Sana Tabassum, :scale

Launching our community spotlight podcast, Stephen Drew from the Architecture Social and Sara Tabassum from :scale sit down to have a chat, discuss all the great things that Sana is up to and share with you all that is awesome about :scale.

Sana is a community member of Architecture Social with her own group. You can find her on or at her own fantastic website which is



Transcription (using

Transcription (Raw Text)

Stephen Drew 0:01
Hello, everyone. I’m Stephen Drew. And I’m joined here by Sanam, who is the founder of scale. Hi, Susannah, how are you today?

Sana Tabassum 0:09
Hi, Steven. I’m good. Thank you. How are you?

Stephen Drew 0:12
I’m living the dream, living the COVID architecture dream. But now there’s a lot of good things going on. So what are you up to today? First of all,

Sana Tabassum 0:23
um, Well, firstly, I’ve got to kind of proofread the magazine, I’ve got a couple of guest posts, I need to sort out, edit things. And then I’m working a bit on the Mad collective that’s coming out too. So create some newsletters for that.

Stephen Drew 0:42
Super, there’s loads of stuff going on. So for anyone that doesn’t know you already doesn’t doesn’t know much about yourself, or scale. Maybe we can go back. So you talked about this magazine, you talked about a few really exciting stuff there. So what is scale all about?

Sana Tabassum 0:59
So to scale is basically a blog that I started last year after I graduated from the University of Greenwich. And I essentially just wanted to get some kind of tutorials and small articles out there to help other students in their first and second years. So from there, it kind of grew into more of a community based platform, where I was inviting actual students to come along and write their own opinions and things like that. So and obviously now, it’s also turned into a magazine. So it’s very much a platform for young students and designers.

Stephen Drew 1:40
That’s awesome. And it’s very interesting, isn’t it, because we talking about magazines, and you had the Kickstarter. So I’m looking forward to, hey, I’m looking forward to my copy. And that as well, I’ve got I got excited about it. And what was interesting is that you’ve got the website, you’ve got quite an active Instagram, and you’re now part of the Mad collective as well. And we’ll go into that in a bit. So it’s so scale kind of as a ganic. Lee grown across different mediums, whether they start out, they start out with you and a website and a bit of Instagram, or

Sana Tabassum 2:15
Yes, so the idea, the idea was always in the back of my mind. So you could say it’s a bit of a backstory. But in second year, I had a friend come up to me and asking her, how did you do this sun path diagram, it looks amazing. And I was like, Okay, let me just quickly show you how to do it. And she was like, you know, you should bring out some tutorials and videos on YouTube and all that jazz. And, you know, got me thinking about a blog, but obviously, I was in my second year, so I didn’t really have that much time. And so after I graduated, I was talking to one of my friends, who also had the same kind of idea. And she said, you know, why don’t we just set up a blog. And, you know, I kind of started, we kind of started brainstorming article ideas that we would want going live in September, which is obviously when people start University, but also, you know, for six members who might be looking to apply for architecture. And yeah, so that’s how the blog side we had, I think, three articles in the works already when we launched. And the main aim for me was to kind of get that community engagement going on Instagram, especially. So even before we launched, we had about 200 followers, and those were basically just my kind of contacts from uni and things like that.

Stephen Drew 3:38
Well, yeah. It’s interesting, isn’t it? Where, because Instagram is definitely really powerful. There’s so many different mediums at the moment. And it can always be a little bit noisy sometimes. But what I quite like about the scale, there’s, you’ve, you’ve got to be really organised to do what you do, right? Because new stuff comes out every week. And it’s what I’m curious about is the same thing for me. So we had a bit of a giggle and you were you were really patient with me sending this stuff earlier. And I’m kind of running with my day job brain, as well as really enjoying the architecture social. So we’ve we’ve scale now, because we touched upon it briefly before this, you’re going to be gone, you’re going to be doing your part one job, right, isn’t it in September, which is super exciting. And I can sure it can fit around that lifestyle. It could even be the new evolution as well, right? Because it’s because this is a really good chapter and then you’re going to be going into industry. So are you excited how it’s going to change or have you thought about well, how are you going to do it when you go to work as well?

