By Gee Saunders, Sportswear Design Ambassador, 2nd Year Sportswear Design
When the news came that the university would be moving to teaching online, I wasn’t surprised. I, along with my housemates, had watched many other universities close and urge students to return home if possible. The biggest worry was what would happen with our current modules, how could a course that relies heavily on communication, physical tutorials, workshops and construction be put online? It was a huge change with lots of uncertainty of what the future would hold.
After making the arrangements to get home, there was a huge sense of emptiness, looking at my university home empty weeks before it should have been; some of the best years of your life cut short. I’m almost certain this is how students across the country and even the World are feeling. I’m lucky really, being a second-year student means I still have time left and this interruption is only temporary, and I will return to my studies however for many this isn’t the case. I can’t quite imagine what being a third year is like at the moment, especially as creative students dream of their final exhibitions and fashion shows.
On the lead up to my first online tutorial I had a few concerns about how it would work – technology doesn’t always work as well as we hope and can be confusing or complicated – but I’m pleased to say so far Microsoft Teams has been doing a pretty good job! It’s great to have a platform like this that has made moving to online teaching possible so quickly and being able to have tutorials at the same time as I would have had means it’s easier to keep a semi-normal schedule going.
Sharing work obviously isn’t as easy as it would be in person, but we have been getting round the issue by sending work via email to get feedback. In tutorials I have mainly been discussing ideas and concerns. We have only been having online teaching for two weeks so I’m still adjusting to working at home but so far its going well and I always receive constructive comments from my tutor about things to work on.
Although the transition to being in a different workspace hasn’t been easy, everyone is in the same boat and being able to talk to other course members has been really beneficial. I think it’s very important to remember that this is a new situation and we are all learning together to think of ways to make it work. I’m really lucky that I have such caring tutors. I know that they are always just an email or call away and that nothing is too much trouble. They want to help with whatever challenges I might be facing.
I’m really fortunate as I have access to my own sewing machine so can still sample using scrap fabrics.
With the tutorials going well, the other challenging part of home studies is sampling and producing toiles. When the normal is to have a huge building with nearly every machine and technician available to give advice, suddenly being stuck without essential supplies can be a bit tricky. However, this has been making me think outside the box for new ways to get things done, I’m really fortunate as I have access to my own sewing machine so can still sample using scrap fabrics.
My current project has a focus on innovation, so I’ve been trialling things that are very different to what I’d normally do in the studio. It’s all new which has helped as I didn’t have previous expectations! The university lectures have also been having a go at using household items to do things such as printing and sending them out to us which has been really good to get motivated and wanting to try the methods out! I really think our current circumstances could prove to be beneficial and help me be a better designer. In a recent tutorial our lecturer spoke about the idea of our designs having a response to the current situation, our ideas and discussions are as open and aware as ever.
The university lectures have also been having a go at using household items to do things such as printing and sending them out to us which has been really good to get motivated and wanting to try the methods out!
I’ve found the support of family essential. My Mum, much to her delight I’m sure, has to look at and listen to all my new ideas 24/7. As a sportswear student it has also been nice to be able to have more time for sport and exercise as it is sometimes too easy to get carried away in the busyness of term two and forget to take time away from studies for these important activities. There has also been time to reflect which has been really beneficial and this is something I’d definitely like to work on incorporating into my life in the future.
We thank Gee for telling her story of how she is dealing with COVID-19 self isolation, and speaking out about the challenges all students are currently facing. SSACHS Futures is a platform to celebrate our champions of tomorrow and we will keep in touch with Gee to hear how she progresses throughout her course and at some point we will ask our audience to support her as she explores her options to starting her career in the sportswear industry.
Fo more information about the BA (Hons) Sportswear design at Falmouth University HERE
*SSACHS FUTURES is an initiative to support our future champions of the sportswear industry from ‘design to finish line’. Get involved; firstname.lastname@example.org