For my BCM313 narrative interview, I decided to chat with my mentor and work colleague from AUD’$, Matthew Craig. Born and raised in Melbourne, Matt and his brother Junor started AUD’$ in 2016 and it’s since become Australia’s number one hip-hop connect. I joined their small team at the start of 2020 as a way to exercise and improve my skills, build a journalistic portfolio and help with the globalisation of Australian hip-hop and R&B.
In the subject of ‘The Future of Work’, we’ve studied our own and others’ values in the workplace and how they portray these through their storytelling. Our interview discussed Matt’s career, the challenges he’s faced and how these experiences have shaped and strengthened the most important values to him, which he lists as “community, culture and growth.”
For anyone who’s had a conversation with Matt, it wouldn’t be hard to guess considering every decision embodies these values both personally and professionally. Even during my presentation, peers utilised the practice of outsider witnessing to guess his top three values within the first couple of minutes (Carey & Russell, 2003). Using Michael White’s map of outsider-witness, I reflected back on when I first met Matt and realised that the way I had identified these values in him was through the category of embodying responses which refers to the expressions that resonate with the outsider witnesser and become an identified part of their own values (Carey & Russell, 2003).
In BCM313, I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from Kate’s interviewing style that we were lucky enough to see in action while she interviewed UOW’s Vice-Chancellor Patricia Davidson (BCM313 Week 7 Workshop, 2021). Her therapeutic style of interviewing is something I adopted in my interview with Matt and will continue to experiment with for future interviews I conduct through my work alongside him. The emphasis on active listening and the absent but implicit enriched the conversation and allowed me to dig deeper than the stories I had already heard from Matt, creating a more thoughtful and rewarding experience for both the talent and myself (Freedman, 2012).
From the interview I conducted with Matthew Craig, I gained a better understanding of Matt and the AUD’$ values and how these were formed from his determined work ethic and influenced by the hip-hop culture he’s been a part of for most of his life. Delivering the presentation allowed me to articulate the AUD’$ future, the relationship between myself and Matt and the shared love we have for the work we do.
Bowles, K & Davidson, P 2021, ‘BCM313 Week 7 Workshop’, University of Wollongong, accessed 31 October 2021, available at SOLS.
For my BCM302 digital artefact (DA), I decided to venture away from my music journalism at Eject Music and AUD’$ that I completed earlier in my course. I’ve always wanted to have a clothing brand but it was never something I was passionate or brave enough to start. However, as my final goodbye to BCM and in the iterative spirit of ‘Fail Early, Fail Often‘ (the quicker you learn it, the sooner you’ll succeed), I’d like to present my last DA for the University of Wollongong (Rosman, 2018).
Moriboys is a Wollongong-based brand dedicated to Australia’s streetwear and hip-hop culture. The brand can be found on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok,Pinterest and Spotify, as well as on our Squarespace website. From my experiences of interviewing and collaborating with different people in the music industry, the main issues I’ve identified is the lack of high-quality merchandise and alternative income streams for artists.
To create meaningful innovations, I continue to work with AUD’$ as a way of understanding and emphasizing with my users and their audience (Plattner, 2010). My obsession with providing service to Australia’s hip-hop culture is what compelled me to find even more ways I can do that and combined with my passion for creating and experimenting with new skills, this is where the social utility of my DA lies.
Vincō, Street X and No1.Network are three Australian brands that I have taken inspiration from in regards to their contributions to the Hip-hop scene. The three of them support the local culture by hosting events and selling their own products including collaborative pieces with artists. There are a few other brands like this across the country but I’d argue they’re the biggest three for the scene. What I feel sets me apart from these guys is that when I do start collaborative work, it’ll be ideally more consistent and with a wider variety of different artists, designers and creators.
The target audience of Moriboys is largely male-dominated, typically aged between 18-25 with interests in Australia’s unique hip-hop scene and fashion style. I’ve found that the majority of my audience is based in Wollongong and Bathurst, where I currently live and my hometown. However, I am starting to build an organic following from people who have come across my account. Here’s how each social media is tracking:
Instagram: 195 followers
Facebook: 159 followers
Twitter: 31 followers
TikTok: 25 followers
There’s a direct correlation between the social media I was most active on and what platform has become my most engaged. Instagram averages 30 likes per post and has been my primary platform, allowing me to share mock-up designs, samples, stickers and posts about the regularly-updated Spotify playlist, Moriboys Music. The playlist has been an opportunity to showcase the diverse hip-hop/R&B talent from across the country, soundtrack the release of Summer I Collection and network with artists I hope to collaborate with. It also gave me a chance to repurpose content across platforms and maintain a more consistent posting routine, which has been one of the major flaws in growing my DA.
