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LINK: https://davidmedaportfolio.wordpress.com/

 

 

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Hidden Anxiety, Hidden Place

Anxiety disorders are a common mental health condition effecting suffers and their families. People experiencing Anxiety describe feelings of pressure, fear, apprehension, hopelessness …. a lack of control. The sufferer, crippled by these thoughts, looks for ways to process the feelings and regain control. Naturally each individual experiences different effects of this illness and practice different coping strategies, this is the story of an adolescent who uses a ‘Hidden Place’ as a way of calming his thoughts and feelings- his anxiety, and a view through the eyes of the parent of this long suffering individual.

The opportunity to interview a mother and son about living with anxiety from the perspective of both the parent and the adolescent sufferer provided an insight into how crippling this illness is and the difficulty of managing the illness at a young age. The interview revealed techniques and coping strategies each of these interviewees used to manage the illness, one of which is a ‘Hidden Place’. The parent expressed concerns about the adolescent isolating himself in a ‘Hidden Place’ and in contrast the adolescent expressed the comfort and sense of ease he felt with having a ‘Hidden Place’, his secret spot to retrieve to and find peace and a sense of control during times where his anxiety levels were at their worst.

The interviewees revealed they have been managing this illness without professional intervention for many years. The parent encouraged the adolescent to remind himself he was young and that things would improve as he matured and obtained skills to manage and process his feelings. The adolescent spoke about controlling the ruminating thoughts by escaping to a ‘Hidden Place’ a place he describes as a “spot where he could be alone and calm himself, process his thoughts and put the thoughts into perspective.” It was interesting but not surprising that while the adolescent found solace at his ‘Hidden Place’ the parent was apprehensive about the adolescent isolating himself. The adolescent and parent in this story deal with the mental illness privately, whilst to the outside world, everything seems normal.

Although retrieving to an isolated place helped this adolescent to deal with his condition, I don’t believe it would help individuals overcome this illness in the long term. Reaching out for support from organisations such as ‘Headspace’ can provide information for young people and their parents, on how to cope with this condition, as well as strategies to minimise anxiety throughout day-to day life. As a result, this slideshow/ video piece is a broader context of the hidden aspect of mental illness. Among the images and videos of the interviewee, audio and portrait of the ‘Hidden Place’ are included to emphasise the significance of this silent illness and its’ effects.

Links:

Storify and Tweets: https://storify.com/davidgski/hiddenanxiety-hidden-place

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Nigerian Actors are Exulted as the Potential for ‘Nollywood’ Grows

‘Hollywood’ is often referred to as the capital of the entertainment industry, as hopeful individuals are seen flocking there everyday to make there dreams a reality. However despite being one of the biggest industries, with various cultures existing in the world, Hollywood may no longer reign as supreme in the entertainment industry, as the Nollywood industry is increasing becoming more popular. ‘Nollywood’ refers to the film industry of Nigeria, and is seen to be the 3rd largest film industry in the world, producing 1687 movies as of 2007, trailing the very popular Indian film industry of Bollywood.

Nollywood-600x450Commencing in the 1990s ‘Nollywood’ was derived from Yoruba travelling theatre tradition. Unlike its North American counterpart, Nollywood movies are made directly to video rather than having a screening in theatres. These films are shot on tight budgets, with productions pricing varying anywhere from $10 000 to $50 000, which is a huge contrast to western produced higher budget films. Most of the content of these films relies heavily on the viewer, as most of these films and their themes are shown to cater toward Nigerian citizens

As technology is constantly evolving, the demand for quality equipment becomes very high, especially for the production of films/ television. Nowadays watching a film can be quite distracting if the quality is subpar, as the push for technology, has created viewers to expect high standards. Through ‘Nollywood’ producing films with low budgets, these Nigerian directors only purchase technology when it becomes affordable. However it is worth considering that this film industry has excellent grounds to increase the production quality of its films due to remaining on a low budget, possibly becoming the biggest film industry in the world.

 This popular ‘Nollywood’ film industry has numerously been labeled as a product of globalisation, however, Onookome Okome states “While there is no doubt that Nollywood exhibits the hybrid character that is obvious in many forms of African popular arts, it is its acute notation of locality that gives it an unprecedented acceptability as the local cinematic expression in Nigeria and indeed in Africa…Yet, the form and content of Nollywood narratives reminds the casual observer of the obvious ties it has to the complicated trade in global media images even when the point has been made of its unique place in world media culture”. To sum Okome’s quote whilst there is definitely an element of global media influence, Nigerian film directors are shown intentionally incorporating popular African arts and revolving their themes around Nigerian and African focused culture.

