BIG IDEA: Challenge Us
One thing I noticed during my interview process was the importances to impressing the different Deans and higher ups. The extra emphasis of everything beIng perfect in front of titles. I had felt this pressure before when I worked as a Resident Assistant (RA) for the college. The unspoken rule to not interact but to appear happily professional when someone like President Paula Wallace entered the room.
I remember the first time I met President Wallace, she and I danced. It was a hoedown theme RA celebration, held in a barn on a farm in Savannah. It was a beautiful event where President Wallace was on the outskirts observing. I didn’t like how there was this separation between her, her staff and us RA’s. So I walked to where she was seated and asked for her hand to dance with me in the middle of the room.
There was disbelief to see us having a good time together. Staff members and fellow RA’s later asked if I knew what I had done? Like I had crossed a line to do a two-step with the President of the college. All of us advocate creativity and growth, so when did we start to place each other in boxes. Inviting her to dance was my way of showing there was no divide. She had a larger smile on her face and more people began to interact and speak when they saw she was enjoying herself. It was 15 years later at Art Basel when her and I spoke about that dance. She claims to still remember that night and I believe her.
Do I fully understand why the occupational prestige of SCAD exists? I would define it as the validation associated for the cost of attending the university. A reputation that grows with every big accomplishment and achievement made from its students and faculty. Through resources, events and celebrity ambassadorship, SCAD creates a strong empire of wealth and global influence. Even when I graduated in 2004, this prestigious reputation was there. The name of SCAD was in the room before I was. To get hired and be affiliated with that college meant expectations placed on expectations to perform better, even when compensation were not adequate to negotiate. There was no wiggle room to make mistakes.
As creatives, we are problem solvers that learn from facing obstacles. Not all lessons come from being perfect. This is why I chose the Token Persona approach to take during my interview process for the Visualization Coach position. I believe this strategy of not being perfect, will shed light on needed conversations on status, performance and perception within the University.
*It should be noted that the Savannah College of Art and Design would not just hire me because I am Black. I made it to so many rounds because of my referral, portfolio and experience. I chose this narrative because of the impact it would make. To place some truth within a lie that would only affect me (not being offered the position). I wanted to share the perspective of a black male SCAD alum who did not have the SCADamp studio to receive the tools or coaching strategies to communicate their value to a client. The impact of this performance would be to experience the post conversations and feelings from the people conducting the interview. To experience what it would feel like to have a SCAD grad not perform perfectly. Would the college feel like it failed or would that responsibility be placed on the student (my character). Answering that question, would shed light to SCAD’s reputation vs the relationship structure for students, alumni and faculty.
- Engage = Token Persona
- Inspire = Design Skill / Resume
- Impact = Big Reveal