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First day arriving at Central Saint Martins

Tracey Allen - Arts Tasmania Claudio Alcorso International Residency

Tuesday, 9 February 2015

Tracey Allen is a designer who passionately believes that visual communication plays an essential role in improving our world and the lives of the people who share it. She received an Arts Tasmania Claudio Alcorso International Residency grant of $7 000 in 2015 towards meeting and working with practitioners and attend service design workshops and masterclasses in the United Kingdom.

We asked her a few questions about the experience, here are her responses:

Could you briefly describe your Alcorso Residency?

I received the Alcorso Residency in 2015. My residency was for professional development. My purpose was to gain a greater understanding of how design can be used to innovate and create a better experience for the end user of a service.

I undertook a masterclass at Central St. Martins University of London and also spent a week with a mentor in a design studio in Bristol.

Why did you apply at this time?

This was at a pivotal point in my career. My interest in using design as innovation not only as creativity was ignited after a very personal experience of seeing first hand the failings in our public health system. I was acutely aware of how design could be used to improve a broken system.

Through innovative design, a practical and effective proposition for its users and patients could be developed. Prior to applying I had spent the previous 12 months researching ‘real’ examples of this in practice. I was clear on what new skills I required to develop my practice and whom I needed to meet.

Were there any surprises, unforeseen situations and challenges with your time away?

An interesting way to ‘get to know’ the participants. It was rapid profiling, which meant we only had 30 seconds to ask questions but could only draw the answers and then move to the next person. The aim was for the whole class to get at least one fact from each person and the whole image created would give you an overview of the person. It was really fantastic, fun and interesting to see the range of questions people asked.I didn’t expect to make lifelong friends on my journey. Making connections with people who share the same passion is a wonderful thing for your own validation. I was surprised with how open people have been with sharing their knowledge and experience. The masterclass has already changed the way I work in a positive way!

What is the impact of your time away, any insights, residue or legacy from your trip?

Time outside your practice and environment to reflect is so important for growth. I feel extraordinarily privileged to been afforded this opportunity. I have plans for the future that I would never have dreamed was possible before.

Any tips for people intending to apply for an Alcorso Residency?

  1. Do your research.
  2. Be passionate about your project.
  3. Speak with others about your plans, I found that each time you speak about your plans it seems to become clearer.
  4. Make sure you have someone else read your proposal who can give you constructive feedback. If they don’t understand what you’re proposing then the panel isn’t likely to either.

Anything else you would like to add?

People are always much more open to sharing when they see you’re taking time out of your practice to learn. I found that doors opened up quite easily when I said I was on an international residency.

Click here for more information about the Arts Tasmania Claudio Alcorso International Residency program.

Images: First day arriving at Central Saint Martins (top), An interesting way to ‘get to know’ the participants. It was rapid profiling, which meant we only had 30 seconds to ask questions but could only draw the answers and then move to the next person. The aim was for the whole class to get at least one fact from each person and the whole image created would give you an overview of the person. It was really fantastic, fun and interesting to see the range of questions people asked. (right). Photos: Tracey Allen.