The introduction to Netflix’s on western culture has changed the way we view our media, even having influence on the ‘Nollywood’ industry as they begin to take advantage of the Internet and social media as a means of distributing their films. Labelled the ‘Netflix’s of Africa’ iRokoTV, is a streaming service that is home most ‘Nollywood’ films. Alfred Joyner’s article ‘Exploring the future of Nollywood’, this streaming service will more people around the world to have access to ‘Nollywood’ films as they are no longer exclusively available in a hard copy.

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Countries all want quality film industries that compete with Hollywood’s extremely successful industry. Our world is increasingly globalised through every aspect, and our cultures are always mixing and linking in some way.

So on a final note,

Do you believe that ‘Nollywood’ or even ‘Bollywood’ has the potential to over take the success of western industries?

Feel free to leave a comment down below.

Thanks,

– davidsdistrict

References:

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I-G-G- WHY?

Understanding what ‘Cultural Appropriation’ is throughout today’s society is as easy as turning on your television or watching your favourite music video, it occurs around us constantly. ‘Cultural Appropriation’ looks at individuals adopting aspects of a culture that’s not their own. On a deeper understanding it refers to a “particular power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group” (Maisha Z. Johnson). To many, the term implies the theft of culture, without respect to its history and an ignorance of underlying cultural meaning.

Through analysing today’s media, there are many well- known individuals whose actions have lead to negative connotations regarding the adoption of a culture rather than their own. An example of this is the Australian born female ‘Hip-Hop’ artist Iggy Azalea. In a genre dominated almost exclusively by African American men, Azalea stands out, but unfortunately it’s not for the right reasons. The hometown ‘rapper’ has recently sparked a great deal of controversy as her ‘Cultural Appropriation’, hints to underlining tones of racism.

iggy-showOne example of Azalea’s ‘Cultural Appropriation’ events first occurred on the song entitled ‘D.R.U.G.S’ as the artist refers to herself as a “runaway slave… master”. This incident caused massive amounts of controversy, especially in the African- American community, leading many to speak out on the issue, including Iggy’s peer, African- American ‘Hip-Hop’ artist Azealia Banks. Banks took to various media outlets to talk about the history of American capitalism beginning with slave labor as well the discussion about reparations. Banks goes on to state “at the very least y’all owe me the right to my f***ing identity and to not exploit that s***. That’s all we’re holding on to with ‘Hip-Hop” and ‘Rap’”. Being classified as any type of artist provides many individuals an outlet for self-expression and vehicle for identification, however using expressions whilst having a lack of cultural appreciation becomes dispensable, and is an insult stemming from a long history and trend of racial and ethnic discrimination and prejudice. When violence systematically targets a group of people through genocide, slavery, or colonisation, the resulting trauma lasts through generations. It’s insulting to say the least.

Iggy Azalea 'Blackcent' memeThe Daily Dot’s Derrick Clifton writes: “‘Fancy’ new starlet is now dominating the entire genre, especially since she’s now the female rapper with the longest reign on the ‘Billboard Top 100’ But it seems as though every time conversations crop up about Iggy Azalea, the vocal critics get panned—mainly by white people—as a horde of racists for ‘attacking’ their participation in black art forms, no matter how intrinsically rooted they are to black experiences… Our sayings, dialects, and even vocal dynamics may bear common roots, but are heavily influenced by life experiences, education and regional differences. Iggy azaleas ‘natural speaking voice’ is actually the sugary-sweet, rural Australian accent she grew’ up with—not the grungy, Southern ‘’blackcent’ she adopts for the sake of rapping”

As Clifton suggests here, there are ways to imitate black artists that don’t explicitly demean them or the black community, and that actually honor the legacy of black music. In fact, he singles out Adele, Duffy, and Sam Smith as prime examples. However the problem with Azalea here is with her accent, her clothes, and her general image, as he agues that she’s basically a step away from black face. That’s not to say Azalea doesn’t truly love the kind of music she’s taking from. The ‘rapper’ personally shares her admiration for legendary rap artists such as Tupac, even citing him as the reason why she felt so inspired to enter the industry in the first place. Nevertheless loving hip-hop, or any kind of music relating to a culture for that matter, doesn’t really make it okay for you to “act black,” as it becomes a strike against her authenticity and tips her over the line from appreciation into appropriation.

So what do you think?

Do you believe Azalea is inappropriate when it comes to ‘Cultural Appropriation’?

