‘The new beds are actually going to be replacing our old beds, so it’s not actually going to be improving the situation. Because our current wards are really, pretty appalling, they’re not really fit for purpose, I mean they don’t have on suite bathrooms they have three or four bathrooms for 19 beds. They’re just completely unsuitable environments for anyone to be in.’
After a challenging start to the year, I think it’s important to reflect and dismantle the challenges that academia has presented me. 2017 has been a very profound and deeply precarious time for me both as an individual and as an academic. Physical and mental health disturbances in conjunction with my performance on my MA degree has made me question my capabilities and my identity. Firstly I want to address how rewarding my work on modules such as ‘Screen Cultures and Selves’, ‘Transnational Subjectivity’ and in particular ‘Contemporary Expectations’ have been to myself and my mental wellbeing. Using my subjectivity to place myself within the theoretical concepts and the challenges that modern days presents has allowed me to express and channel feelings I would usually suppress and exhibit them on a public platform. The fact that these modules ran alongside an extensive mental health assessment really helped me express and unleash thoughts, feelings, memories and emotions that I have heavily repressed for most of my life.
I have always felt on the periphery in relation to others, I have always thought that I have been playing pretend and had trouble expressing myself accurately. I always felt that something wasn’t quite right but could never explain what it was. It’s been a long and turbulent road to where I am now, tears, tantrums and overwhelming fears of inadequacy. Last week I finally received a full diagnosis for both Borderline Personality Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder. When I was first presented with these labels together I couldn’t quite accept it. How could I possibly be autistic? I’m so confident, social, loud opinionated and expressive. The more I thought about it the more I realised that for the majority of my life, the Lauren that people got to know me by was in fact a façade. Behind closed doors I am sensitive, incredibly self critical, isolated and constantly anxious. Due to social pressure and lack of understanding myself I created a character, I presented the Lauren I thought I should be. It’s overwhelmingly awesome how complex the mind can be and how all this had happened without my knowledge. The fact is autism manifests differently in women than it does with the male counterpart. Due to both having autism and childhood trauma that led to the development of a personality disorder, I have struggled deeply with my identity and who I am. This constant confusion and conflicting battle of personalities in my mind made striving for good grades almost impossible. Being caught between being totally consumed by a subject and then so quickly being so uninterested and dissatisfied really made university a challenge for me.
Since diagnosis, I feel like I am finally getting to know myself for the first time in my life. I’m finding out who the really Lauren is and in a way I finally feel connected to who I was as a child after so long of being disconnected and unable to recognise myself. Academia and education have been significant for this realisation to take place. Without partaking in such inward and subjective facing modules, I don’t think I would have been able to process all this confusion in such a therapeutic way. Reading back all my work over the past year has really helped me get to know myself and understand why I am the way I am. For the first time in my life I feel exited and liberated in my journey of identity, I have so much more to learn about myself and the world around me. I’m so grateful for everyone who has assisted me in this life-changing journey, Lecturers and colleagues who believed in me when I didn’t even know how to believe. I am Lauren Lucia Joyce and if I can come this far despite everything, I can’t wait to see where life is going to take me next.
This week we we’re given the task to come up with a concept for a magazine show for the film festival along with ideas for a PR stunt to spark attention and gather momentum for East Winds. Throughout my experience in working at the DMLL I was lucky enough to learn a few marketing techniques within event planning and I knew that if we are going to create a PR stunt it needs to be coherent with the way in which we sell the festival. My first initial idea for the PR stunt was taken from the Sony bouncy balls advert. I was thinking about it from a production stance as if we had many cameras from many angles we could make it seem as if the volume of bouncy balls is more than in reality…
I thought it would be great to have some purple bouncy balls from Coventry Cathedral down to Square One, where the film festival would be taking place. I knew the branding is very important and if we used the same purple for the bouncy balls as we did for the purple font on the logo our audience is more likely to associate the two colours together. The second idea I came up with Rose Gorgieva, we were carefully thinking about the branding of the festival and the concept of ink, if we were going to continue using the ink splatter throughout the festival branding then perhaps it would be a good idea to mimic the ink aesthetic with some purple powder paint. We took our inspiration from festivals of colours or cultural celebrations like Diwali.
The magazine show I had little to do with the planning as I wanted to give others a chance to take the lead with planning. I agreed to take part in the production of the magazine show once the concept had been planned and thought out.
As I have been part of the media department at Coventry University for a substantial amount of time now, I was already aware of the East Winds Film Festival and it’s origins from the East Asian Film Society. Over past years, I had attended the film festival twice and even written some reviews of films of the festival. When it was announced that the East Winds Film Festival was going to be embedded into our module, Transcultural Distribution, I was excited that as a course we have been given the opportunity to gain some experience in event planning and production which is the field I have worked in previously. As a cohort we are very lucky to partake in an outward facing event that promotes engagement from the local community but also transcends internationally with involvement and engagement from film companies and members of industry from East Asia.
Throughout my work on my undergraduate degree I managed to gain skills and experience in Videography and these skills took me to Costa Rica to work alongside one of the leading news outlets of San Jose. I also had been working for the Disruptive Media Learning Lab for over a year specialising in sound and video production of events and promotional material. Having learnt how to navigate a camera and work the set up of all technical and sound equipment it seemed natural for me to go for the role of production manager as I believed my previous experience would be very beneficial to the production team as a whole. I’m experienced with working under pressure, working to deadlines and all pre and post production techniques. As there was an overwhelming amount of people applying to work within production we were split into two teams and to my delight I was appointed production manager of team one.