Five years ago I was an uncertain fresher studying English and History at the University of Southampton. Now I’m halfway through a part-time MA in Cultural Management at King’s College. I’ve gone from the Brontës to business plans.
Would I make the same choices again?
Yes, absolutely. Arts education can be incredibly interesting and rewarding.
During the summer I asked a few friends and contacts to share their perspectives on the value of studying for an arts or humanities degree.
Here are four key benefits:
This week I’m happy to be introducing you to my cousin Josie. Josie runs AMMA, a social enterprise that trains and employs mothers in Sri Lanka’s central highlands. AMMA uses colour from food waste and local plants to create beautiful, natural textiles. Read our interview below.
Molly: What led you to start AMMA?
Josie: A few different reasons. Something needed to be done about the high unemployment levels amongst mothers in the tea picking communities here. Around the same time, Child Action Lanka, the local charity we work with, was looking to start income generating initiatives to become more financially sustainable.
I wanted to build an enterprise that demonstrates a different, fairer, more wholesome way of doing business in the fashion / textile industry. This gives me the opportunity to promote natural, botanical dyes, which I believe are a much safer alternative to synthetic dyes for both our planet and our wellbeing.
I’m thrilled to be publishing this interview with Natasha Lipman, blogger, podcast host and freelance writer / website designer / social media manager. Natasha suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Histamine Intolerance and ME. She regularly shares insights into life and work with chronic illnesses.
Molly: I started following your blog in 2014/15, when it was still called Nutritiously Natasha. What first led you to writing about your experiences online?
I recently caught up with Corrie Jones, who founded and runs her own social media consultancy business. Corrie and I met at university, where we both volunteered with charity societies. I’ve loved seeing Corrie’s career develop since then, so I thought she would be a great addition to this interview series. Enjoy!
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Beckett, Co-Founder of Birdsong, a London-based ethical fashion brand. Birdsong’s mantra of ‘no sweatshops, no photoshop’ is one I’m definitely on board with. The team works with a range of women’s groups and young designers to create sustainable, socially impactful pieces. I’ll let Sarah share the rest.
Molly: What led you, Sophie and Ruba to set up Birdsong?
Sarah: We all did the Year Here programme in 2014. Year Here is a postgraduate programme for young people who are interested in social change. It gives you a range of experiences in the social sector and you have to build solutions to problems along the way. We all had different experiences, but shared interests. Sophie had already been involved with lots of women’s activism.
This week I spoke to the interesting and admirable Rosie Tressler, CEO of Student Minds. We chatted about work, leadership, mental health and self-care. I hope you enjoy the interview.
Molly: For any readers who aren’t familiar with the organisation, what is Student Minds?
Rosie: Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. We work to empower students and members of the university community to look after their own mental health, support others and create change. In the years to come, we are hoping to create a thriving higher education community.
Today I’m happy to be sharing an interview with Ishita Ranjan, better known as Ranj. I’ve been in touch with Ranj for a few years, thanks to mutual friends and our involvement with Student Hubs. Ranj is encouraging, helpful, intelligent and ambitious. These qualities come together in her latest venture, Care Package Company. Read on to see what Ranj has to say about starting a social enterprise, self care and more.
I first met Sarah in early 2013 at a training day for Student Hubs’ Social Impact Internship Scheme, when she was a recent graduate working on Oxford Hub’s programmes and I was a first year student at Southampton. We were brought together again at the start of 2016 through Worthwhile’s mentoring stream.
Since then, we’ve discussed goals, decisions, wellbeing and challenges – both global and personal. I appreciate our conversations as a place to share current experiences and longer-term plans. I also enjoy hearing about Sarah’s career, including her work on Monthlies, the social enterprise she started in 2015.
For these reasons, I recently asked Sarah if she would be interested in being featured in an interview on this blog. Read on for highlights from our conversation about feminism, social enterprise and life decisions.