Meghan Doran aims to encourage and inspire more female students to think big and broad about their creative potential.
Meghan (22), who is studying Communication Design at Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Gray’s School of Art, is looking forward to showcasing her project, which highlights Scottish female designers in the creative industries to encourage and inspire more people in Aberdeen, at the annual Degree Show.
Meghan Doran was interested in graphic design and during her time at school she was really passionate about photography so she applied to RGU’s Gray’s School of Art to study Communication Design so she could develop these skills in different contexts.
Her inspiration behind her main project came from her experience in Dusseldorf, Germany, where she studied for a year through the Erasmus+ programme.
She said: “My area of focus is mostly in Graphic Design but I have also done some photography and film projects too. I have also curated events and a workshop because I am interested in expanding opportunities for students to meet with professionals in the creative industry.
“For my main project, I wanted to curate an event that followed from the event I organised for one of my classes in Dusseldorf. I noticed that many of the creative events that I attended had a majority of males invited for panels, talks and leading workshops. I was confused as I saw that both in Scotland and in Germany, a majority of the students were female.
“I wanted to research further into why there was this divide, and I found that less than half of the creative industries are women and only 11% of creative directors are female. I wanted to encourage and inspire more female students to think big and broad about their creative potential.
“While I was in Germany, there were so many women I met and was inspired by and I wanted to highlight and share their stories so that’s when I curated ‘Design Your Future (DYF)’. I invited these women to come and speak at my university about how they got to where they are now.”
Meghan enjoyed the process so much, she decided to continue developing DYF when she returned to Aberdeen as her main final year project – highlighting Scottish female designers in the creative agencies to encourage and inspire more people in Aberdeen, as well as increasing the creative buzz in the city.
Meghan has overcome some challenges throughout her RGU journey however, as she discovered she had dyslexia during her first year, where she admits she also found university quite difficult at the beginning but has found the whole experience very rewarding.
She continued: “The whole experience has been very rewarding but I think it’s been more so due to making full use of all the resources and people here. It is up to you in how you use your time and creativity, but go all out because university is your playground. Once you get into industry, there isn’t as many opportunities to really experiment so that’s why the course was great; because you can experiment as much as you like without any problems because the client you’re trying to please is yourself.”
During her course, Meghan also went on to work with Look Again, a year round programme that develops and supports the creative sector in the north east, curating their Creative PechaKucha Night.
“Having the Look Again team as my mentors really grew my confidence in my ideas and my understanding on how I can get it off the ground once I graduate. I ended up working with them for the whole year doing other projects which has strengthened my portfolio due to the sheer variety of assignments I have been involved with.
“If I hadn’t gone to university, I would definitely not be where I am today. University really helped me clarify what I want to do as well as helping me grow confidence in myself, as a designer, and the work I produce. The course provided experiences to work with clients in businesses, go to London and meet huge agencies, as well as opportunities to live abroad in Germany which I would not have been able to do or have had the confidence to do if I hadn’t gone to university.
“I managed to network very well while I was in Düsseldorf and I received an internship opportunity with Wacom, the international graphic tablet company. Results from curating my PechaKucha event with Look Again has enabled me to meet creatives in Aberdeen and I now have a few collaboration projects planned before I go to Germany.”
Meghan’s work will be on display at The Gray’s School of Art Degree Show, which runs from 15-22 June and will showcase work by students of all disciplines.