my work and a lovely interview on TED’s blog!


Trying to be cool but not really managing it – have been interviewed by Kate TED about the illustrations I did for Melissa Fleming’s talk about the UNHCR’s work for refugees and they’re on the front page of the TED blog! Special thanks to Melissa for her incredibly kind words and to Kate from TED for taking an interest!


Inspired by a TED Talk: In 6 drawings, how we can help refugees thrive

melissa-flemming-title1Clarice Holt, a 26-year-old illustrator living in London, was looking for a way to give back. Last month, as she watched Melissa Fleming’s talk, “Let’s help refugees thrive, not just survive,” she realized she could help people living in refugee camps thousands of miles away — by creating beautiful, shareable images of the main ideas in Fleming’s talk.

“An illustration can be like Mary Poppins’ spoonful of sugar,” she says. “If someone is captivated by an image, they can absorb so many things along with it.”

Holt—who learned how to take sketchnotes while working for the companyScriberia—began the sketch in pencil, then used a brush pen to draw the images. She cleaned it all up using a Wacom tablet and her laptop. “I am really into pattern, and the fact that the talk centred on Syria, which has a rich history of decorative art, inspired me to cram as many patterns in as possible,” she says. “I chose to make the whole thing a dark, charcoal gray—a nod to the monotony and hardship of refugee camps.”

“Honestly, I have been concerned for a while that what I have chosen to do with my life, whilst fulfilling for me and pretty harmless, is not exactly adding to the well of global philanthropy,” she says. “I didn’t really know how I could help, but a wise person once told me that if you want to achieve something and you don’t know how, just take a first step. These drawings were a first step.”

She posted the images on her blog and on Twitter, and was thrilled to see friends reacting to them. And then Melissa Fleming herself saw the sketches via Twitter. “I was blown away,” she says. “It warms my heart that a young artist in England would care enough to engage her talent to make a difference for the refugee cause.”

Fleming retweeted to share the images — and then emailed TED to tell us about them too. “I love how she highlighted the facts and figures, but brought the personal stories alive. It is a complete talk in itself in a few evocative frames,” she says.

As Holt says, “I hope it makes people want to go and give the gift of their talents, whatever those may be, to people who need them to rebuild their lives. I hope this image passes on that itchy, scratchy, philanthropy feeling that I got from Melissa’s talk.”

Below, see Holt’s images. And then watch this powerful TED Talk, which somehow manages to make an issue that usually feels overwhelming and distant feel personal, immediate and changeable.




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