Friday, 31 October 2014

End or beginning

Before I get to the nitty gritty; a few observations...
  • There's someone in my Contested Territories class called Ulysses, how beautiful a name is that?
  • It's exceptionally mild for this time of year (had to carry my coat around)
  • Apparently now I have a personal tutor, he's called Nigel.
1.    Contested Territories...
We discussed ideas for the work we are to produce between us, amongst us, starting with thoughts on communication which led to the vagaries of language, dialect: cultural translation studies including issues regarding reactions to de-globalisation which led to 'words': use of, change of... this in turn led to a discussion on gender, countries at war. Then...guides, maps, routes to remnants of planes crashed in the Peak District...very interesting.

This led to everyone deciding not to do a symposium but an exhibition or a festival of exhibitions; there seems to be 3 distinct camps and possibilities for groups to form:

a. Mapping 'exhibits', that are already there (in the street) that represent some territory contested (I like this one)
b. Producing work to be 'pasted up' on the boarded up windows of boarded up houses along a full boarded up street, am not sure what the work would be based on (but I like this idea)
c. Gender issues relating to nations at war
+d. (Secret) communication within Illustration by means of coding 
We then spent a good 40 minutes trying to set up a group Facebook page and adding everyone. I need to post on this tonight and hopefully infiltrate group no.1

2.    Anticipating Change; The Final Chapter OR
 Anticipating Change; Anticipating the Presentation (all morning)
I had recently posted some new research on our blog, I had also offered to present some of said research during the group presentation this afternoon, due to me feeling guilty about being a (very) part-time member but also wanting to contribute to and support the group at our final 'showdown'. However, I was rather hoping it wouldn't fit in. But due to the kindness of Nick & Helen wanting to 'include' Jack and I, I was allowed. Mmmm. I played my small part with what seemed to appear to others to be confidence, but was actually slight panic, not least because it was being FILMED.
So, now that is over. I'm not sure yet how much of our research will inform my overall 'Practice 1' outcomes but the pure fact of doing research will surely prove a bonus. I'm hoping that now will come a chance to get some practical work done.
 Reading back, my comments are not really very evaluative OR here's some of that:
On the collaborative aspect and the overall experience:
Put into groups, randomly, for a 4 week long, collaborative research and presentation project to answer, in essence, ‘What are the influences on future design?’ 
(See blog for more in depth information:
At the outset I felt a little unsure, nervous yet resigned, as I had known this was coming, admittedly though, perhaps not so fast.
When introduced to (or rather when I found) my group – number 7, I wanted to appear ‘as good as…’, ‘confident but not fake, pushy or arrogant’ (because I am not) and not as ‘a leader’ but definitely as someone who would contribute. I certainly didn’t want to push myself forward nor shy away from tasks. I was happy with (most of) the group; one member who shall remain nameless, immediately proceeded to tear strips off me for not committing to more than one day a week. Great start - not. This made me feel embarrassed, completely shocked that it actually happened. I am still shocked. The rest of the group more than made up for this ‘incident’; creative thinkers, interesting, friendly people, very fair and who got on with the job (very well). It was a great exercise to introduce us to each other and I was glad of that opportunity. I have said in an earlier post that overall I felt academically inadequate but this group did not make me feel that way.
The positive aspects of this working group has meant I formed new relationships with my peers, (and didn’t have to find people to work with myself – as this may have been like being the last kid to be picked for the team in PE), met other part timers who took part in my initial experiences and who shared their information, met full timers who I wouldn’t otherwise be working with and it gave us all a common ground and a common goal. It encouraged us to begin researching immediately with a focus and a starting point. Also by spending the first few weeks on this, I am even more excited to start some textile work.
On the negative side; during the tirade I suffered, I felt I didn’t stand up for myself (I was shocked into complete stupid silence) which made me feel small, although I realise this was just unlucky. Mixing full and part time students, although had it’s advantages also meant I felt some guilt not doing as much as others did.
If I had to do it all again I wouldn’t do anything differently, I don’t think I could to be honest. It was how it was, mainly due to external factors & influences. As for my own performance within the presentation I could have prepared my part better and in a more timely fashion by checking my emails the night before which was when my part had been identified. As it was, I quickly did extra research and tried to get it straight in my head - over lunch, which was quite stressful! Oh but then I forgot to look at my crib sheets with the facts and figures on and ended up skimming over the main points I was trying to get across. However, I did manage to do it without betablockers :-)

In conclusion I feel it has set the MA tone: rightly or wrongly, to be academic, conceptually and personally challenging, with no room for a comfort zone and it has helped me to know what to expect for the next 2 years (to be proven either way – watch this space).

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