Words by Ian Gustav Ahlberg, BA(Hons) Public Relations graduate.
BA (Hons) Design Management and Cultures graduate Valentine del Giudice has spent the last 10 months working on SSSHAKE – an app dedicated to connecting creatives in different fields to encourage collaboration.
SSSHAKE is the first mobile app dedicated to creative collaborations. It is a cross-disciplinary platform aimed at helping creatives from different industries to connect easily and locally in order to come up with new innovative projects.
We asked Valentine about her time at LCC, SSSHAKE and her ideas for the future.
What is SSSHAKE?
SSSHAKE is a mobile app that connects creatives from different backgrounds and industries easily and locally. In addition to the app, SSSHAKE has also become a welcoming community of talented people who believe that sharing and exchanging is essential to grow as a creative. As we had to find a way of connecting people before the app launch, we started running the ‘SSSHAKE creative gatherings’ which were relaxed networking events held every two months in a different location. The creative gatherings have strengthened the community dimension of SSSHAKE and are really part of our DNA now.
How did you come up with the idea for SSSHAKE?
The idea came to me when I was living in Finland for my Erasmus program. It was very difficult to meet local people – being in the middle of winter probably didn’t help either! The only option I had back at the time was Tinder, definitely not the best platform to find like-minded people to do creative projects with. Further validation for the idea came over the summer when I realised that creative friends in Paris were all facing the same problem. When I came back to London in September, I understood that the number of creatives willing to take part in new projects was considerable and the SSSHAKE adventure started.
Could you tell us a bit more about the process you went through when developing the app? Are there any resources you found especially helpful?
I had to start by proving the need for such an app beyond my circle of friends. LCC has been the perfect playground to research and define the idea. I received great support from my tutors along the way, which motivated me to continue in that direction. I learned how to code at Code First: Girls, a free coding program for women. It gave me a broader understanding of how programming works. I went to IP introductions, inspiring talks, workshops… London is full of resources. I am still amazed, if you look in the right place you can find all the help you need.
Collaboration seems to be at the heart of SSSHAKE, could you tell us more about why this is so important to you?
I am a self-learner and very curious. I seek out new opportunities everywhere I go and I’ve always loved to challenge myself with new experiences. I ended up working as an illustrator, a photographer or a graphic designer. I helped my brother with short films, set design and even acting. I realised over these diverse experiences that it is when I’m working collaboratively that I learn and grow the most.
Coming from a fine art background I’ve always gravitated to people who were just producing for the ‘love of art’ to get their message out there. I feel that applied arts are sometimes restricted from working with briefs, set deadlines or commissions. Collaborating with other industries is a way of getting free from this framework and delivering a stronger message.
How did your experience on the BA (Hons) Design Management and Cultures influence your work?
To have a broad understanding of design through theory helped me improve my practice and particularly develop UX design skills that were essential to develop the app. I recently realised that I apply design thinking in a lot of different situations with SSSHAKE although the theory of design seemed very abstract to me while I was studying.
What does ‘design culture’ mean to you now that you’ve graduated?
I believe that design culture is a broad understanding of our environment. It is about questioning why and how design exists. I would say it is where sociology, design history and experience design meet.
Could you describe your time at LCC in three words?
Intense, enriching, fun
If others want to get involved, what could they help you with?
We are currently looking for photographers, filmmakers and writers to create content and spread the word about our growing community.
What are your plans for the future?
I am planning to continue the development of SSSHAKE and work hard to make this dream possible. My short-term goal is to spread our message in the UK and launch in France. The long one is to make the app accessible all over the world. It’s exciting, there is so much to learn along the way.