Saturday, 3 October 2015

Dissertation | Third Year Series: Part One

Some of you have been interested in my university course and as it is a big part of my life I have started a third year series where I will discuss the process of my final year. If you didn't know when I'm not blogging or behind a camera lens I study Fashion Business and Promotion at BCU. So I will start from the beginning of my final year and what I was doing over summer to prepare...
Getting a head start is essential and I can already see why we were given summer homework to get us thinking about what we wanted to do for our last few projects EVER, strange feeling but exciting too. The main part which I focused on and will talk about in this post was something named our "kick-start session". This was basically a presentation discussing our dissertation ideas and the start of our journey. 

A dissertation is something most final years in a number of courses have to complete which can vary in size. I will get to that on another post in the future, first I needed an idea. One of our tasks was to discover our passions, do things which will inspire us and explore research topics until we find one which we feel could be something to take forward.

My starting point was looking back at previous projects I had done and this is a great way to find inspiration. I looked in to what I excelled in and what points were hindering my process of achieving my desired grade. I found the links in two of my recent projects one being trends forecasting and the other being events management. The trend which I forecasted was the rise of the female boss which captures the zeitgeist of the “gentlewoman” with their ability to juggle work and family roles. Then my events group "Seven Events" came up with the idea of “Sexism In The City” (post here) to raise awareness and money to our chosen charity. We realised that at the time Birmingham had one of the lowest rates of employment for women in the UK and decided to take action on this. This was something I feel I did well in as it is an area I’m passionate about and this shone through in my work. However after already doing so much on this topic I wanted to give it a new twist and make it something more personal to me. 

So I touched on women, fashion and power but what about race? There is certainly an underlining problems with fashion and race therefore it is something I would like to address. It’s personal to me and also with it being the sector I would like to work in after graduating it is one I would like to feel more included and represented in. In 2015 there have been three major hot topics I researched including:

Culture Appropriation
This topic covers taking part of a culture i.e headdresses, bindis, cornrows and many others and turning it in to something fashionable or mainstream. For example headdresses have been adopted in to festival fashion with disregard to its cultural importance and meaning to native americans.

Beauty Industry
The beauty industry is something else which seems to be white washed with lack of representation of women of colour. Not only are some skin types not being represented but also there is a lack of products available. For an example of marketing: Jourdan Dunn was the first black female on the cover of vogue since Naomi Campbell in 2002 (also did a post on this here).

Catwalk Crisis 
A shocking statistic is that 79.98% of the models at New York fashion week were caucasian, only 8.08% black, 8.1% asian and 3.19% Latino, with some shows not including models of colour at all or as low as one (Spring 2014). Nykhor Paul recently spoke out about being the only one having to bring her own make up to shows and how hairstylists were unable to work with her natural afro hair leaving it damaged and her feeling degraded. The heart wrenching part is that they call themselves professionals in the field yet are only skilled with one type of beautiful.

I presented these to my lecturers and they praised me on my passion for the topic. The feedback I received was positive and although I'm fully aware of how controversial these topics can be I think they are important and should be discussed openly rather then swept under the rug. Dissertations have to answer a statement or question and any of my three possible choices were ideal for both positive and negative debates. 

After my presentation we discussed my next few steps and where to go from here. As I had covered such a broad number of areas under the topic I had to pick one area that interested me the most. If you are having the same or similar problem I will be narrowing them down by mind mapping them all and including the different pieces of research. Then I will list a few example questions and/or statements which I could use for each topic and this will help to visualise what you have if you are struggling to decide. They also gave me some further things to look in to within my topics which may be in my interest. 

So I better go and get on with that now! I will be back in my next post of this series with a final idea and proposal talk.

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