Sana Tabassum 4:47
Yeah, I have I have started to think about how I’m going to manage my time and stuff. But you know, luckily, the the friend that I sided with she graduated this year so she can take more on that. Yeah, cuz up till now it’s just been me so far. But um, you know, we’re kind of brainstorming new articles and we have some posts lined up and things. But I think it won’t be that difficult to kind of manage it because I’ve been doing it for a year now. So

Stephen Drew 5:16
great. So you can have time management, you don’t have to teach me a few tricks at this point. I’m learning on the job. And then sometimes I dropped the ball. So you’re gonna have to let me know. I absolutely love what you do. And that’s why it’s great to have you on the on the platform is very interesting, isn’t it? So? So Oh, it might be Yeah, good time, the thing to talk about the Mad collective thing because I was following it when kind of did the grand reveal right with Him? Something’s come in on my last comment. Come on, what was this all about? And so how did? How did that come about then the Mad collective?

Sana Tabassum 5:55
Um, well, let me go back to kind of one of the collaborations we did with Hamza from two L’s design. So I wanted to get someone to do a kind of day in the life of an architecture student. And we ended up doing a kind of ID TV series on that. And it was really, really successful, people were really loving it, because he’s a master student, who’s just graduated. So everyone was quite interested in his sort of drawing technique and stuff like that. And through him, I sort of connected with other content creators on Instagram. And I got a message from Alvin, from projects by people said, You know, I want to kind of put together this group, I’m having a zoom meeting, do you want to do it? And I said, okay, but I had no idea who else was gonna taking part. Only once you kind of got face to face that we realised Oh, right. It’s sort of five of us. And it kind of went from there, we were sort of discussing, you know, the kind of similarities in the problems that we faced in architecture, because we’re all from different backgrounds and countries. So it was quite interesting to see that, you know, everyone kind of has this, you know, issue kind of stress. And, you know, why are you pulling all nighters? And it’s, it was, it was really interesting to see. So we kind of thought about setting up kind of symposiums and putting together a resource database. So yeah, that’s basically like,

Stephen Drew 7:31
I love it. Yeah, we keep it a surprise. So definitely check out the Mad collective on Instagram for anyone listening. It’s kind of to me, like the super band of all, you in this super strong Instagram architecture network. It’s that it’s the big bands a lot. Because when it started popping up, and they kept seeing everyone, every day, you’ve done a video of a new person. I’m like, Yeah, I follow all of you guys, you know. So really, really cool. And that’s interesting. So you kind of jumped into that in your, in an experimentation way. And it’s interesting because of us, actually. Because when I was setting up the social, yeah, I don’t know, I just saw a scale. And then I got on the phone. And you were really open to it. Remember, when there was even no one that Yeah, no, no, and one month, we have 700. And we’re gonna keep going. But I absolutely love it. And I think that for me, what I find interesting about scale, or for instance, what you do as well, you almost, I think it really helps to adapt and to be on different media mediums and to be present. So you’re on the social, you’re an Instagram, you have your website, I’m guessing the mailing list there as well. And we’ve got coming soon. There you go. Exactly. Right. And then we’ve got we’ve got we’ve got the and I kinda like the book, though. And that’s what I really like that because with the book that you’re doing, there is something really nice as well, something old school because I’m not actually I wasn’t on Facebook for a long time. And I saw him back up because I got a little bit sometimes you can, you can get overwhelmed by the digital right. And what’s nice is I love the digital. You’ve got to have the physical as well though, right? You got to enjoy the book, go to see stuff. And that’s been the real difficulty. I think we’ve we’ve COVID right now is that you can almost feel feels a bit fragmented. And what I like about I almost think like scale. Sorry, this is my pit. It’s like it’s a little bit like a warm Do they have a bit of cosiness, right? It’s strange times and I really like that. So I think it’s brilliant. But where do you see where do you see it growing? Or what are you keen on doing? I’m guessing it’s finishing the book right.

Sana Tabassum 9:41
Now, I mean, we launch sort of week after next, I think. So it’s kind of getting back wrapped up and seeing how you know what the feedback is on there because the team is kind of obviously spread across the world. We had kind of students come in and say, you know, I want to work on this topic, and I’m interested in so and so. And they kind of expressed their own interests through it as well. But it’s very much a kind of, it’s not kind of like an essay style collections. It’s more of a, you know, tackling some nice topics and issues through it, too.

