Labs life: Getting to know Chloe Evans
We like to give our readers insight into the inner workings of Sutherland Labs. This week, it is Lights! Camera! Action! for our very own auteur director, and Senior Design Researcher in our London Labs, Chloe Evans!
What exactly does a Senior Design Researcher do?
Chloe: I go out and solve problems by talking to people and watching things… I also make videos. Before I came to Sutherland I worked as a researcher at design research agencies in London, and worked as a freelance filmmaker for a while so I have an interesting mix of ethnographic research skills and documentary production skills that I get to use regularly. One day I could be conducting one to one UX research in the lab, another day I could be flying off to the US or India to conduct international in context research. Another day I could be editing a research video or producing marketing collateral. It’s very varied and I think that’s what makes it fun!
What is the unique talent that you bring to Sutherland?
Chloe: I have an interesting mix of ethnographic research skills and documentary production skills, I also tend to find pretty good cat videos on YouTube.
Do you get to use your video skills a lot in your research?
Chloe: I do use my video skills, but only when the project needs it. It is usually when we are doing longer ethnographic projects, talking to people in their own environments. But this will involve basically creating a video by myself, I will film and record sound while the other researcher interviews people, then we tend to switch after each session to mix it up a bit. I usually use a Canon 5D Mk 3 with an external sound system and then sync the footage and sound together. Then I edit on Final Cut Pro X the interviews into themes that comprises the documentary.
What do you do for fun?
Chloe: I watch a lot of movies, I make small video documentaries, go to design and art exhibitions around London and also do a little painting when I get the time. At the moment I’m reading “Stories of Your Life and Others” by Ted Chiang. Naming just one film as my favourite is super hard as I like a lot of completely different stuff. But if I was to name a few I really liked; Sean Ellis’ ‘Metro Manila‘ which was shot on a shoestring budget. I also like the dreaminess of Wes Anderson, the magic of Miyazaki animation and the familiarity of life from Richard Linklater’s films. I would love to borrow some design ideas from the Miyazaki films as they have great storytelling and have a beautiful aesthetic. If you were looking for films that have had a big influence on design I guess the biggest ones are ‘Design & Thinking‘ by Mu- Ming Tsia and the Netflix documentary, ‘Abstract: The Art of Design‘. Personally I am more influenced by narrative documentaries like, ‘The Wolfpack‘ and ‘Searching for Sugarman.’
What has been your favourite part of working with Sutherland so far?
Chloe: I’ve done some pretty fun projects in the States but my favourite might be interviewing and videoing pet owners and their pets. I don’t have any pets personally, but my parents have two cats called Frida and Diego. They don’t really get along. I had another trip to America where we were just roaming around the national parks along the west coast. The best experience that I get to have more than once is Friday morning breakfast with the team. It is pretty good.
Will Chloe abandon us for a life of glitz and glamour in Hollywood? Will Frida and Diego ever settle their differences? Will anyone best Chloe’s youtube cat video skills? Come back for another instalment of ‘Labs Life’ to find out these answers and more!