Creative Dundee

Spotlight: Claire Hartley on The Ways We Visualise

On Spotlight we have informal conversations with different people about their practice and how it relates to life in Dundee, this month entirely focused on the women of the city. This month’s interviewee, Claire Hartley, is an illustrator, visualiser, Vice President of Campaigns and Communications at Dundee University Students Association and Amps Subscriber!


Sam Gonçalves: You’ve studied illustration at DJCAD, right? What was it that moved you towards that instead of comics, fine art, design, etc…?

Claire Hartley: I wasn’t really sure what direction I would take, just felt at the time that illustration would bring me more freedom. Ultimately, I’m glad I chose it – it felt like a mix of fine art and design plus I was able to try other mediums with my elective modules.

SG: Is that something you enjoy overall in your work? That ability to dip in and out of different things?

CH: I do see myself as dipping in and out and doing lots at once. I’d love to go into visualisation for design in business, or service design… Helping people understand concepts through visual representation. That’s the ultimate goal, but I’ll get there by learning, I want to get my teeth really into something.

SG: You mentioned service design, which is something you’ve been more heavily involved with since graduating, right?

CH: I actually had never learned about human-centred design and began exploring what the role of visualisation was in designing for services. Especially in, for instance, meetings that are immediately scribed in an open and visual way – that can really affect how people see it.

SG: Oh yeah, I think I’ve seen Hazel White doing things like that a few times.

CH: Yeah! She does that really well, and it was one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned with Open Change! Like I wrote in my dissertation, anyone has the power to draw – this is not exclusive – because we are all able to visualise things in our heads. At most you might need to show others the tools and help with learning simple things like drawing a circle, a square, a squiggly line. But once you have those, it’s just about how you arrange them. I think that using visualisation as a form of communication is an important practice that I really want to focus on.


SG: Having graduated, what is your advice to students who are just about to graduate?

CH: I think, try to do extra stuff if you are able to, have other experiences. And get to know the creative life outside of the university, there is always so much going on and we are not necessarily aware of that. The biggest thing I’ve taken is the extra-curricular things you do, in the end, they really matter. Get yourself out there!

SG: What do you enjoy about the work you do in Dundee and what could be better?

CH: I love Dundee and will stay around as long as I can find opportunities here. I love how people in Dundee are so willing to learn and try new things. As for what I wish could be better, working at a student’s association I see that students have so much to say and contribute, so it would be great to see more opportunities for them around the city. Perhaps even with organisations taking on students, etc… I think we need to not take student’s willingness for granted.

SG: The next person I interview could be anyone… what question would you like me to pass on?

CH: This is hard… I’d ask them: what is the most ‘out of the box thing’ you’ve done in Dundee?

SG: Is there anything else you want people to know about before we finish? 

CH: Yes! Look up Dundee Service Jam 2019!


Title here