Due to time constraints and being overly posting precious, I haven’t been able to produce the desired quantity of content. In response to the feedback loops from the peer reviews, I have started to solve this issue by:
Refining Brand Aesthetic:
Pinterest was one of the earlier iterations I made to my project and has inspired me with clothing designs, content, aesthetic and brand positioning ideas and brand positioning that will “occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market” (Branding Journal, 2016). This was my first time using the platform and I’ve really enjoyed scrolling it even more than Facebook or Instagram. I found Pinterest useful to also routinely do a bit of market research on the brands I’m interested in and the ones I find, and also keep up to date with overseas fashion scenes.
Creating Short-Form Videos:
According to a 2016 study, the average human attention span is now eight seconds and one of the biggest contributors to the decline is the increased consumption of information (Sandikar, 2021). People share videos at twice the rate of any other form of content and 84% of people were convinced to buy a product or service based on the brands’ video (Wyzwol, 2020). With TikTok’s domination over the social media space in the last few years, it’s a no brainer that I should be posting more video content. Since the DA pitch, the number one advice I’ve received from peers has been to start utilising TikTok and Instagram Reels. I had little to no experience in TikTok and was simultaneously wildly inspired and terrified at the thought of prototyping video content. The biggest setback for this has been the postage delays and multiple lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic but with the right attention to planning and prototyping, I can create a stronger community by posting video content.
Recently, I posted a first look at the embroidered logo tees and posted it to Tik Tok and Reels. While Tik Tok felt like a bit of a void and didn’t gain much momentum, the same Reel reached an unexpected amount of potential users and in a couple of days after, I gained 30 new followers.
Plan, Prototype & Post: For past digital artefacts, planning a production timeline has been pretty straightforward with the weekly job of curating, writing and posting an article. This semester has been more chaotic than most with Moriboys easily being my most labour-intensive and least FIST (Fast, Inexpensive, Simple & Tiny) implemented DA. While I had anticipated this would be the case, I’m only just now starting to receive the final products and properly plan content in the lead up to the release of Moriboys’ Summer I Collection. If you can’t tell already, I’ll be continuing my DA past the end of the semester so I’ve recently created a weekly schedule, along with an ideation list of various content. According to Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, posting 2 feed posts per week and 2 stories each day is ideal for building a following on the app (McLachlan, 2021). This is what I’m going to start working towards and when orders are shipped out it will allow me to repost people sharing their deliveries. So before the end of the year, I’d like to be adhering to this and if not, exceeding it.
One of the recent iterations I’ve made to my content has been the introduction of my Friends & Family list. Using the ‘close friends’ option on Instagram, I’ve decided I’ll share an early access link and discount code with my close friends and biggest supporters prior to the collection’s official launch. This creates a deeper and exclusive relationship with the Moriboys community that allows the brand to grow in demand before even the first collection.
Now, back to what I was saying regarding my DA’s biggest setbacks. Due to the postage delays and multiple lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, saving for, ordering and awaiting the arrival of the blanks has taken almost the whole semester. The main objective for my DA has been to release the first collection that includes the embroidered logo tee in black and purple colourways and a screen-printed matching tee and shorts set.
While delivering artists with an alternative income stream through high-quality merchandise is a key objective for Moriboys, it wasn’t achievable during the BCM302 semester. I wanted to release an exclusively Moriboys collection before beginning to work with someone else as it would help establish my brand identity and build my confidence in the production process before committing to a Moriboys collaboration. That being said, I’d like the collaborations and contributions to the Australian hip-hop culture to be the salience of the brand. I have spoken with a handful of different artists about potential collaborations and there’s one Melbourne artist in particular that I’m looking to work with next year.
“Salience involves making a piece of information more noticeable, meaningful, or memorable to audiences. An increase in salience enhances the probability that receivers will perceive the information, discern meaning and thus process it, and store it in memory,” (Entman, 1993).