Stephen Drew 10:22
I love it. I think it’s great. And, yeah, it’s good. It’s growing all the time. And even being here, we’ve had a bit of an experimentation with on the on the social because there’s certain aspects where we’re even for the group. So there’s something really nice about the group, it’s what’s been interesting as well not net people, it’s the same thing of you’ve got to showcase your work and get people out there. Because we know this is the, the the challenging thing with online sometimes is striking up a conversation, right? Because Because participating is kind of the thing, and you can do so much right? It also relies in your audience to talk and communicate with you and, and what I loved about what you talked about earlier, is contributing in when people get in on boards. But so how do you try to do that, then do you do let people do articles and blogs? And you credit them? And you credit their exposure? Or how have you gone about trying to get that conversation going?

Sana Tabassum 11:21
Yeah, completely. So we kind of put out sort of ads, you could say about, you know, we’re looking for guest authors to write for our blog. And it’s very much, you know, that piece of writing. So we obviously, you know, credit man, man, and we’re kind of working on a page where we collect all these kind of profiles of all the all the guest authors, and link back to their socials and things so that, you know, they can put, they can sort of say, you know, I’ve written for this blog, so we have these writing skills, I have an interest in this topic. So yeah, it’s very much kind of collaborative process. So they can kind of send us a draft and we can, you know, take a look at that and edit it if needed, and then just publish it.

Stephen Drew 12:04
I love it would that’s something maybe that I, we should definitely try on the social in the main channels, because I think there was one I was really interested in actually, as I’m that early on, I’ll find out what my messages, I’ve one or two really good sound to students who would like to know what I love architecture. The thing is, though, I really want to get into writing. And this is the perfect kind of way to do that, isn’t it to kind of almost build up that portfolio of work. Because your website is a real website, you’re out there, you have an engaged audience. So that’s an interesting one, maybe we should kind of push that a little bit after this. I’ll do a little experiment to see. But you won’t get me writing because I can’t write for I can’t pay any rate. I just I just talk for a living. That’s what I do now. Right? Yeah. I love it. And what I’ve learned as well is that what I’ve enjoyed about using the social media for the architecture, social is literally to post people’s work. And I think that actually gets a really good response. And what’s quite nice is that I like the fact that if you credit the person, then ideally what I’d like is someone to reach out to them. I don’t need to be involved per se at all. And it’s just that kind of that exposure and that middle thing, because on my LinkedIn, I’ve got about 20,000 connections and so it’s really good when to use that for something’s good. And I think I think scale is presence is getting bigger and bigger. I’ve got a quick little funny story for you. Actually. I’m part of it is so architecture, social is a community platform. Yeah, the course involved in x I’m in the course i’m really, I’m really naughty. I go half the time late and all this stuff because nothing everything just like that. There was this lady who’s got an architecture course in Australia. Okay, and then Sarah, she’s on the platform. Yeah, find the first arcade job, right? My first arcade shop. Right? Okay. Yeah, she said to me, Oh, wow. So scale o scales actually on the social I saw.

Sana Tabassum 14:09
Yes, you reached out to me when the page was very small. She, you know, asked me, you know, what do you aim to kind of do on this page? How’s it going to go about and all that so I kind of explained that to her at the very beginning. And I haven’t been in touch with her since we’re kind of always supporting each other on Instagram for sure.

Stephen Drew 14:28
I love it. Oh, my gosh, you need to message our social or direct definitely do pick it up because I do think she’s a fan. And that’s a really strange thing, isn’t it? That is such a small world in that way. And like, I think, yeah, with Instagram is so interesting when the man collective came out that all of you guys that I follow, you’re all doing your big, big, bad, big, mad collective. Well, it’s a collection as you say, isn’t them so? What? So I look I think this is great. Maybe we can keep it short and sweet. So if anyone listening here wants to find out more about you, where do we find you?

Sana Tabassum 15:09
So you can find us on Instagram at to scale that’s le, or you can go directly to our blog, which is to scale blog Dakota UK.

Stephen Drew 15:20
Amazing. And you can also message you on the social right as well. Definitely. Yeah. We’re gonna I love it. I love it. I’m so thrilled you’re here and it guys, guys and girls, everyone check out to scale. I wish that some of these resources we were there when I was a part one. Gosh, sounds like such a long time ago. But not too long ago. I’m not I’m not I’m, yeah, I’m still I’m still a bit of a spring chicken. It’s great that these resources are there. So definitely check out Santa to scout. Thank you for Hey, no worries. Thank you.


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