If so, what other individuals have you seen been doing the same?

Please feel free to leave a comment.

Thanks,

– davidsdistrict.

References:

  • Chang, Jeff. ‘Azealia Banks, Iggy Azalea And Hip-Hop’s Appropriation Problem’. the Guardian. N.p., 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.
  • Clifton, Derrick. ’17 Things White People Need To Know About #Yesallblackpeople’. The Daily Dot. N.p., 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.
  • Johnson, Maisha. ‘What’S Wrong With Cultural Appropriation? These 9 Answers Reveal Its Harm’. Everyday Feminism. N.p., 2015. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.
  • Morrison, Aaron. ‘Rachel Dolezal, Iggy Azalea And Cultural Appropriation: When Admiration Of Black Culture Becomes Offensive’. International Business Times. N.p., 2015. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.
  • Osterndorf, Chris. ‘Iggy Azalea And A Culture Of Appropriation’. Media Diversified. N.p., 2013. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.
  • Iggy Azalea Photo: prettystatus.com
  • Iggy Azalea Photo meme: davidsdistrict
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No Need For A Plane Ticket, Experiencing Diverse Culture Is Just A Click Away

The world of the 21st century is immensely different in that which our parents or even grandparents have been being raised in. Increases in technological advances and developments over these last decades have created a virtual sense of connection between different global boarders, which occurs through ‘Globalisation’. “Globalisation offers a sense of interconnectedness by facilitating interpersonal communication and the formation of communities and relationships across geographic, racial, religious and cultural barriers” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler P45)

This can be more accurately understood in reference to ‘Americanisation’. American is often referred to as having one of the largest impacts on the world, therefore ‘Americanisation’ is a commonly used analogy to describe the idea of globalisation as it looks at the influence of American culture on countries, determining its effects on food, technology, media, business practices, and political techniques.

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Analysing Australia’s media, with popular shows such as F.R.I.E.N.D.S, The Simpsons and Orange is the New Black; it is evident that American culture frequently played out on Aussie screens. With many countries including Australia adopting and reconstructing adaptions of American shows such as ‘Big Brother’ this idea of ‘Americanisation’ and its effects on culture is further reinforced.

This phenomenon of ‘Globalisation’ is characterised by a sense of interdependence, where national borders become blurred in the face of instantaneous connections and the virtual sharing of information. No matter the physical difference, with just a click of a mouse, we are able to make quick connections on a global scale, exposing many new experiences, as different countries can shape and adapt different diverse culture.

Although American is seen to be very influential, our world today is defiantly becoming more multi -cultural, as our society adapts to different cultural influences including the music we listen to, how we dress and the food we consume. Going out for dinner has never been more difficult in todays society, from Thai to Mexican to Italian, the endless amount of cultural options has opened up the world to different experiences without even having to leave a 5km radius, a great positive that ‘Globalisation’ offers to many individuals.

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The ease of exchanging information is also becoming the most evident in today’s media. Through analysing today’s media, well-known celebrities and pop stars are embracing many aspects of different cultures other than their own. Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry and Selena Gomez are three examples in particular, as they find inspiration from Indian, Native American and Asian culture (represented in the images above). Through integrating several traditions into their music and fashion, they allow individual’s to positively embrace and understand different cultures without having to even visit the country, which is pretty amazing.

So on a final note- Do you believe ‘Globalisation’ is helping to make a positive change in the integration of diverse cultures in our society, or is there no need for Globalisation?

Please feel free to leave a comment down below.

Have a great day and Thanks for visiting.

– davidsdistrict

References List:

  1. O’Shaughnessy, M and Stadler, J (2008) ‘Globalisation’, Media and Society (fifth edition) Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 458-471.

Marketing Corporates Play With Dolls

FeaturedMarketing Corporates Play With Dolls

The exploitation of children by the media is a growing concern within todays over sexualized culture, posing a threat to our younger generations innocence. Shifts have occurred within today’s society compared to past years due to the introduction of evolving technology, affecting most young individuals daily. Although this technology has brought positive benefits in the development of various areas such as education, communication, social and creative skills, the media and it’s effects on younger children can be treacherous. The danger is augmented due to the difficulty of monitoring the child’s exposure to technology and media.

