Who? Where? What? Why? By @hhenderson249

By Holly Henderson



Who? Where? What? Why?


Back from India, recharged and geared up to go. Having arrived home yesterday, and finally been able to tip out the contents of my backpack, with all my hoardings and collections, endless pieces of paper and a mountain of washing, it feels as though the last month has flown by in the blink of an eye.

I’m not saying that I have completely taken my foot off the pedal, but as talked about by Steve Harrison in ‘How to do better creative work’ having had the time to travel properly and explore somewhere new, it has given me the chance to stop and refocus. As Harrison discusses “to go away further and stay away longer…helped get work out of their system and replaced it with experiences that would enrich their lives.” Whether or not this will lead to better ideas as Harrison implies, I will have to watch and wait, but here are a few insights I picked up along the way;

– In Jaisalmer it is the custom to offer new guests chia or coffee, and if they refuse, to offer opium.

– The Portuguese were the first to introduce chilli to India in the 1500’s.

– India is big on its trance, and as learnt in Jaipur should be danced to in a Bollywood fashion.

– During the monsoon season, the women in Rajasthan wear sari’s that reflect the colours of the monsoon in the hope of encouraging rain for the harvest.

Travelling through Rajasthan and down to Kerala, we inevitably met new faces everyday and other backpackers doing similar routes. One of the aspects that I loved about these exchanges were the quick comfortability and openness of most travellers’ you come across in hostels, and the quirky stories and facts they’ve collected, such as;

  • –  The Eccentric Maldivian opening a hostel, but travelling aimlessly for year trying to find vision.
  • –  The Hostel Host who complimented us on being like ‘simple indian women’ with a huge smile on his face — still trying to figure out the meaning of our simplicity.
  • –  The Brits in the desert with all the gear and no idea, who had been naively fleeced at the local market and arrived on safari decked out in white linen robes and elaborate turbans.
  • –  TheAussies’whotoldusthatmorepeoplehaddiedfromselfiessticksthansharksin2016.But regardless of the conversation, it was always followed at some point by the inevitable questions;

    What’s your name? Where are you from? What do you ‘do’?

    Easy enough, but I noticed that when asked ‘What do you ‘DO’?” the answer ‘I’m going into advertising’ was met with mixed responses, and often followed with the question ‘Why?’ ‘Why manipulate people?’ I found myself giving mixed answers, either mentioning key points talked about in the books I was reading or drawing the words of the greats. But as the same questions were repeatedly asked, the question ‘What do you do?’ felt more loaded, and challenged me to go back and think personally about what it was that led me to be so certain about advertising.

    I have never had any doubt that I wanted to pursue a creative route, but it has taken me a while to narrow down and find where I fitted into that sphere. Initially I set out to become a fine artist, but at the end of foundation I was questioning is this really what I want to do? Fine art felt too conceptual and broad, what really interested me was creating work that served a purpose — a function.

This led me to a BA in Graphic Design, which made me feel as though I was now sorted. But half way though second year, the same feeling of uncertainty of where to position myself crept up — what am I going to DO?

Looking at my portfolio for guidance it was clear that the jumble of themes and formats showed that I still hadn’t found where I fitted. However, my little reflection did show a clear pattern of psychological influences. I tried to challenge the context of the design I was doing. I thought maybe I should design in a psychological context? I tested this by spending some time working in psychiatric wards in Bali using creativity to help with mental health. It was a great learning experience and showed me how design could be used to motivate behaviour, but it still wasn’t what I wanted to DO.

Here is what I did know:

– I want to create design that motivates behaviour.
– I am intrigued by how people make decisions and how we respond to ‘choice.’ – I am interested in the lines between persuasion and manipulation.

So, what do I want to do? I want to be in advertising, and in order to be ready to do so, my next step is to start gathering up all the jigsaw pieces, ideas, stories, people, self reflections and books and pieces them together ready for my first day at SCA.

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