Lim is grateful for the opportunity to impact the next batch of students with her experience in design. PHOTO: JERLIN HUANG
Joan Lim did not think twice when she was offered a position to teach Print and Digital Publications to undergraduates at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information earlier this year.
After sixteen years as a creative in Mediacorp, the fashion industry veteran was eager to move on to something new.
The former associate creative director of ELLE Singapore shared that the idea of teaching first came to her after taking an inspiring undergraduate class at her alma mater, California State University, Fresno, where her professor opened her eyes to see how design could be “effective, but playful.”
“The curiosity part is innate. You just like to touch things, look at things and constantly need visual stimulation.”
Likewise, the 44-year-old hopes to impart her personal takeaways from her rich work experience and inspire the next batch of communications students. “This is why I want to do what I do now, teaching here.”
When she first started out in the fashion industry, Lim said she did not have a positive first impression about fashion journalism, and assumed that it was a “bimbotic” line of work. It was only when she started reading articles and working alongside her editors that she realised that the work was “quite inspiring.”
But it was not always easy for Lim. She recalled a particularly stressful occasion when she had to prepare a shoot for international celebrity Victoria Beckham. Less than an hour before the A-list client was due to arrive, the central air conditioning system broke down and Lim’s team had to scramble to think up of backup plans. In the end, the situation was salvaged by calling the hotel personnel to bring in numerous fans.
“It’s a high pressure environment and there are many things that can go wrong. You really have to work around (problems) and be very, very creative, think on your toes as to how to make your shoot work,” Lim stressed.
Back in her own home, Lim enjoys moving furniture and exploring new ways of layout. Lim joked that her husband would always complain about her need to “have a lot of change.” “The curiosity part is innate. You just like to touch things, look at things and constantly need visual stimulation,” she added.
Late last year, Lim decided to leave the fashion industry with plans to freelance. She then co-founded her own creative advertising agency — Man on the Moon — where she has been working with clients on creative projects such as collaterals and brochures.
Coincidentally, this was also when Assistant Chair Hedwig Alfred contacted Lim to ask if she was keen to lecture. Lim was initially apprehensive, but at the same time excited about the opportunity.
“The timing of it all couldn’t have been any better. Teaching was something I’ve always wanted to do, but I didn’t get around to actually making it happen till that timely call,” she said. “I felt like I had a lot to give in terms of skills, experience and ideas.”
Wrapping up her her first semester of teaching, Lim said that her first challenge is to help students see that grades are not everything. She also encourages her students to be more vocal.
One thing that Lim stands by personally and hopes to see in her students is passion and drive. “Don’t be afraid of the hard work and always go the extra mile. If you think something can be improved upon, do it and make it happen,” she said.
“Never stop experimenting, stay hungry and curious.”