In the last decade, the evolution the media has expanded and grown tremendously as the demand to stay current increases. Social media connects individuals within seconds, making it the most popular media platform. The overuse of personal information on these platforms is threatening younger individuals as the growing amount of social predators befriending children places them in serious harm. As the demand of technology within today’s society increases, the more difficult it is to protect children from the dangers of these platforms, due to its accessibility. Within todays culture it is becoming more common for younger people to share EVERYTHING online, due to a lack of knowledge and education about social media, privacy and on what type of people are viewing their page or site. This can lead to dire situations where youth become an easy target for abuse by predators. Support services such as nobullying.com offer parents help, with by advising them how to protect and educate about predators and potential harm, ways to stay safe online, thus protecting younger children from being taken advantage of within the expanding this media.

In today’s society the term of ‘Corporate Pedophilia’ is used to illustrate the branding and marketing of younger children in unethical ways. Due to the increasing number of media platforms that attempt to sell/present these younger individuals in sexualized ways, the fear of this becoming a norm within today’s culture is prevalent. Australian commentator Philip Adams refers to Corporate Pedophilia as “molestation on a massive scale”, as these media campaigns and the premature exposure to sexual images heighten pressures in younger individuals to strive to look a certain way. The promotion of young models portraying sexual images throughout the media, leads them to believe these actions should be duplicaFeatured imageted to gain attention in their reality.

The editorial spread entitled Cadeaux, photographed by Sharif Hamza featured in Vogue Paris; December January 2011 endorses the use of younger models through the editorial fashion spread. This gained a great deal of negative attention due to the sexualised perception of younger models throughout the shot (refer to image). This is an example of how ‘Corporate Pedophilia’ occurs within the marketing of media in today’s society as although the magazine attempts to make readers believe its all about the fashion, the use of sexual body language and sensual gazes of these younger models demonstrates the promotion of unethical behaviour by the media. Along with Adams, many other critics agree with this view on the marketing of children and ‘Corporate Pedophilia’, for example the Australian Senate links Beauty Pageants with dangers of body image and child abuse.

Do you think this is an appropriate way to portray under aged individuals?

References:

  • Hamza, S, (2011), Cadeaux [ONLINE]. Available at: http://en.vogue.fr (Accessed 20 April 15).
  • Adams, P. (1995). The death of childhood, in Marketing Toys: It’s child’s play. Papers from a national conference, Sydney NSW, Institute for Values Research and Young Media Australia. (Accessed 20 April 15)
  • POLLEY, H, (2012). Adjournment Fashion Industry. In Adjournment Fashion Industry. Tasmania, Wednesday, 09, May. Tasmania: Parliament of Australia . 3004. (Accessed 20 April 15).

My Anaconda Don’t Want None Unless You’re Eighteen or Above

FeaturedMy Anaconda Don’t Want None Unless You’re Eighteen or Above

Within today’s society and culture many anxieties revolve around the obsession with celebrity due its negative effects on today’s youth. These recognised role models are perceived as dangerous towards younger audiences as their own actions and decisions are seen to play a vital part in shaping what is perceived as the right and wrong thing to do. Whether it be Miley Cyrus’s over sexualised music videos or Justin Bieber’s constant trouble with the law, the effect of these reoccurring celebrity outbursts captured through the media creates these anxieties, as the more common it becomes to act out, the easier it is for younger individuals duplicate these actions.

Within today’s popular culture, recognised individuals use media to send a wide range of messages to different audiences all over the world. Through this platform many individuals are given a sense of power and voice as the messages they choose to portray to society are monitored and closely analysed. Anxieties within the media are formed through the negative messages that these ‘ famous’ individuals direct to impressionable audiences as these are shown to shape their actions and  thoughts. The  reoccurring  mentality that ‘sex  sells’ through the  media within today’s  culture can have  serious effects of  younger audiences  lives, especially with  women. For example  Nicki Minaj’s viral  music video Anaconda created  media frenzy due  to it’s over  sexualisation of a naked Minaj, rapping and flaunting about her most famous asset. Due to the relevancy of this music video, Minaj’s message of having to be half-naked with a big behind to be desired and attractive creates anxieties for young women as their lower self esteem at this age can trigger negative understandings on body image and what it takes to be beautiful. These damaging messages that media portrays affects the development of younger individuals. The obsession with being perfect causes distractions within these individuals’ lives as they are less focused on achieving goals like higher education and more concerned with being comparable to their favourite celebrity. The measures and pressures to sell within industries create anxieties within popular culture as these sexual images younger audiences are exposed to have negative effects. Anxieties are a reoccurring factor within the media and todays society. As the media becomes more and more sexualised, exposing audiences to negative messages at younger ages, it becomes more difficult to shield and protect these dangerous actions from being duplicated. Although it may seem easy younger people are exposed to harmful images and actions everyday through a simple of a button. Although the technologic outbreak of the Internet ‘s convenience has done great things for todays expanding culture it’s damaging to younger audiences providing a gateway for harmful media. Which leads society to question is this type of media damaging to younger individuals and their development?

