Melissa Silk is a Sydney based educator. She observed closely the working-from-home experience during isolation. Under the stress of writing her doctoral thesis, Melissa finds the isolation a challenge on how to prioritise time. The journal is a self-reflection series documenting all sorts of isolation incidents in forms of drawing, collage, text and making.
“The problem, it seems, was not households stockpiling, but that everyone did it at once, in a panic and in the teeth of a crisis, rather than as a normal part of national preparedness.”
We asked Melissa three questions about her experience of isolation, completing this journal and her hope for the future. These are her responses:
Describe the experience of the period of isolation for you.
Isolation in many ways has let me off the hook. Too many commitments, too many meetings, too many people in too many circumstances. Isolation meant that I could go slowly, prioritise properly, and consider commitments in my wise mind rather than frenzied.
What does your book represent and how did you approach the challenge?
I approached this like an invitation to tell a story, one that might express the simple things that kept me going while in isolation. The narrative includes small and large incidents that have occurred during this time, portrayed through drawing, collage, text and making. It was not a challenge; it was a delight. It was good to check in with myself and record the micro events that made me smile and feel valued, while the macro events whirled around somewhere external to me.
What do you hope will change in Australia as a result of the pandemic?
I hope that people will continue to move slowly. I hope that we all consider our actions for the greater good and release the binds of neo-liberalism that have been choking us since the 1970s. I hope that people truly understand that we’re all in this together – even if that sounds like a cliché. It’s bloody true. It’s our fault.
Melissa Silk is an educator from Sydney Australia, working extensively in a variety of learning contexts to enhance the status of STEAM, embedding the Arts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Melissa is passionate about exploring connections between imagination, making and mathematics.
Melissa is a director of STEAMpop.zone while also engaged in teaching and research at the University of Technology Sydney where she traverses a range of faculties.
View Melissa Silk's journal here:
Image: Melissa Silk, Design/Isolate Journal (detail), 2020.