Gem Barton, Course Leader of Interior Architecture has given a talk on the future of design at The Design Museum in London. In her talk Gem described her new book, ‘Don’t Get a Job…Make a Job: How to make it as a creative graduate’ (Laurence King Publishing, 2016). This is a practical guide for graduating designers who, once out of college, realise that the number of designers far outweighs available jobs. So she argues that the best solution is to become an entrepreneur and create not only your own job, but start a business and create jobs for others too. The book is packed with inspiring case studies and interviews.
Gem also talked about the realities of design education. She wants to see students take more responsibility for their progress, widening their skill set, practicing “critical thinking” and not being bound by their discipline. Pushing the boundaries might translate into challenging the expectations of the design and creative industries. Critical thinking means making a forensic analysis of the now, of what already exists, of what we think we know, so as to imagine a still-becoming future. By “making a job” designers can respond to change more quickly. Reading from her book, Gem mentioned “graduating into a recession”; that, of course, is nothing new… But she reiterated that employment is just one possible system and to explore other strategies, inspired by creative trailblazers. Then she reminded participants to be open minded and that people further along in their careers have a responsibility to tomorrow.