Around the world in 100 Days

Ryan Boyd
Around the world in 100 Days

A few years ago, graphic designer Emma Rogan was looking for a way to expand her creative skills when she heard of something clever an American design teacher at Yale named Michael Bierut was doing.

“He made his class of students practice designing something for 100 days without a break,” says Emma.

“At the time when I read that I thought that’s it, I’m going to do that, because I can fit that in the balance of my life, I don’t have to give up anything except for a little time.”

A spark was lit, with Emma replicating the project herself, but she had no idea how it would take off with other people, each choosing their own project to do over 100 days.

“I sent out about 20 invites to friends, designers and photographers that I thought may want to do it with me as a way to keep me honest. A lot more people signed up than I expected, so I built a little website and it took on a bit of a life of its own.”

That was 2011, and now, in 2014, the project had over 2,000 participants – aged 5 to 80, in 17 countries, and from all walks of life – who every day, for 100 consecutive days, would do something, anything, creative and post it on the 100 Days website.

“There’s some really out there stuff. One woman did a yoga move in public every day and took a photo of it. We had a woman last year who went dancing in public spaces in Canada and post a video of her dancing with her iPod on. I thought that was really brave.”

At the end of each year’s project, Emma organises an exhibition for people who wish to display their projects. This year, the popularity of the project has allowed her to expand beyond Auckland, with exhibits in Wellington, Melbourne, and even Amsterdam, thanks to the enthusiasm of some European volunteers and participants, showing just how far the project has come.

“The growth was really organic it’s down to the internet and social media that this thing spread as quick as it did. Initially it was really word of mouth, but the last couple of years it’s been people who have seen it on Facebook, and in fact there’s a lot of people randomly Google ‘projects to do’ and stumble across it.”

The other great part of the exhibits is that Emma is able to speak to the participants to learn more about the background of their projects.

“I met a woman in Wellington who had been doing a watercolour each day of a photo she’d taken. She was incredibly talented, and yet she had struggled to give herself permission to do this type of work.

“This project gave her the push to paint more and she just got so much confidence out of it, to the point where she was proud to be exhibiting her work to the public.”

In Auckland?

  • Come along this weekend and see the exhibit.
  • Opening night: 6pm Saturday 25 October
  • Open all day Sunday 10am-4pm
  • Where: Thievery Studios, Level 2, Lagonda Building, 203 K-Road
  • Visit 100daysproject.co.nz/event for more information

Watch Emma talk about 100 Days at a TEDx Talk in Auckland in 2012

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