Welcome to Our Lab.
Create Your Own Space
If you are an applicant for a new field, things are not as straightforward as if you were in an established one. You should be ready for enjoying your independent journey. You will have to prepare everything yourself: projects, funds, networks, and a suitable position. In short, you will have to create your own place. To be able to do that, here are some tips:
First, stay true to your own intrinsic, rooted-in-experience vision: what kind of change do you want to bring to the world as a result of your work? This is the engine of your journey. Don’t worry too much even if your problem cannot at first be well-extracted or well-identified in existing fields. Sincere and ceaseless approaches to your vision sharpen your problem and lead you to your own place.
Second, take advantage of any opportunity to create your own work. Since your vision has not yet emerged or been recognized, often in the early stages you might be surrounded by offers or projects that seem irrelevant. But they are hidden opportunities. Use creativity and negotiation to make counter-proposals which better focus on your vision. From the seemingly less relevant offers, create your own work that you can be proud of. In this way, others will recognize and understand your vision and your work.
Third, keep moving until you find people who can evaluate your work. Exploring frontiers means that your work is unfamiliar in existing communities. It may be difficult to be supported and evaluated appropriately within a small world. Thinking back on my experiences, the people who evaluated me in the early stages had always been the super-established, who might also have similar experiences in their own way. It is important to search for circumstances which maintain your self-confidence. Sense and read carefully incongruity in yourself, it is the clearest signpost which tells you the next direction. Believe in yourself and seize better opportunities as they arise.
Never compromise your vision until you create your own place. Form and reinforce your own base to pursue your vision. It will be a long journey, so you’ll have to pursue your ideal private life at the same time, too. Involve companions into your rocky journey. Each relationship with predecessors and peers who share my vision in various communities, not only academia, has been my lifeline. They form the base to keep me walking in steadfast vision.
Akane Matsumae, Ph.D.
Associate Professor at Kyushu University,
Social Innovation Design, Faculty of Design