What do you think ? Check out the video here and leave a comment down below.

Reflection

Throughout this semester I have successfully developed the screen work ‘Fears of the Future’. Capturing students expression and reactions when asked to discuss their plans for the future. This project acts an insight into individuals experiences, thoughts and feelings, looking at response when contrast against each other. I was inspired to create this project throughout my own life as this question was one I am asked a lot being in my final years of study.  Whilst undertaking this project I was surprised to see how many students had the same feeling on the future and aspects of feeling lost or anxious. For this project interviewed over 30 students to capture a broad audience as well as a wide range of thoughts on this feared question. Looking at the conceptual framework of this piece, Fears of the Future looks at social strategies and artist elements to create an engaging piece. With the installation of this piece I displayed my work through a single screen with headphones. For this piece I have ideas of creating a museum atmosphere for these images, almost acting as an attraction for audiences to look and discover more about these individuals and their stories. This has lead to further interaction for audiences as the context of this work is easily understood and follow along with.

Looking to showcase students experiences, these opinions enlighten and connect audiences through patterns and responses of fears. Whilst conducting this project I looked to research this topic in detail, attempting to gage an understanding of how this fear can affect young people. With research showcasing the frequency of depression rates after graduation from areas of confusion, fear and anxiety, these topics highlight the of prevalence of this issue for many young individuals. Throughout my planning process, utilizing these articles helped to provide an insight into techniques I could implement to reflect these themes. I found developing a sound piece to accompany this photography was the best option as developing a compilation of these clips looked to further highlight these aspects of confusion for audiences, as well as creating a sense of chaos through the implementation of questioning responses. Inspired by Edvard Grieg piece, In the Hall of the Mountain King from “Peer Gynt” I had an idea of playing with sound levels and speeds to further highlight these clips. After testing different options for creating a chaotic environment, I found through layering each clip progressively throughout the piece definitely helped to achieve this. Incorporating a timer sound and playing around the speed reflected a chaotic ambience to reinforce these responses as well as the fear that comes with life after graduation. Paired with the simplicity of these photographs, it promotes a sense of displacement for these sound clips, reinforcing this fear and confusion many have with the future. When looking at this work overall, with the new additions to these sound clips, I feel that creating an atmosphere for this work has improved its overall engagement as well as helped to ensure audiences are able to understand it’s message.

For most young individuals the fear of what’s to come is something that is constantly on our minds. As these years are filled with social events, piles of assignments and daily stresses, this piece I have created looks to break the stigma of students suffering alone. Yes, some have it worse than others, but as a young person myself, this work created acts as a support guide, presenting stories and themes to connect and mold these fears into a positive outcome. Although currently research has showcased a high rate of young individuals having negative connotations towards the future, Fears Of The Future looks to showcase  the message of connectedness and unity for young people, as well as illustrating the themes of stress and chaos that are prevalent with this fear. Promoting stories and experiences, the platforms have established longevity, as we provide content that relates and targets young people and their issues.

During the course of this project, it was easy to identify the success and limitations regarding our project and social platforms. Reinforcing its positive attributes, utilising the sound clips gathered from the interviews I conducted looked to benefit my overall work as I was able to display a vast amount of answers as well as  construct a piece that reflects the concept and themes of fear. However I did suffer some limitations throughout as I regularly had to update my templates throughout editing as they were distorting my photography as well as many of my sound clips needing a lot attention due to high amounts of background noise and uneven leveling.

In conclusion, through research and testing, Undertaking this project has shown me through establishing guidelines and targets throughout research, editing and collection of data, this will therefore ensure the best quality work as well as a deeper understanding towards your audience and overall topic.

