January 7, 2016

9.00 am. I digitised several text articles related to my research in order to dispose of their analogue source. Afterwards (and with a stiff tea and a square of ultra-dark, chilli-savoured, boutique chocolate to hand), I returned to my assessment of an MPhil Art History thesis.

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What one looks for in good chocolate, as in a good thesis, is solidity, consistency, maturity, bite, crispness, sophistication, a balance of flavours, a memorable aftertaste, and the ability to promote an enthusiasm for more. I made critical notes and commentary for the remainder of the morning.

1.40 pm. Now past the half way point — a critical juncture. Is the reader inclined to go on? Whatever else an academic work may aspire to, it ought to be a compelling read.

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3.45 pm. On, then, to the report. Judicious balance is called for: applause for achievement, where due, seasoned with salt and vinegar. Neither unstinting praise nor undiluted censure ever helped anyone.

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6.30 pm. Practice session 1.

7.30 pm. On with the report. It necessitated a more detailed response than I’d anticipated. Balanced, reasoned criticism, supportive suggestions, and a doable plan of action take time and space to compose, and to convey with a degree of compassion. By 9.00 pm, it was in the bag and on its way to the external examiner and the viva voce Chairman. Tomorrow sees the start of a week of fine art feedback tutorials.

9.30 pm. Practice session 2.

 

 

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