Your NameRachel Taylor
Cohort AssignmentCohort A (Europe + MENA)
1. What do you see as your primary work at this stage of your life?

Communication design. More specifically, I work on projects to design and create communicative modes and multimodal mediums of communication, supporting organisations and initiatives that work at the intersection of social and environmental issues.

2. What role do you see as yours to play?

To support clients in determining how to communicate with their communities and audiences. And to challenge clients to interrogate how they may be upholding the degenerative narratives that underwrite social and environmental degradation.

3. What goals or aims do you have in regard to the above?

To the latter point, this is a relatively new focus of my work, and I’m pivoting off my own understanding and interpretation of “degeneration” as influenced by others via books, podcasts, documentaries, etc. This feels a little like flying blind sometimes, and also, I don’t want to fall folly to impose my views and values on people – especially as I’m fully aware that these are always changing and being influenced. I want to gain some clarity or find some frameworks to place my work into.

4. Where do you feel your next arenas for personal growth are?

A big thing I’ve been working on the last year or so – as I’ve been recovering from burnout – is how deeply I embody and am conditioned to my (degenerative) culture’s beliefs: I should be “productive” otherwise I’m worthless; my value is based on how much I earn; if I chose to spend “work hours” doing things besides work, then I am wasting my potential. Much of this work has been about reshaping my relationship with work – specifically to allow myself to recover. But I would like to further this discovering, questioning and dismantling of the other ways I am beholden to my degenerative culture.

5. And for professional growth?

This, I am open to. I feel that this year will be one of exploration and learning, so as long as I explore and learn and grow, I will be happy. That said, I would like to come out of this year a more confident practitioner and feel that I can offer value to those I work with. I want to bake regenerative practice into my own processes, but I also would like to support the organisations I work with to adopt a more regenerative approach in what they do, specifically to their communications.

6. What have you invested in to get you where you are?

I’m not sure how to interpret this question, but I guess the answer is: my entire adult life. It’s been a winding path, but throughout, I’ve amassed learnings. Probably a notable mention should be the publication I co-ran for eight years; this was a huge investment of energy, time and money.

7. What fields of learning and which thinkers have been important in your life?

Myth, semiotics, social semiotics, communication design, narrative theory, ecology, intersectional environmentalism, planetary interbeing. Barthes was pretty pivotal to me in the early stages of this path.

8. Can you frame your philosophy or cosmology of life? What role(s) do humans play in it?

A few years ago, I had somewhat of an awakening. At the time, I was running my own magazine focused on environmental issues, and I was writing for others on similar topics. But at the time, I held a very anthropocentric view of the world and subconsciously saw a separation between humans and the rest of life. My work at the time spouted a “let’s save nature” narrative. Then the veil was lifted. It was such a marvellous thing. It happened when I was exploring the theme of belonging in a piece of work and was speaking with lots of different people about what belonging meant. I suddenly saw the world as this huge coalescing mass of beings that’s utterly dynamic and interconnected. There were suddenly no sharp edges to beings because beings themselves were now composites of other beings. This “awakening” reshaped everything for me: how I see myself, how I see the world, how I engage with it and draw meaning from it.

Date CreatedJanuary 24, 2023