Leicester (Les-tah)

A TL;DR to why I chose to live in Leicester

The city of Melbourne. The most liveable city in the world. A city obsessed with coffee and food culture. A city of activism and progressiveness. A beacon of hope in a country filled many ills to be remedied. Whatever that city is; it’s my home and it was a safe bubble. All the many things I needed to escape from in order to grow.

How many important moments will I miss back at home? How long will I last on my own? What do I want to work towards? How do I wish to spend my time? What life do I wish to lead? These were many questions ringing in my mind any time I had a moment of silence. It was a constant reminder that life does not naturally fall into place and I need to work for it.

Leicester, given it’s current socio-economic state, does not have the support or resources to allow working class people to develop the city in a positive or meaningful way – at least not as rapidly as the talent it attracts and dispenses. But I felt that Leicester was a progressive city deep down – it represented the morals I wanted to be in by extension but not entirely representative of my home in Melbourne.

This was felt before Leicester City FC won their premiere league. Even before Leicester became one of the few cities in the Midlands that voted to stay in the EU. I knew there was something important here for me to find. That important thing started with Un.titled.

The early days at Un.titled had the feeling that neither of us knew where my strengths were. I had a degree in graphic design but a growing interest in the digital and web environment. Strengths weren’t as much as strengths as they were experimentations powered by creativity and curiosity.

I was here, this is now – and I need to make the most of the time here. Any downtime I had between projects, I would offer support and look at the repos of existing and past projects – and read documentations on the tools that were used. I would join in conversations regarding technology and development.

Remain curious to remain relevant

A modification to a quote from one of favourite lecturers (Ned Culic) – who would preach it like gospel – ‘remain relevant’ he would say – and it is one that has stuck and influences my approach to self-education.

By the end of my time at Un.titled, I was contributing towards the codebase and suggesting different tools and approaches combined with design theory – one of them being fluid typography. None of which I ever thought I would be doing a year ago.

After a year of working in a small local and well-respected studio, I continually admired the level of talent they had attracted. For a small studio, they were defying the odds of meeting high production needs. Challenging the technical boundaries and punching above their weight than any studio I had looked into locally. But that also was the reason to why it became more difficult to hire locally and stay.

Un.titled became a stepping stone for youths and newcomers to learn and experiment in, leaving only remnants of their skills in the workplace before leaving as quickly as they came. Some would return, some would begin lives elsewhere in the UK. Unfortunately I was also one that had decided to leave after a year.

Leicester wasn’t a paradise, it wasn’t a substitute for excitement, it wasn’t a town with a cultural impact in the modern day. Leicester was a playground, a field where aspiring and lost souls would spark before departing to a much larger stadium. Fortunately that spark for me raised my confidence and ability, my identity, independence and most importantly built lasting connections and friendships.

My stay in the UK is on a timer, and I didn’t see myself living here forever. Leicester is neither the final destination nor was it a waste of time. It was the haven that took me in and reignited my interest in web development, and fuelled a passion to educate other designers.