I’m not limiting my collaborations solely to artists but also just general collaborators that I’m interested in. For example, I’d like the Winter I Collection to include a collaboration with my Opa, Benedictus Mirande, a revered and retired Dutch artist who worked at C&A as the Art Director and freelanced through his company, Kangaroo Productions.
I’ve brought the idea forward to him and he’s finished up a couple of other projects so he’s itching for something else. This is something deeply personal to me and will test my photoshop skills but I’m excited to have more free time over the Christmas break to develop these further. Regardless, I’m getting ahead of myself because I still need to complete the website.
I have prototyped a range of different Squarespace templates before arriving at the current final iteration. The website features a clean white aesthetic with three tabs titled About, Shop and Sizing. The About page was initially only a couple of sentences about the brand’s conception and objectives but has evolved to include more context, a ‘Contact Us’ form and interactable social media widgets. The Shop needs the most attention as I have to take product shots and make the clothes available on the website. Lastly, the Sizing tab has been updated to include in-depth details regarding the products. Recently, I added a password screen over the website so I can add the finishing touches before officially launching the website. I’ve also created a discount code for free shipping on all orders over $100 and I’ll reveal the password on the F&F story as exclusive early access to the Summer I Collection.
In Dan Ward’s ‘Simplicity Cycle’, he states “the journey of design involves both learning and unlearning.” This has been the most challenging part of my digital artefact – to forget what I thought I knew about online marketing, social media presences and creating experiences for users (Plattner, 2010). I feel as though I’m stuck in the Region of Complicated where I’ve added unnecessary complexity caused by non-value-added parts (Ward, 2010). Not everything has been void of value because a lot of the work I’ve done this semester was behind the scenes work of starting my own company and clothing brand. Now that I’ve spent the semester getting everything ready and prototyping different designs, I’m now ready to start transitioning Moriboys into the Region of the Simple. By reducing the complexity of my DA, the reliability and simplicity of it will grow and further adhere to the FIST elements (Ward, 2010).
The best is yet to come – I’m excited for the future of Moriboys and Australia’s hip-hop culture so if you’d like to stay connected, all the socials have been littered throughout with hyperlinks, but here are they are one last time because I’m trying to get this word count up and repetition encourages and reminds users of the call to action (Assemblo, 2017).
James’ digital artefact Mugg Sport consists of interviewing and writing features on Australian athletes across a range of sports including rugby league, football and cricket. In his last year of university, Mugg Sport has allowed James to build a strong journalistic portfolio and develop his writing and design skills.
Originally, James repurposed content from previous semesters and wrote articles on well-known athletes and teams like basketball player Patty Mills and NRL team Melbourne Storm. On his Instagram, he would post an episode of his podcast ‘Tackling Mental Health At Its Roots’ then a preview to the upcoming article of the week followed by the article itself. Showcasing his design skills, the Mugg Sport Instagram and Wix website follow a white format that allows each interviewee’s team colours to direct the aesthetic. While other projects restrict themselves to a particular aesthetic that can lack appeal or draw attention away from the content itself, James has successfully found the middle ground and crafted a cohesive and visually engaging digital artefact.
For the last 3 articles, James adjusted his Instagram layout to a hint of who he’ll be interviewing, the announcement of the article and then the feature image of the article. James was able to make multiple posts despite it being based around one particular piece of content. In order to maintain and enhance the user experience of his audience, James outlined in his beta that he will start using more video content. This was one of my main suggestions along with posting excerpts from the interview to encourage his audience to visit his website and read the full article.
I’ve followed James project closely throughout the semester and was able to help connect him with his latest interviewee, Luke Bain. Based on his analytics, the rugby league related articles garnered the most interactions and while I could suggest to focus on this and hone in on a particular audience, the primary goal of his digital artefact is to build and broaden his journalistic portfolio. By prototyping a range of different sport athletes, James has been able to improve his overall writing skills and sport knowledge as well as creating a feedback loop to specifically determine his audiences interests.
With lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, James is looking to start posting podcasts and potentially video interviews which will add a valuable multimedia aspect to his digital artefact and strengthen his video editing and live production skills. As James is utilising his digital artefact as a portfolio of his work, I can understand why he chose Instagram as his main platform other than the website. However, in the next couple of articles I’d love to see him prototype different hashtags to increase his reach and gain a better understanding of his target audience. Mugg Sport has exceeded its semester goals already so in the final weeks of BCM302 and for the rest of 2021, I encourage James to put his portfolio to practice and begin freelancing his work to various sport publications.
