at videos. TED talks and documentaries in particular. Through watching these, I found many people that I have now cited on my paper because I thought their research was relevant. Even though they were exploring issues that were not necessarily directed to Designers and Makers, the issues of deforestation and depletion of sources and therefore climate change are. I felt that videos helped not to feel like I was not doing enough work.
I chose to write about Sustainability because my practical work is also on the same field, so I thought it would made sense and it could work as background research for what I hope to do in the future. My practical work concentrates on the recycling side of Sustainability, so it was good to look at other ways that could help improve the practical work. I recognise that it is a complicated field. Every little step of progress has to be carefully considered, and this can make it difficult at times.
So I started writing my dissertation. For this I made a plan of what exactly I wanted in it and what were the points and arguments I was trying to make. I got lost a few times (a lot actually). But I think I managed to get back on track and finish it accordingly. I had the help of my dad and my dissertation tutor (Mahnaz) to see things I was not necessarily thinking of. The writing side of it got a bit boring from time to time, on top of this, Sustainability is a subject that keeps coming up in different mediums, so I try to make my dissertation as interesting as possible, to keep the reader engaged.
I think when we get deep into a subject (even if it is of interest to us), we get to dislike it a little because we have to analysed in a critical way. But I tried to keep working on it as much as I could. When I was not writing then I was looking at things related to it, to keep me motivated. However, I realised just how good I can be at procrastinating (I learned the meaning of the word during the writing).
Mahnaz was a really good tutor. I think she tried to ensure and encourage us as much as possible, and was always available for support. I do regret not having more for my dissertation draft when it was handed in before Christmas. When I started, I was thinking that the way I should go was to read whole books and then reflect on them. I did read some whole books (Cradle to Cradle, McDonough and Braungart, and Design for the Real World, Papanek, V) but the closer it got to the hand-in date, I knew this was not going to be possible. However, I am glad that I read these whole because they have been very influential. The TED talk by Bjarke Ingels was really important too (I can now type his name without looking it up), and I have also bought his book “Yes is More” to have a look at it.
One of the things I found out during this time is how much I actually llike mornings. I have had a lot of early mornings (5 am wake up) because I feel that I work better that way. Coming into university by 7 am has been really good and it is something I plan to keep doing for this next ten weeks of full- on practical work. I find it productive to come in when there is no one around and plus to me it makes more sense to wake up early and go to bed at a reasonable time rather than the other way around.
Overall it has been a good experience writing such a long piece, I would not mind to write another one, but I would do some things differently (like actually set a schedule of work). I think the most problematic thing was the referencing. In fact, I was finishing it this morning because I kept putting off doing it. I hope I did not miss or do it wrong as it would be a shame to lose marks over it. I also hope that my way of writing makes sense. English is my second language, well in many ways it is now my first (verbally) and although I had had to write for previous Constellation years, never to such degree. If anything it might have been good to have written something a little longer in previous years, as practice.
I think I am satisfied with the paper, I hope it is not boring and that it all makes sense to the reader. However, I always think I could do things better. I think something I should have done better was in writing through the case studies. They are there and I say why I think they are good examples of a sustainable practice, but I think I should have gone more in depth.
It feels good to know that writing this PDP in the last thing I had in my to-do list for today. Now I can relax, for the rest of the afternoon. I look forward seeing the result, and I will try not to stress over it and keep concentrating and working in what I can now to improve my marks.