Stephanie Fulke: Visually mapping Dundee

Creative Dundee had the privilege and pleasure to work with Stephanie Fulke in January as part of her Visual Communication college course. Here is what Steph said about her experience:

“I recently took part in an internship with Creative Dundee which exposed me to how the city of Dundee has evolved to embrace unique working methods such as; flexible working environments, creative hubs and collectives. Within these working environments, there is an eclectic mix of skills which has allowed for more opportunities to do explorative projects and for self-discovery. It can be quite a complex system to navigate, with grass root cultures always looking to be uncovered, and if you’re like me – someone who is taking a fresh perspective on it – there is evidence that it needs to be simplified.”

“I was given the slightly daunting task of making this complex system of creative organisations and collectives into a ‘visual map’. The possibilities of what this could look like were endless and the process of figuring it out was difficult… but I like a challenge. From the minute I started my internship I was excited, diving head-first into the task and considering all of my options – would this be an intelligent info-graphic with multiple layers? Or a mural that depicted Dundee’s creative accomplishments? Or a playful analogy that inspired each person who saw it? I had my work cut out for me.”

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Stephanie Fulke at Creative Dundee’s office in Vision building.

“I quickly came to the conclusion that Dundee’s creative scene is very intricate when trying to produce a visual map. I needed to know who’s who, what’s going on in the city and of course, the hyper-connectivity that glues the creative community together… it was not as easy as I had originally thought! Once I had tackled this, I then had to ask myself, “what’s the best visual language to communicate all these elements to many individuals and organisations who work in different disciplines?” I learned a lot when considering this, as I’ve found out through several iterations that this information can be displayed in a number of ways. Information can contradict, hierarchies can appear that shouldn’t exist, categorising can cause too much definition and discourage collaboration, there is a lot to be mindful of and one must tread lightly to find the correct balance. This may sound complicated but I actually enjoyed the thought of making a living info-graphic. We live in a world of constant change – people come and go, projects start and finish, businesses kick-start and end. I purposely tried to make the visual simple so that it could be easily adapted and reflect Dundee’s ever changing creative landscape, by adding or removing the appropriate dots.”

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Insights – Stephanie Fulke’s sketch book.

“I’ve had several interesting conversations whilst discovering Dundee’s creative industry. One of the more interesting queries that came up that information may not look pretty but it does have to be information rich, but what does one consider as rich? Will it have great intent or great impact?”

Infinite Fluid Way of Working

“I observed a trend that creatives who work for an organisation sometimes have the opportunity to go off and invest in themselves – and will be supported by the organisation. In doing so both get to share resources and creativity that has a continuous feed and energy flow between.”

Who’s Who, Doing What and Where

“One of the most common things that was said was about how people would like to know ‘Who’s who, what and where’. They wanted to find like-minded people with similar interests and projects they could become part of and start collaborating with. I always knew that Dundee was a connected city but there was a greater sense of hyper-connectivity.”

A World Outside the Creative One

“It seems like Dundee has two ways of working. There is the ‘traditional way’ in which we have always done things and will always do because we think are very familiar; and then there are new ways of creating, working in new environments to create new things. Our creativity is expanding into new areas that are thought as non-creative – for me, this shows the potential of creativity and its value.”

The Dundee Way

“Dundee has this lovely ‘doing attitude’ which is all inclusive of everyone and is about sharing what you have, doing favours for people and not expecting anything in return, just ‘a get up and go do attitude’.”

Finding the One Person

“A lot of people had discussed the idea of having found the one person who made a unique difference in getting started and giving them support. This might relate back to how our city is hyper-connected.”

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Insights – Stephanie Fulke’s sketch book.

“I loved getting more familiar with Dundee again and learning about the ‘Dundee way’ of operating. There is so much help and support from fellow creatives and no expectations of pay back, just honest interest and a get-up-and-go attitude. At this point I think I should give a huge thank you to all of those who helped me with this project. I am a strong believer in the idea that creativity can not happen on your own accord and that collective knowledge is better than thinking it through yourself.”

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Dundee’s Creative Ecology – An evolving visual of the orgs and some key events supporting individuals in the creative sector.

This work builds on the previous work we’ve done to consider how best to visualise Dundee’s creative ecology and make it easier for people to connect with the support and networks they need. Creative Dundee now plans to work with Steph to evolve this mapping further – please keep an eye out on our website for more details soon!

Stephanie Fulke talked about her project at February’s Make/Share event. She specialises in graphic design, illustration and photography – find out more about her work here.