Laura’s digital artefact was originally Sainted Souls, an embroidery business targeting the market of sentimental and personalised gift-giving. After realising her initial project didn’t meet the FIST principles, she changed her digital artefact to a social media management business, Soul Socials.
Soul Socials exists on her Instagram where she’s made 5 posts and her Wix website where you can find her resume/CV. In her beta, Laura shared that the website was time consuming in its prototyping stage which hindered her activity on the Instagram account. Laura’s website is a clear example of her talent in marketing and design with the resume/CV being the primary focus. While I’m not sure how many clients Laura has had so far, it could be a useful addition to the website as a portfolio of some of your latest and best work.
With the website finished for now, the biggest challenge for Laura is now increasing engagement, activity and feedback loops on her Instagram. Currently, she’s made 5 posts with content ranging from quotes, mood boards and marketing/branding tips. Although she has a following of almost 300 people, each post averages one like and no comments. The iterations that Laura has made to her project included the use of ‘call to actions’ and posting unique stories that are important in catching the attention of her audience and encouraging engagement.
In my opinion, her best piece of content has been her ‘How To Choose The Right Colours For Your Brand‘ post that utilised Instagram’s carousel tool to share her three key tips. While content variety is valuable for any digital artefact, I think Laura should continue exploring these tips and tricks type of posts as it aligns with audience’s needs and her project’s sense of community building. Furthermore, she could even develop this into video content for Reels and TikTok which may give her the opportunity to better become the face of her digital artefact and personal brand.
Heading into the final weeks of BCM302, I’d love to see Laura dedicate some time to scheduling her content like she did earlier in the semester. This is something I’m also looking to do as it creates a larger and regular online presence for the digital artefact that inevitably updates basic feedback loops like what content her audience values more, when the recommend posting times are and how her following has grown. Despite the setbacks from changing project direction to time-consuming website designing, Laura has created a professional and appealing resume and is now turning her attention to expanding her following and content on Instagram.
Good luck to James, Laura and the rest of the BCM302 cohort as we complete the final weeks of the semester. Almost there, phew.
In previous digital artefacts, I often tailored them to benefit my journalism career and work at AUD’$, Australia’s Hip-hop connect. As this is my final semester at university, I decided to do something different and focus on my clothing brand, Moriboys. I started the brand back in November of 2020 with the purpose of capturing Australia’s Hip-hop culture through streetwear fashion and collaborative merchandise for artists. Working within the music industry, I’ve developed a plethora of contacts and niche understanding of my target audience and consumer needs.
Originally in my pitch, I outlined that I would be posting 3-4 times a week across my network of social medias including Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter. Unfortunately, this was a little over confident on my behalf and I underestimated the amount of BTS work that goes into starting up an independent clothing brand.
A lot of the successes that my digital artefact has experienced so far is not seen by the masses but to me they are of equal importance – things like finding a place to print and embroider my tees, teaching myself design and marketing skills, and beating the postage delay odds to receive the stock. Heading into the final weeks of BCM302, I should be able to produce more content as I’ll get the final product of my Moriboys clothing and will be heading out of lockdown. This will mean I’ll be able to do photoshoots and start video content for Reels and TikTok as they seem to hold the most value in today’s digital age.
Responding to Instagram’s analytics and feedback loops, I created Moriboys Music as it directly aligns with my brand’s purpose of platforming local artists while being a source of discovery for fans. This type of content increased my audience engagement and helped me reach an average of 30 likes per post on Instagram. This was one of my favourite iterations made to my project as it has helped me build the ‘world’ of Moriboys and received support from some of the featured artists too. Pinterest has also been useful in prototyping what my brand positioning may look like on other platforms.
In regards to my main goal of releasing the first Moriboys collection, I predict I’m on track for an early November release but beforehand there are a few tasks that need attending to. Firstly, I need to redesign my prototype Squarespace website to include more personality and functionality for it to be the monetary platform for my project. This is something I’m really excited for as it will be my first directly monetizable digital artefact.
Secondly, I’m committed to creating a bigger social media presence especially in the lead up to the clothing’s release. This will give me a greater opportunity for valuable feedback loops and I’ll be able to better cater to my audience’s digital habits and hopefully, increase sales.
