Image of the opening title of Semi Permanent in a dar

Semi Permanent 2022

After such a long wait for many of us creatives to get together at a design conference (thanks to the pandemic for this and all the other goodies that you have delivered over the last couple of years), it was such a treat to finally be able to attend Semi Permanent in real life at Carriageworks in Sydney this year, sharing a common atmosphere and energy with everyone there. This year’s theme was Perspective.
Here are some of my key takeaways from the event:

“Who am I?”

So many highly regarded creatives who took to the stage shared feelings of asking themselves “Who am I”  in relation to their lack of knowledge and/or feelings of inadequacy around certain pursuits. Imposter syndrome isn’t exclusive to the creative industry, but what was clear was that it seems like this is a normal part of the creative process that needs to be acknowledged and ignored in order to do things that you want to do. Our zone of comfort expands when we step outside it and rarely is it fatal.

Don’t know? Teach yourself

Self initiated learning born from a passion may well get you further than any formal degree. While multiple speakers discussed pursuits in their own self-initiated learning, no-one demonstrated this more to me than speaker Sam Elsom, who pivoted from a fashion designer to essentially a kelp farmer through shear passion, getting advice from the right people (continuous phone conversations the CSIRO – who knew you could just have them on speed dial?!), and doing a bucket load of his own research. Proof that you don’t need to know everything in order to be successful — you just need a drive that will push you through the fear of the unknown. 

Disruption is here

The future comes for us all, in all its disruptive forms – climate change, cryptocurrency, block chain and the meta verse were certainly centre stage topics. Adaptability, flexibility and a willingness to accept and embrace change are conscious choices and a far more productive headspace to many of the roadblocks and challenges ahead.  

Pursue your passions

Overarchingly, this event was a reminder to make the work you are passionate about. In the past I have tried to reconcile this concept with the work I get paid to do. That’s important, as we need to be fulfilled on some level by the work we are paid to create. But sometimes, perhaps more often than not, we should be trying to fill our own cups up with our own creative pursuits, away from the banality of deadlines and budgets. As creatives, we all have ideas brewing in the background. It’s time to make them come to life, for our own creative fulfilment. 

Design conferences like these are important professional development opportunities for creatives. I felt the creative stagnation lift and left feeling re-invigorated, light and ready to explore. We are better when we are sharing our creative pursuits with our community.

Semi Permanent is an annual design conference held in Sydney.

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