After freelancing for six years, one of my favourite clients, Leeds agency AWA, made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I joined them in 2008 as Senior Producer and was part of a lovely and very talented team for three and a half years. But, the recession was just too hard. The agency closed its doors to business in 2011. I made the decision to return to freelancing because I’ve always enjoyed the freedom and variety of work it offers. But mainly the freedom.
But I wasn’t always a web designer… I am a Sociology graduate, after all.
My first professional job was as a Research Associate for Cardiff University, collecting and analysing data. I also wrote research papers and books, but it was the technical elements of my role that eventually won out.
My first project investigated how technologies changed researchers’ relationships to their data. On the back of this research, I became an advocate of the role of “hypertext” as a research tool and, in my second project (at Cardiff Law School), I took it upon myself to design and build a hypertext application to store the project’s quantitative and qualitative research data. The aim was to make exploring the data a bit easier, especially for the older members of the team who, back then, didn’t like computers very much. I even wrote a reference manual on how to use it. And so, my interest in the web, usability and design was born.
Finding myself on a different trajectory, I moved to Leeds in 1997 and studied multimedia for a year. A few months later, I was cutting my teeth in my first agency role at Brand New Media. Anyone who worked there knows it was a very special time and I’m very proud to be there at the beginning, even though it shows my age ;-)
Other professional experience
- Provided weekly studio support for the undergraduate design module in Digital Media at Leeds University.
- Member of Advisory Group for an HNC multimedia course for disadvantaged women in Leeds (course sponsored by the European Social Fund).
- Helped Vera Media run animation workshops (Flash) for girls in a Leeds secondary school and and edited the individual animations so they came together to form a collaborative film that represented the whole class.
- Worked for Orange on 2 month contract as an in-house designer to help with transition from Wannadu to Orange. On the back of this work, I had the great opportunity to work an interactive Ecohouse project with Grand Designs’ Kevin McLoud and Poke London.
- Sole designer/developer on “Trading Up” - a project run by Vera Media and funded by the North Yorkshire Forum for Voluntary Organisations. I built an interactive application in Flash which contained everything you needed to set up a “social enterprise”, including how to write business plans, get funding, manage finance. It also included interactive quizzes and 5 hours worth of audio.
- Freelance technical consultant for Cardiff University to design and script hypertext CD-ROMS and web sites for distance-learning social work students.
- Tutor to first year undergraduates in social theory: leading seminars and marking essays.
- Taught qualitative research methods and software skills to colleagues and postgraduate law students.
- HNC Multimedia (7 distinctions, 1 merit)
- 2(i) Bsc Econ Hons, Sociology