Looking through my hard drives I decided it’d probably be a nice idea to blog about some of the work that I did during university. For the first of these pieces here is a group created piece of work.
I’ve always dreaded group work. For some reason I seem to be the person who pulls more than my fair share of the work. It makes me rather uncomfortable- people get to pass modules because I’ve shouldered more of the burden, but I know that if I didn’t do it then nobody would. (In my first year I ended up doing most of what should have been a 4 person film project on my own, stop motion takes long enough as it is). I figured this time things would be different though, we were third year design students and so grown up and surely people would be adult about it?
The answer was a resounding no I’m afraid. It wasn’t that I ended up shouldering a lot more of the burden than I should have done, people were quite good at getting the work that they needed to finished, but rather that the whole thing seemed more like a project where a few people had to put their work into the same printed publication. We didn’t work as a team in the slightest. Work was completed at home and away from each other rather than together as a group as the task had asked.
People wanted to go at their own pace rather than stick to deadlines. This meant that when it came to getting the book printed for assessment we were a little rushed and ended up at Prontaprint. And we had an A3 magazine that needed printing ASAP. As I’m sure you can guess, we paid through the nose. Around £100 between 5 of us for one UNBOUND copy. It was painful but we had no other choice with the timescale that we had.
We did eventually manage to get it reprinted bound for around £100 for five copies a month or so later thankfully and so all managed to have a copy of our own (I still have mine around somewhere, it would be on my bookcase but it’s too big to fit!)
The moral of the story? Team work is there for you to work as a team, not against each other. No matter how good you think your work is, that’s not the point of the exercise, it’s to help prepare you for the real world where you will sometimes be expected to work with someone else. Don’t sit by and let people get away with not working though, make sure that whoever is in charge of the class knows that your group are not splitting work as fairly as they should be as soon as possible so that something can be done about it. My university offered you the chance to ‘fire’ people from the group, something which I was always too timid to do, especially after being called some not very nice things once after I tried to ask someone to get their work in for a group deadline.
The secondary moral for me would be to make sure you research ahead before you work with an awkward as hell format. Our A3 publication looked fantastic and allowed for some great content and text layout, but it also meant that most places wouldn’t touch it because they didn’t have the ability to properly print or bind it. If we’d contacted print companies before hand and found this out we’d have probably downscaled a little on the size and had a bit less of a headache because of it!
The project itself was actually quite a lot of fun. For my section of the magazine I looked at Japanese street fashion and how it’s making its way into the UK and travelled to London in order to photograph some of the boutiques in Camden which deal with Japanese clothing. I also got to play dress up, the photo’s shown just above are actually me. It was a rather fun and giggly photo shoot, high heels are quite hard to walk in while on grass! The subject matter stuck with me as well and over the following 6 months I not only picked Japanese street fashion as the subject for my dissertation but also dyed my hair pink