During the final weeks of BCM313, we’ve closely observed the choice of words from three guest speakers reflecting on their personal professional values. Our subject coordinator Kate describes Dakota Feirer’s interview with Layne Brown as a conversation “about relationships, management and how to do self-work that helps navigate work in a right way.” Reflecting on the values I recognised from the experience, Layne’s commitment to community and knowledge of self is what resonated strongest with me.
Layne told a story about a colleague who was gaining people’s trust and friendship by handing Tim Tam’s out. In theory, it’s a thoughtful way to engage with others and begin a narrative between two groups but as Layne said, “if that gift doesn’t come with follow up and genuine authenticity, it becomes useless.”
This value of authenticity and genuine intention is constantly practised in my professional life through my work at AUD’$. Being a third-person witness to Dakota and Layne’s conversation, I believe I’m similar to Layne in the way he hopes to make contributions to the community that can form generational changes and culture shifts. With his powerful knowledge of self and deep connection to his Indigenous ancestry, this value is also present in Layne’s personal life.
“Just because I don’t drink doesn’t mean I automatically got rid of the behaviours that my had passed down to me through generations, it just isn’t assassinated by alcohol anymore,” Layne explained.
Through the reflective practice of Outsider Witnessing, this understanding of identity and commitment to self-work is something I’ve been working on throughout the last lockdown in Wollongong. An outsider witness is a third party invited to listen to and acknowledge the preferred stories and identity claims of the person. This is based on the fundamental assumption of Narrative Therapy that our sense of self is socially constructed and exists in our relationships with others (Carey & Russell, 2003).
The framing of the sense of self was already interesting to me but when paired with introspection and Michael White’s idea of the Absent but Implicit, it becomes apparent that “we can only make sense of what things are by contrasting them to what they are not,” (Carey, Russell & Walther, 2009).
To use this framework in Layne’s Tim Tam story, it’s less about the gesture of handing out chocolate and more about what they could be doing. A Tim Tam is not a solution to a problem (unless hungry), it’s the start of a conversation to solve it. Deconstructing Layne’s value for authenticity, I realised that I’d like every action in my professional and personal life to convey a similar message of support, honesty and accountability.
Furthermore, from what I’ve learned in BCM313 I’ve started to actively apply outside witnessing to all the songs I review and artists I interview, validating their identity claims and allowing them to share stories through the lens of their most important values. While this was something I was mindful of in the past, Layne’s statement about following gifts up with genuine authenticity highlighted the main goal of AUD’$ and my professional life.
Working in the music industry with often disenfranchised and underrepresented groups, I have the responsibility and privilege of accurately representing the identity and values of those artists. Layne recognises that community support must extend further than the initial gift but to action that truly benefits the community. This is becoming more common with the prominence of social activism among younger generations and at AUD’$ and many other publications, it’s an essential priority and value of our brand.
From a 15-year-old son painting in his family’s attic to an 83-year-old Opa living alone in independent retirement living, few things remain the same for Dick Mirande. However, his tenacious curiosity and burning passion for creativity has never faded.
Born in the Netherlands on 14 July 1938, Mirande discovered his fascination with art at a very young age. When Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940, Dick’s older sisters were sent to the southern provinces while he and the rest of his family remained in the north.
As he was only a boy, many of Dick’s war time memories include the time he spent drawing. “For me it doesn’t matter what I do, as long as it’s with creating. It’s a habit,” Dick said.
Due to a lack of supplies in the country, it wasn’t until his teenage years that Dick traded his drawing pencil for a painting brush. As the eldest son, he was given the attic as his own bedroom, where he spent hours cultivating his creativity into what would soon become his career. At 15-years-old, Dick received a scholarship to attend Artibus Academy, becoming the school’s youngest student.
While studying, he opened a studio in Utrecht before beginning his climb of the corporate ladder at C&A, one of Europe’s largest fast-fashion retailers.
Starting as an assistant, he progressed to the role of copywriter and eventually became C&A’s Art Director. Though his new found role aligned with his interest in advertisement and marketing, Mirande was met with an enviously mixed reception from his peers, who idolised the notion of the struggling artist. “Commercial didn’t exist in art back then, but it was what I liked to do,” Dick said.
“It was hard to make money so it was harder to get a girl.”
With his 15-year career at C&A, Dick had no trouble finding financial success or a spouse. In fact, he found both and then some. With his first wife he had two children, Marcel and Natalie, who grew up surrounded by their father’s adoration of art.