 

Week 12 & 13

For the last two weeks I finalised my project. Looking at it now I am happy at the overall progress I have made this semester in developing this work. Last week I set a goal to look at developing my sound clips further to enhance my overall message for this piece. After reviewing all my clips I noticed that many of these responses are overall filled with doubt. With this I looked at developing a compilation of sound clips that further highlight these aspects of confusion for audiences, as well as creating a sense of chaos through the implementation of questioning responses. With this idea in mind, inspired by Edvard Grieg piece, In the Hall of the Mountain King from “Peer Gynt” I had an idea of playing with sound levels and speeds to further highlight these clips. After testing different options for creating a chaotic environment, I found through layering each clip progressively throughout the piece definitely helped to achieve this. Creating this environment for audiences, I also looked at incorporating a timer sound in the background of this piece, as the speed intensifies to accompany these layered responses.  With this audio creating a chaotic ambience this looks to reinforce these responses as well as the fear that comes with life after graduation. Paired with the simplicity of these photographs, it promotes a sense of displacement for these sound clips, reinforcing this fear and confusion many have with the future. When looking at this work overall, with the new additions to these sound clips, I feel that creating an atmosphere for this work has improved its overall engagement as well as helped to ensure audiences are able to understand it’s message.

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I have also finalised my artist statement and have started to write my speech for the upcoming presentation.

Artist Statement:

FEARS OF THE FUTURE

By David Gusevski

Fears of the Future explores the responses collected from students when asked

“What are your plans after graduation?”

Fear is defined as the substantial factor within graduating from university, fear is defined as ‘a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid’.

Illustrating these vast initial reactions, this photographic screen work looks to give audiences new insights on individuals experiences, endeavors and stories. Accompanied by a heavy sound piece, this work highlights the diverse emotions of students, showcasing their thoughts and ideas on the future. Displaying a large scale of responses, this piece reveals a sense of chaos through intense layering and sound techniques, creating an unsettling and confusing feeling for audiences.

With differentiation of each frame, radical shifts are created in value or hue, maintaining a sense erratic inconsistency for this piece. Emphasizing the effects of these clips, this escalation of speed and sound showcases the prevalence of this fear the further we dive into our degrees, as the implementation of this approach is to give further insight into experiences, reflecting the pattern student’s thoughts.

The Exchange Breakdown

Using the platform of WordPress Melanie Manalo’s blog series ‘The Exchange Breakdown’ looks to provide information and support for students applying for overseas study. With this information coming from a knowledgeable traveler and exchange student herself, Melanie’s first-hand advice and research throughout this site creates engaging content as students are able to use her experiences as a guide to better their own exchange trip. Alongside UOW sources like the Global Student Mobility, this site intends to be resourceful, providing visitors with information covering all bases of the exchange process, giving insights on what these experiences entail.

Melanie sets out to cover a variety of topics, creating content for a wide range of audiences. Whilst reviewing her pitch a challenge I thought she might face throughout this assessment was ensuring her posts were able to relate to all students, regardless on the choice of University or destination. Looking at this site I definitely feel she was able to achieve this as her content aims to target student concerns. Comparing existing platforms, Personally The Exchange Breakdown is more approachable for audiences as the integration of both information and personal experiences set her apart from competing sites.

As a reader The Exchange Breakdown is a great source for students to turn to. Following the blog daily Melanie has maintained a great posting schedule, uploading at a consistent rate. Following this page has been easy as there is a regular flow of updates and posts, improving more and more as the weeks continued. Applying the feedback she reserved after her pitch and BETA presentations also helped to ensure her content remained relatable as most topics where suggested by students. Through the weeks Melanie posts have continued to target her audience directly, as a former exchange student herself she is able to ensure all bases of information on is process are covered. Implementing both a professional and relaxed writing style, this blog engages audiences through each post. Referring to her own experiences, Melanie’s persuades readers with the vast opportunities offered through exchange, providing guidance on how to make the most out of your time aboard. Although her posts help to simplify this process, even for me, the entail thought of applying seemed very difficult. As a reader, with her content looking to encourage and support students, this breakdown blog conveys a relatable factor that many other exchange based blogs don’t touch on, leading this to be a valuable source for many individuals.

Looking at this blog’s trajectory, for students studying at university it can be hard to look past the pile of homework stacking up on their desks. With that said, the exchange program is important as it provides students with amazing opportunities both outside campus gates and even outside Australia. Breaking down the exchange process, it is clear that there are many positive attributes that are offered through these experiences. Travel is a major aspect that provides longevity to this blog and its audience. For many studying or even traveling overseas is a dream. Melanie herself describes the program as something you “just have to do”. Looking at providing first hand information throughout this blog, the implementation of her own personal goals and experiences looks to spark readers interests as they use ‘The Exchange Breakdown’ as a guideline to ensure they get most out of their own exchange experience.

