From The Edges – Qianyi Li, Masters Degree in Creative Practice at Unitec

4 months ago by

In our ‘From The Edges’ series we feature Aotearoa NZ Academic Design Projects. Our practice as designers can be seen to be explored, pushed and perhaps become something entirely new where it exists at the edges of our practice in the world of academia. Free from the constraints of commercial outcomes and clients, designers explore and challenge existing paradigms.

In this article, we talk with Qianyi Li about pursuing a Masters Degree in Creative Practice at Unitec

What is your background and how did you get to where you are now?
Hi , My name is Qianyi Li. After finishing my undergraduate degree in China, I moved to New Zealand. My bachelor’s degree was in industrial design. However, when I initially moved to New Zealand, I learned cookery. The learning curve was a little bumpy, but this experience taught me what I actually enjoy. So I began preparing for my new study course. I also learnt how to use animation software online. Based on some previous part-time experience in graphic design, I was better prepared to enter this sector.

Can you give us some background on your current project?
Before I started my capstone project, I was always concerned with social issues such as environmental issues, drink driving, gender equality and so on. I hoped to help solve some of these problems through art and design, and in early 2020, after experiencing Auckland turning into a dusty city due to the fires in Australia, I became more concerned about environmental issues.

As the New Zealand government has been planning the implementation of a ZERO carbon plan by 2050 in recent years in terms of the Paris Agreement, I was inspired to think about sustainable public transport as a topic to address.

What were the catalysts or inspirations for your Masters Degree in Creative Practice project?
Before the start of this project, I watched a lot of movies, animations and books to find inspiration. When I read the book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell mentioned that, “The myth is the public dream, and the dream is the private myth.” it is undeniable that people’s unconscious minds desire a better life and state. The invention of the private motor vehicles is a perfect type of the desire in society for a better life. In the 20th century the motor car embodied a collective lifestyle for modern society and signifier for the individual pursuit of freedom. However, today, cars have also brought us inconvenience, trouble and harm. In considering the contemporary position of the private motor vehicle, the dream of individual transport has become a collective nightmare. These dreams need to change if we wish
to reduce the impacts of climate change.

What was the most challenging part of your research thus far, and how did you overcome this?
Character expression processing, absolutely. Because this is my first personal animation, I don’t have much expertise with face expression processing, so adjusting expressions is a bit difficult. However, my supervisors give me a lot of reference and advice. Allow me to finish this task without difficulty.

Why did you choose this particular program/Unitec to complete your Masters?
Because I believe that Unitec’s creative industry can provide me with the best supervisor, and this program more focus on practice, which is what I value.

How has your Masters Degree impacted upon your own design practice?
I have improved my theoretical understanding of design and project management thinking skills as a result of this programme. And this background will help me in integrating into my new career as soon as possible.

What are your goals and aspirations for the future?
My goal in the future is to break into the animation industry and create some thought-provoking short cartoons that will not only provide people with enjoyment but will also reflect on the meaning of life as well. Nowadays, a large number of brilliant artists have produced fantastic short films. This is a fantastic development. In addition, I plan to learn more new animation techniques and produce more different types of animation.

How can people follow you or where can we see more of your own work?
I usually share some of my daily exercises on Instagram, you’re welcome to follow, I will also share some work exercises in the Facebook community.


Up Next...

2021 Year in Review - DA Conversations Podcasts

While some of us are still on holiday or are slowly getting back into it all, it’s a good time to take a moment to put on a DA 2021 Podcast in the background, or to read one of the DA Top Ten Articles from 2021. We’ve included all of the links to our 2021…

More from 'Design Schools'...

2022 Hot New Things: Huy Tim, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Each summer DA profiles a selection of the top design graduates coming out of our tertiary institutions. We welcome these talented emerging professionals to our industry, learn about their passions, final projects, developing creative confidence and ambitions for the future. Today we speak with Huy Tim, one of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington creative graduates. You…