One of Natalie’s earliest memories of her father was at a café in Tunisia, watching him draw a breath from a Camel cigarette, sketching its logo on a scrap of paper.
“With my father, you always had the feeling you could do what you dreamt of and it wasn’t about the execution, it was just about the fun and being a part of it,” Natalie said.
Travelling on a weekly basis across Europe, Dick’s new lifestyle came at a cost, contributing to the divorce of his wife and in turn, his relationship with his children.
“I’ve spent a lot of time on the things I wanted to do like painting and making ideas that sometimes I think I’ve been too selfish. I sometimes think that I didn’t spend enough time with the kids,” Dick said.
“I didn’t feel there was a need to apologise. He knows that he’s missed out on having an input in our upbringing,” Natalie said.
“He’s missed out on being a present father.”
Dick remarried to Susan Grosbard and together, launched their freelance company, Kanagroo Productions. Hosting countless exhibitions from their Amsterdam shop, they were a dynamic couple.
“Susan allowed my father to be creative. She had all the business sense and the drive to network. After dinner, even when working his normal day job, he would go and paint for a couple of hours,” Natalie said.
Suited for the life of a hermit, Dick remained immersed in his art while Susan handled the business aspect of their venture. His career successes continued, designing the logo for C&A’s clothing brand Clockhouse and his own holiday house in Spain. Reflecting on the height of his career, Dick claimed to have more money than the Dutch Prime Minister. “I asked her if I could stop, and she said ‘you could’ve stopped years ago’. So okay, I stopped then,” Mirande said.
After creating campaigns for “so many Mother’s Days, Father’s Days and Christmases”, Dick grew uninterested in his work and retired at 48-years of age to his farm house in Northern Holland. The couple continued their work into retirement, enjoying a more reclusive life, Dick devoted his extra time to painting and accumulated hundreds of artworks.
An electrical fault at their storage unit in 2009 saw 70% of Dick’s artworks destroyed in a fire. Then, in 2014, Susan passed away from cancer.
For the first time since 1953, Dick stopped painting.
“This was the only time in his life that I think his mental health was really impacted. He just lost all direction and motivation,” Natalie said.
Reflecting upon why he quit, Dick leaned back into his chair, as his eyes trailed to a place of reminiscent remorse.
“To get over the time and not think about what happened. I wasn’t making paintings but I was doing all kinds of things like cutting the tiles I paint on. I’m busy with it all the time.”
Though Natalie and Dick’s early relationship was overshadowed by his work, Susan’s passing and the creative knack instilled in Natalie brought them closer together. When he visited Australia in 2014, she bought water colour paints and canvas’ to encourage him to start painting with his grandchildren. “It’s incredibly important that he has that as a hobby, and he appreciates that too because he’s quite happy to be on his own and do his painting, always has,” she said. “His art is his resilience in life.”
Returning home with a stronger relationship with his daughter and a rejuvenated creativity – his desire for painting was reborn.
Dick has been living in an independent retirement village since 2019, left to the reclusive life with his paintings and ideas. Despite the noticeably smaller house and evolving guard of art from physical to digital prints, his passion is yet to slow.
“He started putting these tile paintings on the inside of the door frame to his bedroom and the whole project has grown crazy into the bedroom, the toilet, all over the house,” Natalie said.
Perhaps at the detriment of his closest relationships, his passion has allowed him to live a life travelling abroad and fulfilling his artistic desires. Weaving together stories full of vibrancy, depth and childlike wonder; Dick’s art is an imitation of his life. He remains as wildly inspired and expressive in his art as he once was in the attic of his childhood home.
“What I’m doing is always making the circle round. It’s a complete story, sometimes it’s very small, sometimes it’s very big but there’s always a beginning, middle and end.”
Re-membering: The commonly used therapeutic practice that provides “opportunities for people to re-engage with experiences of their life which would otherwise remain neglected.” (Russell & Carey, 2000).
For the past year and a half I have been working with AUD’$, a Hip-hop music publication based in Melbourne, Australia. Reflecting back on when I first started, it was a massive change to the journalistic work that I was used to producing. At the time, I was starting my second year studying a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Communications & Media, so I felt as though I had this pre-conceived, stagnant and somewhat outdated and vague understanding of journalism.