Although there are many positive aspects illustrated throughout this blog I personally think there are some that could be implemented to support Melanie’s blog. I believe the strongest aspect of this blog looks at the Melanie sharing her exchange experience. Whist although the sites purpose is to host information, I connected most with Melanie’s views as well as her own experience on exchange. Why the dream of studying in America? Why the University of Connecticut over other universities? as a reader these were some of the burning questions I had. The aspect that makes this content relatable is the use of personal experiences, persuading readers with the vast opportunities this program offers. As students are using ‘The Exchange Breakdown’ to guide them through the exchange process, providing further insights on the decisions and plans for her own trip would be interesting to include. This aspect would look to provide support for readers as well as ease the stress of this process, reinforcing the overall message of this exchange process not being difficult.

Another topic that Melanie can include will be to look at integrating posts on her mistakes/ things she wished she knew before going on her trip. For many student’s exchange is looked at to be difficult, being tossed into new environments usually on your own. Although most exchange websites offer its readers an abundance of information on the program, many have not experienced the problems and challenging nature of this process. The aspect of Melanie’s knowledge and overall relatability towards students looks to prepare readers for their trips, preparing them so they are able to enjoy their experiences more.

Overall, Melanie’s digital artefact provides detailed support on all aspects of the exchange process. With her content targeting all students this blog can be seen as a reliable source that many can turn to. The integration of personal experiences throughout her posts highlight the blogs informative and relatable aspects, creating engaging content that competing sites don’t offer. After following the progress and development of this blog, Melanie has created an incredible artefact which I would definitely love to see her continue. I am excited to see what content she posts in the upcoming weeks and wish her all the best with her development of The Exchange Breakdown.

 

 

 

 

Reflection

When developing a project reflecting on your process throughout is important so you are able to further adjust tested work, ensuring audience’s capture your concept and message.

“[Wonder] is an emotion that spurs marvel, imagination, examination, investigation and speculation”. Responding to the theme my work encaptures ideas that engage audiences to interact with others as well as their responses on the topic of what they think of their University experience. Looking at a providing a list of adjectives, my work will ask students to connect 5 of these words to help answer this question.

The work that inspired this project was designed by Dorota Grabkowska called “What Made Me’. Commissioned by the Idea Birmingham and Birmingham City University, the installation was created to provide an interactive experience for visiting members of the public. Grabkowska’s project was based around a concept of information visualisation in a form of a large scale, complex data map, generated by visitors themselves with the aim of the project was to explore what shapes the people of Birmingham by asking them these five simple questions:

What made you Think?
What made you Create?
What made you Angry?
What made you Happy?
What made you Change?

Each question was assigned to a different colour and could be answered by connecting relevant words together with a coloured thread. For my own project the concept of her design and the connection of thread was implemented so I am able to showcase the diverse answers students have when contrasted together. Along with this, the concepts I have adapted from Grabkowska look to use this sense of visual language, as participants are able to share their feelings, influences, thoughts and inspirations, describing this time of their live.

Looking at my prototype the feedback I have received was generally very positive. Audiences seemed to engage well with my work as well as reviewing their own responses with others. Scaling down my work for my prototype did seem to be difficult however as I was not able to include as many of the adjectives as I wanted to represent on the presentation day. Using this day to showcase my prototype I also looked to survey students on what words they would like to be included in this work, so I am able to gain accurate responses to these experiences. This definitely helped to make up a lot of my work as it helps to maintain engagement with the data collected  remaining to come directly from students at UOW, along with the responses.

In terms of my tutors response his feedback helped to provide me with a problem that I was facing throughout this project. Although the use of different coloured thread looked to be aesthetically pleasing, he suggested I test this work with the same coloured yarn for all participants. After testing both coloured and one tone pieces I found that using a single colour provided the work with a sense of mystery helping to add to the concept as well as keeping audinces thinking about matching each response to different students. Along with this I believe that implementing only a single colour thread to this installation will provide more engagement to my work, therefore leading to more participants as a whole.

 

Week 11: How We Organise Ourselves

For this week as we are starting to draw near to the end of the semester, I wanted to do as much testing and experimentation with facilities offered here as I am aiming to have finalised my work by next week.  This lesson I spent focusing on the sound aspect of my work and how I can develop this further. Sampling phrases and words collected from these interviews, my vision for this sound piece is to showcase these responses to highlight how each differ from one another. Piecing clips from each interview I intend to use this to accompany these photographs, acting to support and produce more engagement with this piece. Editing these sound clips I look to break up each response to also give this piece a factor of mystery. Although each photograph is accompanied with the quote from that student, through compiling and mixing each response throughout these clips I intend to create a sense of confusion, making audiences match the sound piece and quotes to discover which students said particular answer.

