Harriet Watts

Founding director and designer at The Fortynine Studio / Tutor and lecturer at UNSW Art + Design2016 Sydney Fellowship

Harriet Watts SydFP16

"Future Makers got me back to a place where I have the energy and confidence to build and communicate projects I’m passionate about."

What was the most valuable thing you got out of the Future Makers Fellowship?

An understanding of my place in the field of sustainability, and how best to contribute what I have to offer

Why are you passionate about sustainability? What was the moment or event that made you decide to become a ‘change maker’ in your field?

I’ve always seen humans as part of a larger ecosystem, and believed in respecting, learning from and protecting diversity in all species. As a young adult I learned that this view was not widely shared. Studying design I got tired of seeing so much celebrated work that reinforced the status quo. I became more and more interested in how design and creative thinking could develop new solutions and help create paradigm shifts that we desperately need. Towards the end of my degree I read a lot of sustainability theory and started working towards building a practice that reflected my values.

How did the Future Makers Fellowship play a role in directing your current path or project?

Future Makers got me back to a place where I have the energy and confidence to build and communicate projects I’m passionate about (and a community to back me). Learning about different types of leadership helped me to better understand when to step up, when to ask for help, and how to be more me.

In 25 words or less, tell us why leadership for sustainability is important.

Sustainability is a complex and multi-faceted problem that can feel easier to ignore. We need leaders to show people how things can be done better.

What do you plan to do next on your sustainability journey?

I’m currently working on a closed loop solution that takes end of life denim to create sophisticated contemporary and practical objects. I want to show people how beautiful and strong this waste material can be. And I’ll keep working with The Fortynine Studio to produce considered objects from local and waste materials, simple and hand production methods.

What are three words you would use to describe the Fellowship Program?

Immersive, supportive, propelling

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