Thursday, 13 November 2014

I'm back… and with a new job!

Phewwwww…. so the last time I posted on here was waaaay back in January 2013 and the irony was that I intended to stick to updating my blog on a more regular basis, and then I left it nearly 2 years before I did! Hmmm!

Tbh, things happened and stuff got in the way and updating my blog didn't become priority. An illness which then became a serious illness saw me out of action for nearly half of 2013 but it helped me to re-evaluate life and stuff and I decided to move on in my career, not least because my illness made me realise the 1.5 hr morning commute from Gateshead to Middlesbrough (38 miles each way!) had just become too much!

First of all I treated myself to a new car, then secondly I went all out to secure a role which may have been written specifically for me!

So, in January 2014 I became an employee of Sunderland University on the very new BA (Hons) in Fashion Product and Promotion founded in 2009. After being at Sunderland for 10 months now it has been without doubt the best move I made. Initial worries about it being a new course soon washed away when I realised just how talented and motivated the students are!

My first group of graduates finished in June this year and out of 21 graduates we had 7 1st class honours… yes, SEVEN, and the most important bit was that 4 of them were offered jobs within weeks of graduation and it makes impressive reading! Graphics and communication assistant at Topman, Design Assistant at Jonathan Saunders, Homeware Designer at Matalan and Design Assistant at AllSaints.

The best thing about the course is how diverse it is… we don't just do fashion design, the students can choose to specialise in design, styling, journalism, photography, brand development, event management - in fact as long as it has some link to fashion they can do whatever they want and we wholeheartedly encourage it!

Here are some examples of the students work - as you can imagine, I am incredibly proud of all of them!!
Helen Nelson

Adam King 
Ashleigh Plant

Katie Black

Tahera Begum

Tamzin Cummings

Katie Black

Adam King

Faye McArthur

Jess Callighan

Kate Cluness

Kayla Hindhaugh

Tahera Begum

Tamzin Cummings

Mun Seow (Yui)

We are now full swing into my first complete year with a full team and I get to teach across all 3 year groups! Every day is different and to cap a brilliant year I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in September! There's not many people who can say they love their job but I really do.. I can't imagine doing anything different!

I work hard to increase the profile of the course and recently I've been running workshops at the Baltic art gallery in Gateshead and I'm on my way to Manchester shortly to attend the Design Your Future event where we hope to entice some new students.

I see it as a real challenge especially as I'm a graduate of the highly successful Fashion Marketing degree at Northumbria University which has been running for over 20 years & my intention is to get the fashion degree at Sunderland on the same level. There was a lot of interest shown at Graduate Fashion Week in London back in June so hopefully the future is bright!

Aside from that I'm still working hard on creating freelance illustrations and my landscape drawings have been shortlisted to be included in a new art gallery in Gateshead.

Here's a few things I've done this year - hopefully a lot more to come!

and a couple of my 'normal' illustrations…

Now….what's the chances of me keeping on top of this blog?!! Watch this space! :)


  1. Hi Naomi! I'm Alex and I was hoping you could answer a quick question I have about your blog, Let Your Pencil Dance! If you could email me back at Alex.d(at)weddingtonway(dot)com that would be great!

    1. Hi Alex, can you e mail me directly with bit more info to naomi(dot)austin(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk thanks!