November 28, 2017

7.45 am: A shadow was cast over the landscape.

8.00 am: A communion. ‘Finding the way’. 8.35 am: I moved against the brittle breeze,  under a theatre of a dark-grey cloud, warm raking sunlight, and light rain showers that, in partnership, orchestrated a spontaneous rainbow over the sea. (A promissory.)

9.00 am: I’m the equivalent of power-walking through the day in an attempt to keep a step ahead of my own game. Thursday’s classes had to be prepared today, since I’d be away all day tomorrow. And this was ordinarily a full day too. I’d not washed my tea cup sufficiently – a mouthful of soapy PG Tips as a consequence. 10.00 am: The first of a number of MA Fine Art tutorials today. 11.10 am: Vocational Practice. We were looking at the vexed issue of applying criteria assessment in an tutorial feedback context. It’s one of those areas of discussion that, naturally, students have strong opinions about. (They’ve suffered under it.) When I was an undergraduate, we were never told how the marks that we’d been given had been arrived at. Nor were we bold enough to inquire. How things have changed:

12.30 pm: An MA advisory session (over my lunch). Someone at the crossroads. 1.15 pm: A personal tutorial. 2.00 am: MA tutorials recommenced. Brigitte’s colour box:

In the spaces in between teaching, I worked away at admin implied by pretty much every incoming email that cluttered my inbox. Today, on my broader rounds, I’ve encountered students in the department who are trying to cope with insuperable problems. Their tenacity and determination were inspiring.

5.15 pm: Homeward:

7.15 pm: Preparations for travel tomorrow and myriad minor admins to put to rout. The remnant of emails will have to be dealt with on the bus.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • Objectify > clarify > identify > recognise > discern > decide > determine  > repeat
  • There’s a line. At one end is a ‘classical’ sensibility, and at the other, a ‘romantic’ sensibility. The ‘classical’ (rationale, cerebral, clear-cut, linear, geometric, light, achromatic, cool, restrained, and preconceived); the ‘romantic’ (intuitive, instinctual, dark, chromatic, tonal, emotional, diffuse, evolutionary, improvisational, and spontaneous). Most students are somewhere in between, and often inclined to one end rather than to the other.
  • We must each have a vision for ourselves as much as for our work. This should be: confident, without being immodest; certain, with being restrictive; and consistent, without being inflexible.
  • There are times when the irresolutions of either the heart, mind, or soul may take us to the very brink.
  • No one should suffer outside of a supportive community.
  • There are many voices in our head when choices have to be made. Why do we listen to one more than the other? Why do we tend to heed the negative more than the positive voice?
  • If we are physically uncomfortable with the means of making, does that suggest that we are going about it in the wrong way?
  • Looking > excavating > finding > recovering > discovering
  • Rehearsal isn’t the same as preparation: One might prepare for an act that is related to, but substantially different from, the final outcome.


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