Posts Tagged ‘networking’

Three Months in Manchester

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Today is the three-month-versary of my new adventure in Manchester. I realised this last night and almost fell over when I realised that I have been here for a quarter of a year. That sounds like a very long time but once again I am feeling that mixed sensation where the time has both flown past and I feel like I have been here forever. I am not, however experiencing the infamous Three-Month-Depression which is a relief. Perhaps it is because I haven’t moved here from my home town and so I don’t have that intense desire to return to Perth. Instead, this morning on Skype I declared to my best friend that I am HAPPY. And I meant it.

I haven’t written on my blog for a significantly long time and I apologise to anyone who has been habitually checking to see what cake I have eaten recently (although that you can see on my Instagram account here.) I can assure you that I have been eating cake (some good, some not so good) and generally enjoying myself in this reliably rainy city. What have I been doing… Allow me to summarise:

  • I have settled into my new office space and have started having light conversation with some of the other people working there. It has been great to be able to leave my apartment and my ridiculously uncomfortable dining chairs to be able to sit on almost-as-uncomfortable wooden school chairs in a communal office space. Nice to have other people around and to hear the gentle hum of work.
  • I got a job! I will soon be Manchester’s best waitress, working at a brand new restaurant that is opening in the fancy-pants shiny office zone of Spinningfields. The restaurant is called “Artisan” and it is going to have local artists’ work on the walls. Plus it is owned by the same company who run Australasia – my favourite restaurant in Manchester and home to two of the best desserts I have ever consumed in my life. So I have high hopes for the desserts on offer in this restaurant that I will hopefully be able to sample regularly.
  • I have been networking like a professional. It started off as a way to make friends and has evolved into potential work opportunities – I have been to numerous meet ups with people working in creative industries, or just random people who decided to come and drink beer and draw on paper table cloths. It has been a lot of fun and my confidence in meeting new people has grown enormously.
  • I spent a fantastic Sunday afternoon walking around Manchester with a new photographer/web designer friend, interviewing random Mancunians to use for a book proposal. Nathan and I were applying for job to create a book about veteran cricket players in Yorkshire. Sadly, we didn’t get the job, but we did get a taste for the crazy characters of this city and are now planning our own book. Stay tuned.
  • The sun has come out twice. This weekend was a bank holiday and the sun blessed us with its presence on Saturday and Sunday. I discovered that having my skin covered up for seven months has resulted in it being the whitest it has ever been, and also the most sensitive to the sun. Exposure to a few rays and turned red. I have learnt a valuable lesson. Today it is raining again so it is back to long sleeves.

I have been busy busy busy which has been fantastic. I am making friends, meeting new people, exploring Manchester, visiting exhibitions, writing, eating, doing. Life is good and Manchester is treating me well. Although I would greatly appreciate less pathetic drizzle. It gets in the way, is quite depressing and my umbrella has officially carked it. I really need to invest in water proof clothing.

Understanding Paris

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Last week I furthered my understanding of Paris by attending two events – an exhibition by illustrator and comic designer, Jean-Jacques Sempé, and a lecture about American artists in Paris in the time period between the two World Wars. Both provided an interesting insight into the development of Paris during the 20th century.

Sempé

The Sempé exhibition was held at the Hôtel de Ville and I had to elbow my way through the mass of people who had turned out to see it. Despite having been open for numerous weeks, there was still a huge interest in the works of the French illustrator. Sempé is known for his comic character, Petit Nicolas, and his representations of France as he provides a comical yet truthful view of la vie en France. The exhibition had a huge selection of his work and it clearly demonstrated the processes and time Sempé puts into his drawings before he is able to publish. It is sometimes relieving to see that it takes time and effort to get work published and that I have to put my head down and get some work done if I want to get anywhere with my writing.

Sempé

So French.

American Expats in Paris

My American friend, Greg, had a spare ticket to attend a lecture on the American expatriate artists and writers who arrived in Paris in the early 20th century. The talk was run by the Harvard Club of Paris and it wasn’t until the day of the lecture that I realised I was going to be hanging out with Harvard graduates. I put on my “I’m intelligent” shoes.

The talk was presented by a Harvard lecturer, Sue Weaver Schropf, and explored why so many artists and writers from America decided to move to Paris between 1913 and 1930 and what happened when they got here. There were many post-lecture discussions about Midnight in Paris as essentially the lecture covered the same time period, only with a better script and no terrible acting. Essentially, these artists were coming to find a place where they could work with other artists and not be restricted or controlled in the work that they were producing. It was a city of cultural and artistic development where ideas were flowing and it was ok to be different.

It was an interesting talk, although I would have liked it to have gone a bit deeper into modernist theory as I was craving a university level cultural studies class . Obviously time and audience-knowledge didn’t allow for it but the talk was still an interesting overview of that artistic movement.

What I really enjoyed about the evening was the room we were seated in and the Harvard graduates themselves. The room was beautiful – located in a building just off the Champs Élysée, it had a frescoed ceiling, big french windows and a view of the Grand Palais. Spectacular. Almost as spectacular were the egos sitting in the room.

Maybe I am jealous (I’m not), but it does seem that being a Harvard graduate is a very socially and economically important thing. I have only seen this sort of networking on television and I thought that that was where it belonged, but apparently it exists in the real world, too. After the lecture, the woman in charge of the evening thanked the speaker and then proceeded to make the claim that the only other place in the world where people are encouraged to come together and work and discuss and create amazing things is the Harvard campus. I almost laughed.

Then came the drinks and nibbles and the real networking began. I stuck to Greg like glue, not wanting to reveal my true identity incase I would be kicked out onto the street (nice street, though). However, we did begin talking to two men who were both very interested in my ‘escape to Paris’. I think the subject of the evening’s lecture helped as I am in a very teeny-tiny way following the steps of Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. I just need to start drinking more absinthe and hanging out with more prostitutes.

Anyway, as a result I have decided I need to read more books from that time period. Another thing to add to my to-do list.