8.30 am. The server issues had been resolved. My website is now fully recovered and findable. Lesson: always back up. Always. The company who hosts my site does so religiously, and saved their skin on this occasion. At 9.00 am, I began a full day of MA Fine Art tutorials with my own and another colleague’s (who has been temporarily ‘posted abroad’) charge of painters. Each student has to negotiate a new beginning in their own way. Some lessons and observations:
- A student’s past achievements should inform rather than constrain their expectations about present and future practice.
- Often, we procrastinate in the face of too many rather than too few possible directions for development.
- We must learn to sacrifice even our best ideas, if they are insufficiently visual in essence.
- It is better to produce nonsense than nothing. Something sensible may emerge from nonsense. But, surely, nothing comes from nothing.
- The painting should determine its format and scale, not the other way around.
1.00 pm. The gentle and soporific fall of autumnal rain:
2.00 pm. An afternoon of postgraduate fine art tutorials. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Mid afternoon: a phone call to our Vancouvan PhD student who’ll be exhibiting at the School in late November. The end of their degree is now in sight. After my final tutorial, I looked to tomorrow’s Art/Sound lecture and formatted the text.
Over the course of the day I’ve disposed enough ideas for artworks and potential projects to fill several exhibitions. Few of those suggestions will be adopted. Rightly so. At postgraduate level, a tutor ought not to be too prescriptive. Ideas should, instead, serve as models of ways of thinking and approaching problems, to be followed in spirit rather than to the letter. Teaching is like parenting: it’s highest aim is to encourage independence of thought, action, and the parent.
6.30 pm. An evening spent further preparing the Workshop 1 powerpoint and handout, processing sound files, and marking up tomorrow’s lecture text. There was a thunderstorm over the horizon, moving away, and sparking in the night sky.