Sunday, 24 October 2010

A Week in October

About four weeks ago I moved to Newcastle or, more specifically, to a little coastal town to the South East (I think, don't quote me on it) of the city. I'm not sure if I'm officially in Whitley Bay or not, but I do know that I'm close enough to the beach to enjoy it whenever I want. I've had a couple of long walks along it this week but, in a sea of dog walkers, I felt a bit out of place.

I moved here to live with my boyfriend but he works at sea and is away at the moment so I've had a lot of time to explore the local area. Whitley Bay seems to be quite cheap and cheerful in areas, the street with all the bars/pubs is quite the meat market on a Saturday night! However the town centre does have lots of teashops, and I am a sucker for a good teashop. I also live across the road from a bakery which sells pretty epic cupcakes, so all in all I hope this is going to be a good place for me.

Other things I've enjoyed this week:


Sunday, 17 October 2010

Back in the Game

I've been really caught up in various things over the past couple of months, so I'm ashamed to say I haven't found time to update since July! However, I am back now so hopefully I'll manage to write more often.

I spent my summer thinking I would be beginning a PhD at Culture Lab in Newcastle this month, but at the end of August I was told my funding had fallen through. At the time I was devastaed, but my mother always tells me that everything happens for a reason - and only good things have happened to me since.

In September I founded my own company, Little Riot Ltd. I have a lot of ideas but felt I needed a platform on which to develop them, so Little Riot has been set up as an interaction design company. I'm primarily doing research at the moment, but I'm also going to channel my consultancy and freelance work through it.

I'm also thrilled to be able to say I won £25,000 to develop Pillow Talk, my degree project. The lovely people at the Technology Strategy Board selected me as one of the three winners in their recent "Disruptive Solutions" competition, so I am now able to finally start pushing the concept towards market. I also got to present my work to a live audience at the Innovate 10 conference - it was really strange to be a "business woman" (I had to wear smart clothes and everything!) but I got some pretty good feedback about what I'm doing. I have several people interested in collaborating with me or using my concepts so fingers crossed there are lots of exciting things to come.

It's a huge opportunity and I'm both proud of myself and incredibly grateful to have gained the support. As a graduate, I am really lucky to be working on my own projects and interests instead of slaving away for a larger corporation. Still very much living the life of a poor student, but hopefully that will start to change in time.

I'm also doing a Masters/some research work at Culture Lab, a part of Newcastle University. I think I've really lucked out with it to be honest; I am part of a very small group of people who are resident researchers within the lab. We spend the year working on our own interests and projects, and at the end of the year we write it up and will receive a Masters degree for it. It only came about when my PhD fell through, but I think it may in fact be even more perfect for me as it allows me time to work on my company and sample life as a PhD student or researcher. Again, I'm so lucky to be working in the interaction design field - I always thought I'd end up doing whatever was available when I graduated.