2017: review

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This is it. It’s the end of the year. Always a good time for a review to move with confidence in the new year. The highs, the lows, the choices we made, their consequences, … it’s all about moving forward.

So, what about my 2017 journey? Well, it has been a particular year for me, with lots of uncertainty and decision making.

It started with graduating from London College of Fashion. In January 2017, my studies were over. I was on the job market. Back then, I wanted to create my own job, founding my own company. I thus started to work as a freelancer – I was actually coached by LCF to go in that direction. I offered services within the spectrum of digital curation and social media, targeting museums. The truth is that it started really slowly. Starting freelance when I had only little experience was hard and, I realized later, maybe not the right move. On the side, I was still working as a sale assistant in a shoe store, which had been my student job. Anyhow, I found my first client after a couple of month: The Fan Museum. I launched their Instagram account. It was a short mission but it was very gratifying to finally work. I will always be grateful to this museum who gave me my first chance.

Parallel to this, I was, since December 2016, discussing a possible mission with a Thai silk company which was looking for an historian researcher to look into the history of the company and write a book. After a few months of discussion and some initial research, the project changed to a 3 years contract to write a PhD on the subject. I found a university which accepted the project and the brand needed to provide the budget. It turned out that after 6 months of negotiation, the company decided to postponed the project indefinitely. In June, I thus found myself with no long term job perspective and with a slow freelance career. I was also starting to be tired of working as a sale assistant. Not being a student anymore, I needed a change. Therefore, I decided to apply for jobs to gain experience. With this in mind and a incredible will to travel, I applied for a job in Hong Kong. It was a Curator of Textile Art position in a non-profit institution. After a long recruitment process, I did not get the job. But it made me think: was it really what I wanted to do, moving to HK and working as a curator of textile art?

The rejections that I faced, freelancing and job hunting, they all made me think. Did I want to do a PhD? Not really. Did I want to move to HK? Not really. What did I want? Still the same thing: working within the field of digital curation, preferably, but not exclusively, with fashion and/or textile. Plus, I wanted to travel, to Thailand or South Africa as first choices. However, I also knew that I still needed to learn. I was a good creative, historian and researcher, but I knew very little about business: finding clients, budgeting a project, managing time…

That’s when I decided to move back to Paris, to go back to my mother’s. I needed some time to think, to figure out what I wanted and allow myself some time to make it happen. That’s also when and why I created this blog, to have a safe space to express my opinions and contribute to the discipline in my own way but most importantly, to develop my own perspectives about my work and journey. This blog helps me figuring things out.

During that process, I discovered Formula D Interactive, a design company which creates digital interactive exhibits for museums, based in Cape Town, South Africa. It was perfect! They could teach me the skills I wanted to learn and they were based in a country I obsessively wanted to go to. I applied to intern there as a project manager. On my first day back in Paris in September, after a month and two interviews, I received an email from them: I was offered a six months internship. I knew what my next step was and I was really excited about it. After a few weeks of preparation, I was on a plane to Cape Town.

Since then, I have been working as a project manager at Formula D Interactive, living in Cape Town. And I can say I am happy I made that decision. I am learning exactly what I wanted in terms of exhibition-making: budget, timeline, managing resources, … and I live in one of my dream cities. It’s a truly amazing experience. Yes, it was difficult at first to acclimate to a place so far away from what I knew but I overly enjoy it. It’s a constant exchange: challenging but very rewarding.

So, 2017 ends on a good note: I am following my dream, and hard as it is, I would not change it for a thing right now. It’s been a challenging year. I’ve had to make decision about my career, where I wanted to live, what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. I struggle at first, faced rejections and then allowed myself some time to think. I had to accept that I needed a break to figure things out. This time allowed me to make a decision for me and not for others. Is it difficult? Yes, it is, very. But when you do it, you know you’re doing the right thing.

What is your review of 2017? Tell me your story!

And Happy New Year to all! Let’s make a fab 2018!

Maxime

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