THE 18TH MARCH 2012 IS OUR FIRST BIRTHDAY,
SO WE WANTED TO THANK EVERYONE WHO HAS
BEEN A PART OF TEXTBOOK’S BEST YEAR SO FAR.
As soon as the name Textbook Studio existed, we wrote a business plan. In it we boldly stated that in our first year we would; find and keep clients that were socially engaged; own studio premises and from them run an open collaborative space for creative people; organise lectures and events for students and creatives; and work with colleges and universities to help bridge the gap between design education and industry.
Recently we re-read the plan and the list of ambitions we first wrote down a year ago. We may not have achieved our goal of actually owning a studio, but we were surprised to see that we had achieved most of the goals we had forgotten about, and a few more.
We always wanted our studio to have two priorities, design of course, but also education. Design wise we have worked with some varied and interesting clients throughout the year, forging new relationships; and it’s been lovely to find that we have been recommended by these people, helping us make new contacts. It’s been no surprise, though, to realise that some of the time, design was almost the last thing on our minds. We’ve put a lot of hours into organising how the studio works, which has meant a steep learning curve in things like book-keeping, tax returns, marketing and seeking work. Although a tremendous hurdle to overcome, this has secretly become quite satisfying.
The second and equally important element of our studio has been our involvement with education. We have always believed that our design practice should inform our teaching activity and vice versa, and our position in between the two fields has given us a unique insight into the way the two are related. Working with some inspirational staff and students at colleges and universities across the North has provided us with the opportunity to discuss difficult and pertinent topics, such as self-employment, what happens after university, grants and funding, getting experience, landing a job and more. The highlight of this has been Manchester Metropolitan University winning the Sir Misha Black prize for Innovation in Design Education following our work with MMDC and UHC on their pioneering ‘Unit X’ at Hotspur House.
An element of our studio we had forgotten to include in the business plan was our network. It is obvious on reflection just how important our network of family, friends, collaborators and colleagues have been — and especially how who we are as a group has been moulded by the people around us. Without these people, we don’t know where we would be.
It goes without saying that our first 12 months have had their downs as well as their ups, but all these people — ones we know, have met, worked for, worked with and made friends with along the way — have made the challenge of our first year a hell of a lot of fun.
FRIENDS AND COLLABORATORS
FOX TROUPE FILMS