Working with the small team at AUD’$, I began to develop a better understanding of my writing and the nuanced future and flexibility of journalism in the Australian music industry. While this isn’t the main change I’ll be detailing in this narrative reflection, I think it’s important to note that this was the first time I noticed the difference between what I was told working in journalism was like to what it actually entailed.
Prior to spending nine weeks stuck inside my house for lockdown, I was able to visit the AUD’$ team at our studio and office space in Melbourne. On my first day physically working alongside them, we started with a morning debrief where we outline our individual and group objectives for the day/week, say something we’re grateful for or that we recently learnt, and check on everyone’s mental health and personal life. Before this, all of the journalistic work I had done was online and, although we compromised with Zoom meetings, texts and calls, there lacked that physically energy you get when face to face. Starting my morning of work like this really aligned with my constant to-do lists and monthly planners, but also made time and space to talk about important topics like mental health which is something I forget to check on when working independently. Experiencing that change from isolated and independent online work to more interpersonal and physical work is the main change that I’d like to connect to narrative self-development in relation to my professional values.
Michael White’s theory of the ‘absent but implicit’ refers to the meaning we take from experiences, through the comparison and contrast of previous experiences (Carey, 2000). This approach to narrative storytelling allows individuals to reflect on the stories we retell to uncover its deeper and unspoken personal value and meaning. Instead of focusing on the problems, failures or pain of an experience, individuals are able to enter a gateway to the realm of experience where “people’s most cherished hopes, aspirations, and commitments live and breathe,” (Freedman, 2020).
Through this lens of narrative storytelling thinking, I can understand that I value the flexibility that working by distance provides me, however, physically interacting with co-workers and clients is an invaluable experience that cannot be replicated online. Another value that I think I highlighted in my story is the importance of community and family building in a workplace. AUD’$ is a relatively small team so it’s easier to build this rapport, but it’s still something I value highly. Allocating time to interact as friends instead of co-workers and providing a platform to discuss our personal well-being created a welcoming, motivating and comfortable environment for me to work in, and hopefully will continue to do so for years to come.
Reflecting back, I can now acknowledge a time when I demonstrated the importance of these values to me in a professional setting. About two months ago, I received a job offer from one of the biggest companies within my field. The reason I chose to decline the role was because I value the experiences I’ve had at AUD’$ and despite the pros to accepting this job, it didn’t align with my professional values.
The process of self-reflection through Michael White’s work has enabled me to understand the importance of storytelling in learning the discussed and implied values of ourselves and others. In regards to my future of work, having an enriched understanding of my professional values has provided me with a clearer roadmap to my career and has proved vital in achieving a deepened sense of professional identity and a balance between a healthy mental well-being and a rewarding and fulfilling career (Carey, 2002).
CONCEPT: The concept of Mugg Sports is to write feel-good articles about sports players and their contributions both on and off the field. While James is using Instagram as his primary platform, I suggest utilising Twitter as well, as its a better platform for marketing off-app links and there is a large audience of journalists for you to network your portfolio with. The project’s concept is not restricted by any particular sport of media form which I think is a great choice, as it allows him to prototype a range of different content and find what works best for him and his audience.
METHODOLOGY: James intends to post an article and 1-3 IG posts a week which I think is an achievable place to start but he didn’t outline too many content ideas that he had for the future. The best thing about making podcasts and longer form articles is that you’re able to take highlights from them and upload it to Instagram Reels as repurposed content. He has also emphasised that he’ll be paying close attention to his feedback loops and will continue to evolve his content accordingly. I found in past semesters that posting stories asking for direct feedback through polls was an easy way to gain engagement and get a better understanding of your audiences interests, habits etc. It’s the perfect opportunity to include more of the FIST elements and create feedback loops for yourself!
UTILITY: James has a range of inspirations for his project and if I could suggest one more, I think a page like Complex Sports is a great example of an aesthetically pleasing and informative account. James’ project is definitely relevant to his own personal utility but also to a targeted audience of sports fan interested in player’s life both in and out of sports.
PITCH: The pitch for Mugg Sports shows James’ early ideation and prototyping stages with promising signs of feedback loops and a clear outline of the DA’s concept, methodology and utility. Similar to my own, I think this pitch could have included more reference to the subject learnings but overall, it’s a great start to a digital artefact and I’m looking forward to following it throughout the semester.
