December 16, 2015

7.30 am. I awoke. This was appallingly late for me. 8.00 am. There was important business to transact with the powers that be in ‘another place’ before I rebooted my more earthbound activities. 9.00 am. The marking of Abstraction reports recommenced. These are the comment options:

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 09.22.33

‘WC’ signifies a ‘word choice’ error, and not a toilet break; ‘Commonly Confused’ describes most students’ experience at some point in their education, I suspect; while  ‘Missing “,” ‘ implies the absence of a comma, rather than of a Betty Boop emoticon. ‘Awk.’ (‘Awkward’) would communicate more forcibly if it was rendered, in young person’s parlance, as ‘TAwk.’ (‘Totally Awkward’). These days, assessors are not permitted to use exclamation marks or write expressions of disbelief and confusion (such as ‘WHAT!!!??’) in their comments, lest they cause offence to the student. My Gran would have said that this was mollycoddling. We’re in danger of growing thin-skinned and lilly-livered students in HEI. They’ll not be able to survive the cut n’ thrust and uncompassionate savagery of the ‘wicked world of work’, as exemplified in programs such as The Apprentice. (And what an appalling management model Sugar and his cronies represent too.) Criticism (a word that’s fast disappearing from the academic lexicon) needs to be savoured with salt and eased with balm. The marker must not only wound and but also cleanse and bind up the wound. (Some John Coltrane in the background: African, American, spiritual, heady). My oddest comment of the day: ‘Avoid Blue Peterisms’.

12.30 pm. An early lunch before ascending Mount Penglais to attend the first informal sound provision discussion meeting at the Arts Centre:


There were six of us present. More will attend the next session, no doubt. A small number is more appropriate for a small beginning. Nevertheless, we generated a good many serviceable ideas related to performances, events, and student-led/collaborative visual-sound projects. Something has begun.

2.30 pm. I returned to home and the Abstraction project assessment. I miss the piles of papers on my desk: the tower of unmarked papers slowly decreasing in height. Digital assessment, however, is tidier. By 5.00 pm, I’d done as much as good conscience would allow. I’ve read some excellent submissions.

7.30 pm. Yesterday’s composition of the second section for Image and Inscription sounds better than I’d anticipated. It required only a minor tweak to the fade-in point of one of the superimposed elements. The third section begins with Moses’ descent from the mountain. The pattern of the ascent and descent of both Moses and God isn’t easy to establish from the text. On some occasions, it’s denoted, while on others, only implied:

Moses ascends (Exodus 19.3)
Moses descends (Exodus 19.7)
Moses ascends (Exodus 19.8)
Moses descends (Exodus 19.14)
God descends (Exodus 19.18, 20)
Moses ascends (Exodus 19.20)
Moses descends (Exodus 19.25)

At the beginning of each new section of composition, I’ve not the slightest idea how it will proceed. That’s trilling and unnerving in equal measure.


There’s a noticeable and welcome slowing down in the drip of emails into my inbox.






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