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The Golden Bough Project - Part 2)

Let's start with a small bracket...How exciting is to have the chance to speak with Richie Manu about my Golden Bough project?! For you who might don't know him, you can read below a little bio about him.

Richie Manu is an award-winning lecturer, designer and creative mentor who in 2017 won the University of the Arts London Teaching Excellence Award, which recognises curriculum innovation and the making of a positive and significant difference to students' learning journeys.

I had a very positive - yet disruptive, call with him last Friday. After he highlighted the journey ahead for our second year, we talked in depth about my research question. At the beginning I was very confident about my Golden Bough object but - after the call, not so sure anymore.

Richie acted as a critical voice regarding my original Golden Bough, my Yearly Planner object, and he was very keen on pushing me at explore the path I was heading to in greater depth. He also sounded quite excited about my current direction of studies and research, which is, for many, still an unexplored territory. I am so happy of choosing a subject that focuses on the link between Fitness and Art as a therapeutical tool for people's wellbeing.

During the call, Richie really pushed me to explore further areas which I was missing. For instance - he asked me a very legit question:

'What if we didn't have a full year but we needed to action now?'

With that in mind, I realised my Golden Bough object had a value equal to zero.

I then had to do something different. Explore and research further.

He suggested to look into a community practise, and think of building a community of doers. 'How people can care?' By trying to build value in wellbeing and art practise, is important to try to cut all the noise, don't think, act and do like the masses, but try on finding new fertile ground that can be suitable to plant the seed for my project during this second year.

Key factors that he pushed me to explore further were:

  • The link of fitness and art as a therapy tool,

  • Broader accessibility (18+ to 90 years old).

  • Shift my research from answers and solutions to the tools for those answers.

  • Environmentally sensible, eco-friendly and sustainable background.

  • Think less and act quick.

My new Golden Bough

My new Golden Bough is an artefact made solely by litter collected from the beach: plastic bottles, food wrappers, straws, and nowadays also face masks.

It is the emblem of my project and who knows, maybe it could evolve to a future art collection. But as mentioned earlier, I no longer want to focus on the answers and outcomes, but instead, focusing on the tools I will need for this year to come.

Plastic Pearl - this is the name of my golden bough object.

My new answers

  • Why have you made/chosen your Golden Bough in the way that you have? Because I want to focus on PET therapy, using recyclable object.

  • 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? I do believe so. The Golden Bough I chose is an object that only people can make; in this way people have to be ‘in the moment’ and this is where the power of this artefact is about. As a plus, by making it solely with recycled material, it answers my scope of making something sustainable.

  • Do you already possess these skills and this knowledge, or do you still need to acquire them? I do posses some skills, like communication and teaching abilities, but I do still need to acquire additional ones like certificates in order to being able to teach classes here in Italy. I also need to gain better knowledge of online platforms that will allow me to create webinars in order to reach my audience and stakeholders.

  • 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 which will allow me to teach. I will also have to wait that travel restrictions will be eased (with the option in the meantime to create online wellness retreats if travel restrictions will be still in place by the second half of 2021). I am reaching out some people who would like to collaborate, who are already expert in PET therapy.

  • What are the implied limitations imposed on you (and your project) by your Golden Bough? Online/distance practise, is a barrier, as those workshops should be designed as a full, 360 degrees, ‘physical' experience. The use of litters and recycled objects, imposed by the nature of the project is another barrier as advance planning and testing will be required as those materials will be used as primary elements from which people will be making sculptures or artworks.

  • 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 online platforms as a restriction element. But of course for my project this could be a limitation, or at least a barrier, for me to explore the full potential of my project outcome. Stakeholders engagement is another critical factor that must be taken into account for my second academical year. A key role will be played by the people I can reach - which will become my audience, my 'doers tribe'. Another key role will be played by any brands I will be able to collaborate with. This will help me massively in building credibility, new models of practise and will definitely help me to test external responses to my project.


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