Deviating slightly from the usual monthly picks offering, we called on our Oslo-based friend Evan McGuinness to put together a few things he’s been finding helpful in these strange and uncertain times. Given what has been happening in the world as of late, many of us might be struggling with our mental health, our work, or a sense of helplessness in the face of global crises from health to environment to race. Evan has shared what has been helping him through it, and we hope you will get something from his recommendations…
As everyone reading this will (hopefully) acknowledge the world is in the midst of: a pandemic, deconstructing centuries of systemic racism and oppression of minorities, an environmental crisis, an impending recession and political radicalisation as we haven’t seen in decades, or perhaps ever. It’s in this context that I’ll share a few things that have been of use to me in navigating, learning and coping during the past few months.
— Evan McGuinness
An Open Letter to the White Graphic Design Community from Ron Tinsley BLM and the injustices that inspired the movement are not going to be solved by graphic design or design thinking (whatever that is). However, I, as a person in a position of privilege have a responsibility to recognise when my actions or the actions of those around me are limiting the opportunities or discouraging the enthusiasm of people entering or working in the design field. Although written by a black designer in America, the experiences shared by Tinsley in his letter could apply to any predominantly white profession.
There’s No Shortage of Design Work by Eric Karjaluoto This is an article that I revisited when the reality of COVID-19 hit Norway and we realised we were, potentially, in for some difficult times at the studio. What Karjaluoto describes, “instead of competing to design visual assets, you should help design content” is a lot of what we do at B&Y and what we have concentrated on during the pandemic, to help our clients create content to adapt to this new scenario, leading to some interesting solutions.
Two books that were recommended to me recently, a fantastic way to begin with both of these topics with a lot of references for future reading in each.
LISTEN / WATCH
Irish Passport Podcast A fantastic podcast that keeps me connected to home in many ways whether it is updates on the political situation, the history of the Irish language, the housing crisis, Brexit or in recent weeks stories from people living on Direct Provision and young black Irish people discussing racism in Ireland. Particular episodes of note are:
Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) ARISE Instagram Takeover Chimaobi from ARISE in conversation with artist/art director Jelsen Lee Innocent as part of a series called Amplifying Black Voices, where black artists in Norway shared their reflections, perspectives and experiences in the art scene in Norway. This was a brilliant, honest discussion comparing Jelsen's experiences of growing up in New York, working in design and art circles, how he expresses blackness through his work there and the shift to doing the same in Norway.
The Two Norries Podcast Profoundly honest discussion between two men from Cork's inner city and their struggles with addiction, mental health and how that combination eventually lead them to careers in crime and eventual incarceration before starting the road to recovery. It was inspiring to see these men open up about difficulties with mental health, especially now considering that is going to be a huge issue post pandemic.
Mark Fisher: Cybertime Crisis A fascinating lecture by Mark Fisher on the impact of technology and how that changes our perception of time. I was drawn back to his lectures and writing as the discussions about having excessive amounts of time and how people almost learned to be bored again (a luxury problem compared to many) during the pandemic.
F*ck, That's Delicious; Irish Tacos and Jerk Lamb Lovely to see Dublin pre-pandemic, hopefully the businesses featured here will survive, because I'd love to make a visit to each of them the next time I'm back.
OTHER Life during the height of the pandemic was, as everyone experienced, an extremely stressful and emotionally draining. We were fortunate in Norway that we didn't need the same restrictions as Ireland in terms of 2km limits from your home etc. So it was still possible to get out for a run or exercise in a park which was huge for me in terms of managing my mental health during that period. On a recent podcast Blindboy explained the role exercise plays for him in his mental health regime.
Martin, Christian and I did a short article with The Brand Identity on how we dealt with the challenge of working from home during the height of the pandemic here in Oslo. Hopefully we won't be returning to that situation any time soon.