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lovish saini

He/him | We spoke on 7th august 2020

Hi, Lovish, you recently graduated from The Manchester Metropolitan University with a first-class BA(Hons) in Graphic Design. What would you say has been your stand out achievements from studying the course?

Hi Megan, Thank you for taking the time! I think it’s a really important conversation you’re trying to start and definitely needed for many students and future graduates. It’s funny, because as much as I enjoyed university, and I do miss it. I don’t believe there are any stand out achievements I can recall from me studying the course. I’ve always seen university as a companion to my work, and as a co-learning and co-working space and I firmly believe more students need to adopt this ideology because it forces you to be more proactive within the industry. I’ve seen it time after time, students give university so much priority that it becomes part of their identity, to be a “student” - always waiting for the right of passage (which doesn’t exist by the way) so they can move on from university and finally find their place within the industry. All of my achievements I can recall throughout that time, all of them have been due to being proactive within the industry. If you were to rephrase the question through, during my time at university - my biggest achievements have been working with People’s History Museum on an interactive exhibition and helping push forward PechaKuchaNight Manchester.

If you scroll your mind back to before you started studying there, what made you choose that university and course?

Quite truthfully, I’ve always preferred to be self-taught, and learn from doing. I almost didn’t go to university because I had already been freelancing for a number of years straight out of high school. I had started a small record label with a friend by the end of college (which was fun). I had also already had a few internships within some Manchester-based agencies and had made some great friends within the industry. Although I felt highly employable, and many would argue I was. The fact of the matter is, unfortunately, a degree is a requirement for most design-related opportunities and it was holding me back from finding work. I particularly chose to do Graphic Design at Manchester Metropolitan University because it felt like the best option at that point, and I wanted to stay close to home so I could be as involved as possible with my younger brother growing up.

Looking back on your Linkedin profile I noticed one of the first things you did was to volunteer as a Youth Ambassador for ‘42nd Street’ which is a Mental Health Charity. Is mental health a topic you feel strongly about? And what skills do you think you gained from that experience?

42nd Street was an amazing experience for me that fell into my lap at the most serendipitous of times. During college, I fell on some hard times and decided to seek our counselling, but unfortunately at the time, waiting lists for counselling were over 6 months long. During the waiting period I ended up with some freelance work from 42nd Street, one thing led to another and I was invited to sit into a meeting about a new project they were running called “Peer Ambassadors” - a group of young individuals who help create and push campaigns for 42nd Street as well as represent the charity at industry events. This was absolutely perfect, one of my goals for that year was to work on a mental health campaign or with a NPO and the opportunity would provide me with a playground to learn more about marketing, and campaign development as well as opportunities for training and learning more about social change.

42nd Street is where I started to grow my network around Manchester, and I’m grateful for all the staff who gave me countless opportunities to do us. If you’re a young person interested in making a change, I’d highly recommend chatting to 42nd Street and particularly the Peer Ambassadors project.

I have also noticed you were an Events Assistant at the Manchester Print Fair. This seems like an important job where you could gain a vast amount of skills. How did you get into this position?

Again, you just ask! I had met and spoken to Alessandra (Mostyn) a couple of times previously through mutual circles and just kept in touch. I asked her if she needed a hand for the upcoming event and that was it!

People honestly think you need some magical CV, or tonnes of experience to get opportunities like this - in reality, all it takes is to just ask, be personable and not be a w*nker.

You have held many positions as a Photographer or Graphic Designer this is something I can relate too. I am a keen photographer as well as a Graphic Designer and started photography before Graphic Design. Do you think it is important to be skilled in more than one field? Also is there a conflict between which you enjoy more?

It has helped me gain contracts and open myself up for work and avenues I wouldn’t have explored on my own otherwise. It doesn’t hurt to enjoy learning either. I’m curious about the world and how stuff works so I enjoy tinkering with things and trying to figure them out and how I can use that in my own practice. It pays off to be curious. As for what I enjoy more, I, like most designers have a love-hate relationship with design, but photography has always been more of a personal outlet for me. I’ve always kept them separate.

Looking at your CV I have noticed you have spoken at few public events: Fuse Presents: Speak-Up, PechaKucha Manchester, and at the National Football Museum. The last one interests me as you state you were representing 42nd Street to Prince William & Duchess Kate. Tell me a bit more about that one, I bet it was a nerve-wracking experience. Did you get to meet them?

It really isn’t as interesting as it sounds. During my time at 42nd Street as a peer ambassador, we were given the opportunity to have a brief conversation with William and Kate about the work we do at 42nd Street.

There’s a lot of unnecessary preparation that goes into it, ‘how you can address them’, ‘what you can say to them’, all the way down to how long you have allocated to speak to them (little less than 2 minutes.) They were quite lovely though, very soft-spoken and charming as you’d imagine. They spoke to us a little longer than the time dedicated because they were working on a mental health-related project themselves. I’d like to say I’m humble, but for quite some time I took ownership of that as bragging rights until the night I spilt a pint on Johnny Marr.

For my last question, I am going to ask what is next for Lovish?

That’s a great question because I’m still not quite sure! I’m not sure anyone is. I’m currently looking into doing a MA in Digital Management in the coming year, and I’m currently enrolled in a course on human-centred design. I’m quite keen on continuing my education and refining my practice further. At the moment, I’m focusing on service design and business transformation by creating inclusivity within workspaces. I’m also collaborating with Kyle Soo (Host of PechaKuchaNight Manchester) to create an educational training programme for people interested in public speaking and storytelling. So honestly answer varies month by month.

Let’s catch up again next month to see where I’m heading next.

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