Realise Your Dream 10 Year Anniversary Q&A

Published:  August 3, 2012
Realise Your Dream 10 Year Anniversary Q&A

Mingle with like-minds, get lost in history, experience culture, meet your heroes, sell yourself, collaborate, transform, find yourself, move on up, then bring it all back home.

They are the 10 reasons why The British Council’s Realise Your Dream campaign has been contributing positively to the international arts industry for 10 years.

The Realise Your Dream campaign celebrates Australian artists who excel within multifaceted creative industries. Celebrating 10 years of nurturing and developing Australian artists, Realise Your Dream offers financial and professional support to artists, giving them the chance to further their careers in the UK.

Taking pride in innovation, leadership and creative potential, the award is open to emerging artists working and/or studying in the fields of visual arts, publishing, design, architecture, music, digital media and the performing arts, and functions as a humbling launching pad for aspiring artists.

Over 10 years, the Realise Your Dream initiative has built a reputation as one of Australia’s leading creative industry prizes, fostering a new culture of global artists.

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary, desktop chats with 2004 winner Karen Wong who is now senior designer for the News and Knowledge team at the BBC, 2004 winner Ross Langdon who now operates his own architecture/design research studio based in London and 2009 winner Timba Smits who is the founder of creative magazine Wooden Toy Quarterly.

Kyamburra Lodge, Uganda. Project by Ross Langdon, Sebastian Kofink, Campbell Drake, Caroline Comino, Ben Milbourne

Ross Langdon

Tell us about your big break?
I have been fortunate over the past six years to have been involved with a number of projects that have enabled me to explore many different countries and experience diverse cultures. Firstly winning the Realise Your Dream award, followed by work in some amazing UK architecture practices, winning a large public competition in Norway, followed by the formation of my company Regional Associates whilst living, designing and build eco-tourism projects in east Africa all contributed to my big break.

Tell us about your current project(s)?
I am currently working on a number of eco-tourism and cultural projects through east Africa. We are exploring new methods of delivering architecture in developing contexts, one that questions traditional modes of architectural practice and celebrates the contexts within which projects are located.

What’s next for you?
Hopefully to continue the mode of architectural practice that we have been evolving in order to grow our business around the world. Also to find a little downtime and enjoy the ride!

Image by Timba Smits

Timba Smits

Tell us about your big break?
I feel like it was quite a gradual break for me, spread over many years of hard work and dedication, rather than a BIG break as such. But after I came to the UK through the Realise Your Dream award in 2010, everything seemed to click into gear. It’s such a bigger picture here and with that comes bigger opportunities. I feel there’s a greater sense of importance put on design here and well, I’ve never been busier and happier in my career.

Tell us about your current project(s)?
After a recent and rather life-threatening event which changed my life forever, I’m setting off on a new course and working on an exciting new project that is very close-to-the-heart (launching November 2012). It’s called the KALEIDOSCOPE International Creative Festival and it will bring everything and everyone I love together into one BIG explosion of inspiration and creative influence. It will showcase a two-day creative conference featuring 14 speakers, masterclass workshops, exhibitions and a whole lot of FUN. Apart from that I’m working on a new book and some designs for Johnny Cupcakes – my favourite brand!

What’s next for you?
So many exciting things. Secret things. New challenges. Helping others through KALEIDOSCOPE. Doing more of what I love and working less. Adopting a healthier balance of work and life. Exploring the world and inspiring others to do great things. Good things.

BBC Food website

Karen Wong

Tell us about your big break?
I think you only get one big break in life. I got my chance in 2004 when I pitched my interactive TV concept to the Realise Your Dream panel. Fresh out of Uni, I told them that my dream job was to one day work in the interactive TV teams at two incredible companies – Sky and the BBC. Up against the most talented young creatives I’ve ever met, to this very day I still can’t believe that I was given the opportunity by the British Council to work in London at both Sky and the BBC.

Tell us about your current project(s)?
Today, I am still working at the BBC as a senior interactive designer on the ‘Homepage, Search and Navigation’ team on some very exciting projects. The most recently launched project that I have worked on was leading the redesign of the BBC Food site for desktop and mobile.

This year, I have been working on the BBC Homepage V5, BBC’s Global Experience Language styleguides for mobile, desktop, tablet and interactive TV and the development of Pan-BBC online enablers and tools.

What’s next for you?
I feel privileged to be given the chance by the British Council to gain so much experience working with world-class teams in the UK’s interactive design industry and meet so many exceptional people.  And so, after almost eight years abroad, I will be returning to Sydney by the end of 2012 to look for work and hopefully give something back to the Australian creative industry.

Introduction written by Latoyah Forsyth.

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