16 Feb 2012


Really postponed writing about last summer's South African exchange trip but here it finally is:

Cape Town 2011 was ‘eye-opening’ in a variety of ways:

I found myself in a completely new continent, within a capital city that was alive with culture and wild with character.

I felt privileged to have been able to experience the novelty of unknown surroundings and spend a lengthy time attempting to integrate into it. This transition made the entire time a really rewarding encounter as both an insider and outsider. In addition, this had a huge bearing on my working practice out there. We were part of somewhere unfamiliar with a fresh set of rules to work under and ultimately an alternate context to take into consideration. This made for observing things with changed eyes and adapting as designers as well as onlookers. I’d like to think this is a skill that would stay with me and inform my understanding of diverging cultures.

There was also a continuous sense of two sides to every story. By encountering the people we met and experiencing Cape Town first hand, we gained a telling insight into the city. The place was divided by differences – due to its eventful history – that was often hard to get to grips with, yet on other occasions a pertinent reminder of our own values.

Through looking out for the unofficial, I was drawn to the ‘un-designed’ signatures scattered around Cape Town’s landscape. This became an intriguing outlet for innovative expression, and demonstrated the value of using immediate resources to voice a worthwhile message to a wider audience.

I felt great warmth from the people of South Africa. They were generous with their time and there was certainly a lesson to be learnt from every individual. This relational side spent alongside fellow Kingston students made the trip for me, and reaffirmed the significance of meeting new people.

Andrew Dawes

Exhibition up tomorrow at Knights Park.