• Alison Amos

The Golden Bough Project - Part 1)

Updated: Jan 22

To begin this project I decided to look back and reflect on my achievements, as well as on my failures during my first year at Central Saint Martins.


My first year at CSM was genuinely, one of the most challenging years of my life.

I questioned my entire life and believes. I asked myself if I was truly happy despite the fact I had a very successful career as Art Director specialised in advertising, that I had a great social life, and that I was living an average healthy lifestyle, I always somehow felt empty. Incomplete. Never truly happy or fulfilled.

The first year of MA Applied Imaginations changed completely my prospective. I navigated in a sea of uncertainties until I made a choice: leave my career and choose to move closer to my family. This meant to relocate to Italy, resign from my job, and start completely a new life.


Because I changed country, I decided to change my research question as my stakeholders and my connections couldn't collaborate with me if I was moving to another Country. Unfortunately, the new research question never felt truly right. I new by heart that it was very close to the area of interest I wanted to explore, but I didn't want to restrict myself too much by doing simply a series of Art BOX projects - targeting uniquely an elderly population. I end my first year, completely lost. But when that happen, it felt like being completely chain free.


Here below a resume of my year 1 with an infograph - timeline based graphical representation.


I had to be truthful to myself and simply ask who I wanted to be and what makes me truly happy.


Fitness and Art: two fields that are supposed to be completely unmatchable.

I grew up being told that I had to choose between one or the other and - as a result, I have been struggling my entire life between that choice to make. Till now.

Now I know that I can choose both fields, actually, I can create the link, like a bridge, between those two worlds.

A little bit like the mistletoe, that was used to be the bridge from the human world to the underworld, I will be the bridge that will connect Art and Fitness.

My original idea in order to answer the Golden Bough project was to create a 2021 Calendar, timeline based.

And I decided to do a proper conceptual mapping representation of the steer that I want to give to my research question and my entire year 2 of studies at Central Saint Martins.

How can I make a positive impact to people lives with the use of creativity & fitness while being sustainable and help the planet?

The research question will be basically a perfect combination of the two I explored during year 1.


By creating a series of wellness workshops I can create a perfect space to champion creativity, mindfulness and sustainability. The main test if my research question would be creating a series of wellness gateways around the World. Of course, taking in consideration Covid-19 restrictions which are currently affecting all of us, I will start on a smaller scale, setting up webinars, promoting key solutions for daily problematic issues that the pandemic brought with it during the entire last year: mental health, lack of physical activity, domestic violence.

I will create something to respond those issues and actively helping as many people as I can.

And here what was in my mind, and my way to represent it on a blank A3.

My Golden Bough object originally consisted of a 2021 yearly planner.

And the answers to the brief were as below.


My original answers

  • Why have you made/chosen your Golden Bough in the way that you have? Because I will always have it in front of me, keeping me accountable month by month.

  • What are the skills, knowledge and management strategies necessary to carry your project forward through the second year to conclusion? Planning & strategy, technical, communication skills when it comes to reach stakeholders and project plan management are all the skills I need to acquire for my second year.

  • Is there a clear connection between your question and the skills and strategies represented by your Golden Bough? Yes – I need to keep my project workflow and management aligned with the monthly goals set in the 2021 year planner.

  • Do you already possess these skills and this knowledge, or do you still need to acquire them? I do posses some, like communication skills and teaching skills. I do still need to acquire additional ones like certificates in order to being able to teach classes here in Italy.

  • If you do not possess all the skills you need, how and when do you plan to acquire them? By sign-in and attending online courses in order to obtain the right qualifications in order to teach. I will also have to wait (hope) that travel restrictions will be eased (with the option of create online wellness retreats if travel restrictions will be still in place by the second half of 2021).

  • What are the implied limitations imposed on you (and your project) by your Golden Bough? Being a timeline based tool – time is my biggest limitation. Another important limitation will be travelling restrictions.

  • Do you accept these limitations? Of course I do.

  • What goals or challenges has this project enabled you to give form to, which you had not considered important before? I never really considered time as a restriction factor. Stakeholders engagement is another critical challenge that must be taken into account for my second academical year.

Now, I only need to speak to my tutor and show him what my intentions and action plans are.


Stay tuned.

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