Introducing In Focus, a space to champion creative thinkers and innovative minds. We’re connecting with the most exciting talent to bring you the inside scoop.
For the first interview of the series we talk to Lorna Allan, graphic designer, photographer and founder of Hidden Women of Design, a creative platform seeking to raise the visibility of female designers through workshops, talks and meet up events.
How did you get into the creative industry?
I always loved Photography and Art but it was never promoted to me at school that I could make it into a job, I just knew that was what I was most interested in. It’s what brought me to London and where I got my first job in a photography studio. That, I suppose, is where it all started and how I began a career in the creative industry.
What is your process? how do you get started on a brief or personal project?
I feel like my creative process is constantly evolving and I never tackle anything in a logical order which can be frustrating at times but can also lead to new discoveries, sometimes it feels like I start in the middle work back to the beginning then jump to the end! This is sometimes because an idea will come from something very small and this could spark a whole aesthetic or mood. Then I need to backtrack to do the research and make sure the concept is strong enough to carry the project to fruition.
‘my creative process is constantly evolving and I never tackle anything in a logical order’
Where do you see the HWOD events taking you? What are your plans for the platform you’ve created?
A lot of people ask me this and the truth be told I didn’t think I would still be doing it x3 years later, it has gone much further than I thought! It’s great to see the network expanding and see how inspiring the talks are to both the audience & speakers. I would love to collaborate with other designers to curate more talks and workshops that relate design to contemporary issues.
‘The gender balance in junior roles is fairly equal, it’s when you move into more senior roles when the balance starts to topple.’
Based on your findings, what efforts do you think can be made to encourage more women to take up a career in the creative sector?
A lot of women do take up work in the creative sector. Most courses at design schools are populated by women, it’s keeping them in the industry that’s the issue.
The gender balance in junior roles is fairly equal, it’s when you move into more senior roles when the balance starts to topple. Doing things like changing the wording on job adverts to appeal to a wider audience, transparent promotion stages and salary bands, clear communication of what is required of the role at such stages and of course support / mentorship programmes could do a lot to attract and keep women in senior roles and to elevate women from junior roles.
‘it’s important to push your creative boundaries into areas you may not feel entirely comfortable with’
What is a life goal of yours?
To contribute to making the creative industry an inclusive sector to work in. Installing this at primary education by putting more art & design into schools instead of taking it out. Involving it as part of educational processes, recognising that there are different ways of learning and that education systems should support different methods of teaching.
What work of yours are you most proud of?
My performance work for my MA – although I don’t think this was the best work I have created I’m most proud of this project as it was so far out of my comfort zone.
The idea of doing a performance was something I have never approached before along with using moving image, editing software and my own movements it was an uncomfortable and uncharted territory. It involved various mini filmed performances by myself interacting and reading a piece of text by Georges Perec. It was then projected into the gallery space where an actor would then interact with the film. We performed it on the night of my degree show and I was so nervous as I have no idea how it would be received but I just knew it had to be done as part of the project process.
I believe it’s important to push your creative boundaries into areas you may not feel entirely comfortable with at first as it will grow your practice you don’t always get it right but you will always learn something!
We’re always on the hunt for inspiration, give us three accounts you think we should be following…
Which creative should we focus on next?
Their large scale installations are not only impressive but combine technology and art in a way that resonates modern understanding of themes such as labour, freedom, nation-state and democracy.
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A fact about you that surprises people?
I struggle with my confidence!
Do you have any unusual skills?
I’m very good at sleeping?
Give us two truths and one lie…
- When hitchhiking in Australia I got picked up by a bus of Jet fighter pilots
- I once applied to be an airhostess
- I’ve flown a plane