This is my personal statement for applying the Service Design at the Royal College of Art.
Now, I got the MA degree and look back what I wrote three years ago. I am proud that I took over all challenges and keep absorbing and then to achieve what I dreamed for.
I was born and raised in a textile factory run by my parents. Growing up surrounded by sparkling buttons, colourful fabrics and delicate laces provided me with plenty of opportunities and inspiration to create since I was a child. However, the factory went bankrupt in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008. While the loss of my parents’ factory, jobs and house hit our family finances hard, I also mourned the loss of a fertile, secure avenue for aesthetic inspiration and experimentation.
After this sudden setback, my father suffered from melancholia, a form of depression, but resisted medication. Dealing with my father’s illness led me to start thinking about ways to create a warm, user-friendly healthcare environment for both medical staff and patients. While working on my Master’s thesis, I came across a project “Design for Patient Dignity” co-operated by the RCA, the Department of Health and the Design Council, UK. It was a revelation project about professionals from different fields integrating their ideas and coming up with holistic solutions to preserve the privacy and dignity of patients. I come from a country where cross-disciplinary collaboration is still uncommon, so the opportunity to work on projects like this with industry partners of the RCA or other departments really excites me.
My parents have since reopened their textile factory four years ago, where I still help out after work. From my observation and personal experience, there are significant gaps between the art and design institution, traditional industry and the mass productive factories. To better equip myself to address this gap as a designer, I wish to develop deeper insight and gain experience in interdisciplinary design. I see the Visual Communication programme at the RCA as an exciting platform to achieve my objectives, as it integrated theoretical knowledge in visual communication with sessions in visual research and experiment in media and materials.
In 2014, I was awarded a three-year sponsorship of USD 50,000 per year for overseas studies by the Taiwanese government for my outstanding academic achievement. My success in securing financial support has given me even more motivation and determination to realise my goals through my Master’s degree.
I am confident that my strong foundation in aesthetic training and design, combined with my professional experience as an art teacher and visual designer will allow me to thrive and make good use of the abundant resources and opportunities on offer at the RCA and the cosmopolitan and creative city, London. In particular, I look forward to acquiring new perspectives from the interdisciplinary design opportunities and challenging environment at the RCA, and relating them back to my personal and professional journey as an artist in my parents’ textile factory, the healthcare sector and my native Taiwan.