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Faculty of Education and Arts - Graduate Speaker

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Ms Lisa Hannaford


Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, fellow graduates, I find it easy to pinpoint the time when I realised I knew where I wanted to take my life. I grew up on what was classed a 'remote' cattle farm in the heart of the South West, and being so rural, we were pretty cut off. When we upgraded our prehistoric dial-up internet to the 'lighting fast' broadband network offered in 2005, I found I could now load an entire webpage within about 40 seconds. It was truly incredible stuff. The internet really opened the world up for me, I soon found I was browsing blogs, gushing over objects designed by Karim Rashid, interiors by Zaha Hadid and architecture by Frank Gehry. I felt something stir deep inside of me, like a beast was woken within.

Design is what gets me out of bed in the morning, it's what gets me stuck in a Wikipedia worm-hole in the afternoons and it's what I drunkenly rave about to my friends at 3am on a Sunday morning. I feel extremely lucky that I've discovered my passion and that it's where I'm taking my career. What interests me about design was summed up perfectly by my favourite designer and future husband, Philippe Stark. "My idea is to bring happiness, respect, vision, poetry, surrealism and magic [to design]. We have to replace beauty, which is a cultural concept, with goodness, which is a humanist concept."

I've studied at ECU for six and a half years, and it has been my major focus for my entire adult life so far. I completed a University Preparation Course in 2006, started my Bachelor in Environmental & Spatial design in 2008 and finished my Masters of Design: Display and Events in 2013. I've turned in assignments made of pancakes, x-rays and pipe-cleaners, designed condom packaging, wallpaper and bespoke furniture. I got messy in the woodwork shop, worked part-time dressing window displays for a chain of adult stores, and hosted an Australian-first exhibition showcasing local digital artists. This year, I completed a major thesis on my hometown of Manjimup and its heritage buildings and am currently working with the Shire of Manjimup and other organisations, aiming to conserve and restore the Art-Deco character of the town. I'm thrilled that I get the opportunity to use my developed design skills to improve the town where I was raised, and I feel it is a fantastic opportunity to give something back.

At this point I wanted to throw in a quote from a topical ‘voice of our generation’ type, but all Miley Cyrus talks about is twerking and that isn’t very relevant, so we’ll go with a quote from Steve Jobs. He once said "The only way to do great work is to love what you do". I'm proud of every project I've worked on, every piece I've created, because I know in my heart that I put my whole into it. I've found myself with little spare time as I overcommit myself to activities, I can't seem to stop myself from saying yes to anything that will look good on my resume. It's not a drag for me though, because it's all experience and it's all taking me a step closer to achieving my goals.

It's this advice that I offer to you, the graduating class of 2013. Find that passion and harness it. Whether it's your job or your hobby, you must have something that becomes your 'thing'.

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