September 13, 2014

There are two road plaques directly opposite one another at the entrance to St David’s Road, Aberystwyth. The text on the older plaque has a possessive apostrophe, the newer one doesn’t (or, perhaps, that should be ‘doesnt’). Wales has only one patron saint. So, only the former inscription makes ecclesiastical and historical sense. The Welsh name for the road is ‘Ffordd Ddewi’ on both. Curiously, neither translates the word ‘saint’ (Welsh: sant) (which, on the older plaque, has an unnecessary full stop after it’s contracted form). Therefore, the English rendering, properly speaking (writing), is either ‘David’s Road’ or ‘The Road of David’. The Google Translate service renders ‘Ffordd Ddewi’ in English as ‘Martins’. Signs of the times, old:


Signs of the times, new:


I was at the School of Art, Open day Help Desk for 9.30 am, awaiting the teaming hoards to descend:


There was a good turn out in the morning, with thoughtful questions from, and honest discussions with, a number of inquirers. Some A-level students find it very difficult to commit themselves to a single discipline after years of studying every subject under the sun. For others, what subject they choose is a matter of indifference; any one at which they’re reasonably competent could provide a basis for an education at degree level. Yet others don’t choose to study art; art choses them. (Such was my experience too.):


After lunch, I wrote the conclusion of the ‘Rock Art’ lecture to music by Pink Floyd, who I wish I could appreciate more than I do. It’s matter of taste rather than of quality. I like them best when they were least melodic.

Suggestions for furthering an improvement in student feedback shuttled back and forth academic staff inboxes for the first part of the afternoon. Should we, now, move towards typewritten response forms as our contribution to offering a better deal to students who are now paying through the nose for their education? My penny’s worth:

If you look at a recent monthly salary receipt, you’ll see that your annual wage is calculated both as a gross and as an hourly rate (even though we don’t have contracted hours of work). If I divide the one by the other, it suggests that I’m paid for a 36-hour working week. But my real-time hours per-week would average out at an hourly rate commensurate with that of a pay-tiller at Morrisons supermarket. Students do deserve the best for what they pay (even though the £9,000 a year doesn’t represent ‘new’ money in the system, merely a replacement for the same amount that the government has withdrawn from the HE budget). But staff, too, deserve the best for the charitable work that they have invest in the system just to keep it operational. 

Ironically, and this must be the case in many professions where typing rather than handwriting is required, few if any of the academic staff can touch-type. I can’t. Perhaps Human Resources should compel us to attend skill-enhancement courses to this end.

Part of the ‘problem’ of feedback, particularly in the context of art practice assessments, is the students’ failure to listen and absorb what is being said at the time. (This is a generalisation of course.) The situation is analogous to a visit to the GP where you are given important (and sometimes distressing) news regarding the outcome of a clinical test. The GP doesn’t usually follow up the appointment with a letter outlining the points that were made. Perhaps they should. My point is, that in our far more important discussions about life, health, and death, there is the expectation that we should be attentive and retentive audiants. No one absolves us of that responsibility.

Having completed the conclusion to the Art/Sound lecture and polished the accompanying PowerPoint presentation, I made for the studio to further explore the potential Handboard 3, now equipped with a three-channel active mixer prior to the reverberation effector. (The last unit in the chain.):


An evening on my own. The family have dispersed.

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