Introduction to Dr. Zoe Laughlin
Dr. Zoe Laughlin is an artist, maker and materials expert. She works on many projects and goes to many interviews and talks. She is the co-founder and director of The Institute of Making, at the University of London, one of the best universities in the world. At this interview, we asked a range of questions to understand what it’s like in her career.
1. At what point in your life did you find an interest in being an artist or materials expert?
Well, I have always been creative and enjoyed creative activities. As a child, I particularly enjoyed art and remember making cricket bats and hover boards with children’s toolkits; regardless of it being considered more of a boy’s toy.
2. What is a typical day in your job like?
A day in my job is definitely a balance of meeting people, discussing future projects, and receiving and replying to emails. As well as on other days, I could be in the workshop experimenting, giving talks, making TV programs and finally taking a walk home. Taking a walk home instead of going on the trains or buses helps me to think about important things, relax or even give me inspiration for projects.
3. What sacrifices have you had to make to succeed in this field and do you think the sacrifices were worth it?
I’m sure I've made all sorts of sacrifices, but because they have been my choice, I don’t really see them as sacrifices.
4. Is your work primarily individual or do you work in groups and teams?
My work is mostly in groups and teams as most projects include other people and it is quite rare if you work on a project alone. The Institute of Making is a team and we all have different roles. However, it is important to have a good team and I, personally, make sure I have a good team to work with.
5. Who is the most famous person you have worked with?
The most famous person I have worked with is probably Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.
6. Did anything ever make it difficult for you to achieve everything you have achieved today?
I have dyslexia, and I didn’t read an actual book till I was 17. During my time in school, they tried to give me special lessons, which I didn’t like at all. Even though my dyslexia was an obstacle, I made sure not to give up, and even though it made exams difficult, I still did my best.
7. What special advice do you have for a student seeking to qualify for your position?
I think the best advice I can give is just find the thing that excites you and gives you joy. Even if you face difficulties, perceiver and work your hardest.
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