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After running an initial test run I found that although my photographs and sound clips were effective, some sound pieces collected were louder than others as well as some having a high amount of background noise. Through previous iteration the expression that headphones act to my piece is crucial in maintaining an intimate experience for audiences when viewing my work. However, that does leave me with little room for errors for these sound piece as I looked to ensure each clip is configured so I am able to clearly deliver the message of the piece across. Using audacity, I successfully removed any background noises that were effecting a smooth sound clip. I also ran another test run to ensure this issue was resolved.  Looking at developing my installation I also went out and spoke to Glenn about headphones and the placement of a hook for my work as I feel this will ensure my vision comes across to audiences. For the next upcoming weeks I want to focus on developing my sound clips further. Although the reaction and quote photography is very effective on its own, there is something about these sound clips that I feel really improve this work as a whole.

Week 10: Development

For this week, I wanted to focus on experimenting and testing diverse layouts for my project. Along with this my main goal for this lesson was receive feedback on my idea and installation.  Finding time to speak to Jo was important for me this lesson as I really needed guidance on areas of improvement for my piece. She suggested that I look at displaying each student separately rather than 2 per shot as you begin to struggle with focusing on one individual’s response. As she was busy, this was the only opportunity I received throughout this week to speak to Jo or Matt so I looked at ensuring I take on the feedback I was given, and start to curate some designs.

Gathering the small amount of clips I had I began to design a test on imovie so I was able to see which layout would look to be most engaging as well as represent the idea and message of the project the best.

Displaying these examples I tested my fellow peers on which opinion they connected most with. This definitely helped to ease my stress as they were able to provide me with first hand advice on what the best option was for me to take. With this testing, as well as Jo’s advice, I decided to feature each student’s response singley as this had the most positive response with my audience. Through this testing my main goal was  to ensure that I maintain a level of engagement as well as connectivity towards my audience as these projects that people enjoy to view the most. With this testing for the upcoming weeks I look to continue curate more interviews with students and gain more numbers.  Throughout this process I am struggling with ensuring the same gender ratio for these interviews as at the moment. I have a lot more men interviewed than women. Ensuring that this project gains the best possible understanding of a young individual’s thoughts on this topic, I am determined to gather a wide range of responses, maintaining all individuals are able to connect with this work.  

Week 9: Research  

This week had me thinking alot about the theme of fear and why this question affects young people in different ways. Fear is defined as the substantial factor within graduating from university, fear is defined as ‘a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid’.

So why do university students feel an impending fear when graduation slowly creeps closer and closer?

While conducting our interviews fear definitely became a main emotion towards leaving university and moving into a career in the studied field of work. Why do students feel dread, anxiety and panic about thought of moving on into the “real world”?  What makes each of us feel this impending trepidation about the unknown of our future careers?

By exploring students’ plans for their future it is clear that less than 40% of the interviewed have a career path in mind or alternatively a job set up for after their graduation. However, whilst undertaking this project I was surprised to see how many students had the same feeling on the future and this aspects of anxiety. Whilst conducting more than 30 interviews,  every student conducted agreed that socio-emotional well being and anxiety contributes to this fear. Saying goodbye to the familiar haven of education and the flexible but purposeful structure of university life can be a real shock to those who don’t have a definite career plan.

This anxiety among students is very well documented. From fresher stress to the pressure of exams, money worries, exhaustion, loneliness and coursework, the road is riddled with pitfalls. But leaving education doesn’t mean leaving problems behind. While one in four students suffers with this mental illness during their university years, there are no official figures for the post-graduation period. Mike Burton, of the Sussex University Counselling service, admits that this group “slips through the system”. Discussing the topic of what’s to come for many has become indivisible from any other adult facing major life transitions – even counsellors who work with students seem to be unaware of the problem. It is also quite possible that some graduates don’t realise they are affected, as symptoms are not always as obvious as feeling miserable all the time.

According to a 2011/12 census, 68.5% of students were employed six months after finishing their first degree. But the figures, collated by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, include part-time and voluntary work and make no distinction between career choices and stopgap jobs. Research from the Institute for Employment Studies shows that many graduates take two or more years to settle into “stable” employment, with one in three entering temporary or fixed-term contracts. With expectations for many of us being high it’s easy to see through these statics why many of suffer with effects of negative socioemotional well being and anxiety through this time of our lives. Although these times may be looked at as stressful and full of uncertainty it’s important for us to celebrate our archives and look towards using this experience, information and education to improve our outlook on the future, easing the burden on our mental health.