Ayusha in Katherine's studio

REAL Social Impact Design: Katherine Mahoney on Mentoring.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller.

A design, a cause, a campaign: they are all crucial components of the REAL Social Impact Design Program but on their own, they are unlikely to effect a measurable social impact.

There is no perfect formula for success but we firmly believe that every successful social enterprise is above all a collaborative process between people – designers and mentors, entrepreneurs and social activists, manufacturers and consumers – who are all indispensable links in the chain towards positive change.

Over the next few weeks, we will ask each of the people involved in the REAL Program how they are helping to shape a new generation of social enterprises. Today, we start with one our mentors, Katherine Mahoney.

Katherine Mahoney is an established potter based in Sydney, NSW. Her hand-thrown pieces are both sophisticated and practical, perfectly at ease exhibited in galleries or cherished within the home. Parallel to her own ceramic practice, Mahoney is a respected teacher and mentor who guides her students with a steady …

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COFA students design for maximum social impact.

In Australia, the month of March marks the start of a new university year. To us, this means a fresh batch of students and projects to mentor through our REAL Social Impact Design Initiative.

Run in conjunction with the College of Fine Arts (COFA), The REAL Social Impact Design Initiative invites Design students in their final year to conceptualize and realize a product, artwork or program which must answer to one condition: create a positive social change.

A team of mentors made up of established industry professionals provides tailored workshops, one on one mentoring and a pathway to production, marketing and distribution, providing emerging designers with a rare access into the highly competitive creative industry.

Over the last 4 years, we have been delighted to help bring several extraordinary projects to life.

Some of our most successful projects include Santina Ingui’s ‘Life in Parts’ which raises awareness of mental illness with a series of exquisite but fragile ceramic vessels, embodying our own vulnerability.

Visala Wong’s ‘Take a Walk in My Shoes‘ aims to create opportunities for the …

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‘Life in Parts’ by Santina Ingui.

Following the ‘S.E.A.T Project‘, and ‘Protect the Child‘, ‘Life in Parts‘ by Santina Ingui is the third mentorship offered by Hands That Shape Humanity in partnership with the College of Fine Arts in Sydney.

Hands That Shape Humanity is a social enterprise which forms a part of the R.E.A.L Group, a collective of businesses ranging across retail (the R.E.A.L Store), social enterprise (Hands That Shape Humanity) and brand consultancy.

Virginia Bruce, CEO of the R.E.A.L Group, describes why Santina’s project resonates with the group’s conscious approach to design:

“In principle, the Hand Up mentoring program is about having the design graduates create ‘an ordinary product with an extraordinary message’ and in the process create social positive impact and/or change. They are also asked to include themselves in the process. With ‘Life in Parts’ Santina ticked all the boxes, immersing her personal journey and cultural history into the execution of her idea. There is something about what Santina has produced that touches the essence of spirit that we are looking to find.”

Following is an in-depth interview with the artist on her project, …

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