In Kōrero with... Kyra Clarke and Fiona Grieve of Threaded Back to Discussion
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7 May 2021

Published by
Nicole Arnett Phillips

Fiona Grieve is an Academic Leader and Creative Director with 20+ years’ experience in design education, research and consultancy. She is engaged in projects that utilise collaborative processes to comprehend and distill information into visual systems. Her practice positions publication design as a reflective and reflexive research platform to facilitate educational discourse and examine practice-based research and industry contexts.
She is Head of Department, Communication Design at Auckland University of Technology and Creative Director at Threaded.

Kyra Clarke is the Founder and Design Director of Threaded (an award-winning design studio) with 15+ years in the design sector.
She enjoys working closely with multi-stakeholder organisations looking to activate and engage with local communities to create positive change. Her work centers mostly around collaborations with local hapū and iwi, creative communities and sustainable networks.

Conceived in 2004 Threaded magazine sought to bridge the gap between established and emerging practice across the creative industries, Threaded magazine is now in it’s 10th year & is an internationally distributed, collaborative, bi-annual publication proudly produced in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

On the back of the magazine, Threaded Design Studio was established in 2007 led by Kyra and Fiona. "A studio of two halves’ with a focus on client-based projects, from print, web and digital, branding and identity, packaging and marketing campaigns to our on going international design project, Threaded Magazine. Collaboration is the key ingredient in our design process; clients actively participate and interact with our creative team through each design phase and our team expands or contracts to meet your needs."

Kyra and Fiona shared insight around reviewing the Publication – Pukapuka, Student – Ākonga, Campaign – Pānuitanga projects submitted to the 2020 Aotearoa Design Archive's pilot.

Mate Act Now Campaign katoitoi V13

Can you share a little on the projects that stood out to you in the categories you reviewed?

The Mate Act Now project resonated for its power of connection and participation, utilising the poster as a construct for protest in a collaborative and visible form during Covid.

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The work that McCarthy studio submitted for The Art Foundation is impressive and promotes an interactive conversation about what the Arts means to New Zealanders.

VOR yellow green mouth

The Voice of Racism from Clemenger BBDO Wellington is extremely powerful and Meddle in the New Zealand Election, Special Group is the kind of creative thinking that has your mind smiling.

Every Kiwi Vote Counts Meddler5

From the student section:

We felt the Tried & True recipe book really captured the essence and importance of family and manaakitanga in a beautifully considered and well designed artifact.

Tried True Recipe 1

The Woven project was extremely professionally conceptualised, curated and executed by students. Such a genuine value exchange showcased here!

A font for Christchurch impressed us with the warmth, personality and homage this typeface paid to Ōtutahi (both people and place).

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Any insights or learnings or trends or things that you felt emerged within the three categories.

COVID was at the forefront of a all three categories we reviewed, which was to be expected and many were familiar projects which signified their reach and impact on New Zealanders across communities.

What did you think you would see beforehand? Did you have any preconceptions or expectations from the work that were either re-affirmed or challenged?

We were impressed by the caliber of participants and projects including the high-levels of editing and reflection that went into the case studies for the archive. Given the timing and work required to write case studies it was great to see the breadth of engagement and eagerness for our community to share insights, projects and practice from emerging to established designers and studios. The clarity and purpose of concepts and the contextual writing that underpinned each project reinforced strong research methods and a focus on developing and executing great ideas.

What projects, approaches or themes were you surprised to discover?

The caliber of ideas, content and message across social, environmental and cultural contexts stood out.

There were highly executed and crafted projects, some straddled global, national and local audiences and you could sense the scale and the urgency to create awareness and foster positive change. All of the projects we selected for the Archive were equally recognised by the other reviewers which is testimony to the impact of the work.

Tell us about a moment of delight in the body of work you reviewed?

The realisation that we were not only evaluating great work and design projects but that we were considering entries and the impact the kaupapa has outside of design - to our place in the world, and our communities. There are many projects here that reveal the role design can play - paying homage to work that makes a difference in Aotearoa is important. Collating an archive to formalise design histories provides an opportunity to showcase the way in which creative ideas connect, relate and tell stories to educate and create positive change.

Finally, Is there anything you want to share about the archive and its Kaupapa?

We definitely viewed a wider range of industry projects; it was good to see design situated in the social good and community engagement space. Collaboration and participation driving content and design solutions was fabulous to see – the format for Kātoitoi really enabled us to view inside process, research methods and user experience prototyping, problem framing and solving through each step of the project.

There were many high performing student projects, the research led, speculative nature at this top end shed a spotlight on how engaged and passionate student are about graphic design. It was fantastic to see high school students sharing their mahi alongside undergraduate and post graduate students.

The portrait artwork to accompany this interview is by Bonnie Brown

Thanks to Creative New Zealand who funded the 2020 Kātoitoi pilot. This interview and illustration sits within a series of commissioned essays, interviews, podcasts and artworks to be published over 12 weeks supported by CNZ.