CONCEPT: Lara’s project is a customised embroidery business targeting the market of sentimental and anniversary related gifts. Like Lara, my primary digital artefact is the website and selling products, however, I would suggest prototyping other content that can help grow the audience and market the business. Lara mentioned Tik Tok as one of the platforms she’ll use which I think will be a great place for her to share inspiration photos of potential embroidery ideas and BTS content of making the product. This will also help with the FIST element inclusion as it’s allowing her to make easy content off the back of other content! Another platform I’ve started using is Pinterest, as I’ve found it super helpful in creating my brand aesthetic and getting ideas for designs.
METHODOLOGY: Lara has a clear idea of her targeted audience and while I do believe she’ll see a lot of success from this niche, I would be interested to see if this changes over time. One of her main examples showing the production process was from a movie, and I think that is another market that she could tap into – not only people’s own personal photos but their favourite movie, tv show, book etc. With this in mind, I’m not sure of the copyright limitations here so it might be a bit tricky!
UTILITY: Lara’s project has a strong public utility, the biggest problem I think Lara will have is learning to stand out in the crowd of her competitors. She has done her thorough research into her inspirations and the field which will help her ideate what makes her business unique. I think if she capitalises on her feedback loops by paying close attention to them and reacting accordingly, her unique utility will begin to emerge more clearly.
PITCH: Lara’s pitch demonstrates a comprehensive guide to her digital artefact’s concept, methodology and utility, as well as the production process. Similar to my own, I also think this pitch could have included more reference to the subject learnings but again, I’m looking forward to following it throughout the semester.
For my digital artefact (DA) this semester, I decided to focus on my Hip-hop focused streetwear clothing brand, Moriboys. The long-term goal of my DA is to be able to create alternative income streams for artists and service audiences with high-quality merchandise.
Content is the trigger of customer interaction (Rahal, 2021). This is why my project will consist of posting frequent content across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Spotify. The type of content I will produce will include BTS of a clothing brand, prototyping designs, photoshoots, relevant starter pack targeted content and Spotify playlist updates (primarily of local acts to promote Australia’s Hip-hop scene). This is subject to change depending on the feedback loops and my further research into what content is suited to what platform and what content is worth repurposing. FEFO will come into play a lot here, as well as the prototyping and testing of designs and materials. There are also FIST elements in my DA but I’m hoping to increase its presence throughout the semester.
The target audience of my project includes fans of streetwear culture and Australian hip-hop, typically aged between 18-24. While it’s mainly male dominated (70%), I do consider my products unisex so I hope to see this gender disparity level out throughout the semester.
As I have little experience in graphic design, I am working with a Brisbane-based designer as well as my local manufacturer to create the logo and product designs. This is something I’m hoping to have less dependency on later on in the semester to give myself more creative control and be more independent as a brand. From working in the Australian music industry, I have a well-versed understanding of my primary audience and what gaps are needed to be filled by a clothing brand. However, over the next couple of weeks, I will be focusing my research on marketing as a fashion brand and graphic design.
Moriboys was created before this semester, and I plan to continue it afterwards, so this will be a great opportunity to begin laying the foundation of content and building my audience.
“My best skill was that I was coachable, I was a sponge and aggressive to learn.” – Michael Jordan.
For those unfamiliar, my name is Frank Tremain and I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Communications and Media. By the end of the semester, I will graduate with my degree and major in Journalism and minor in Digital and Social Media.
Throughout my tertiary education, I have worked in the Australian music industry as a writer, curator and social media manager for AUD’$. There are countless necessary and invaluable skills I’ve learnt throughout my career but the most important one is the skill to consistently adapt, improve and learn.
Possessing the skill of being ‘coachable’ has allowed me to take on new challenges, learn and improve on the go and create opportunities for myself that I initially didn’t think I deserved or could do. What I’ve found most beneficial though, is that this skill has given me an advantage over my competition and it’s inspired by a quote from former MLB star, Derek Jeter:
“There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do – and I believe that.”
The skill of being coachable demonstrates an unwavering obsession with learning that I think is one of the most important values in life. We always hear that we never stop learning, and while this is true, it doesn’t mean we’re always willing to learn. By willing to learn and wanting to improve, I don’t see a ceiling to my ideas or aspirations, and that’s exciting.
As I now begin to venture into the workforce without university next year, I will continue to place this skill at the forefront of my arsenal.
PSA. My blogs won’t usually have this many sports references/quotes. For that, follow Jed.