September 24, 2014

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8.30 am. After my early morning preparations of the soul, and before I set out for the School, I subdued my inbox and completed the Art/Sound essay submission guidelines. Then, I ventured out into a blowy but enlivening autumnal morning, under a canopy of turbulent cloud:

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10.15 am. The artist known as Pete Monaghan popped in for a pre-arranged cup of departmental brew. He’s a former MA Fine Art student. Our conversation usually takes a philosophical bent once pleasantries have been exchanged. We bemoaned the corporateization of British universities and the pressure upon artists to justify their profession in some measurable and serviceable way. I’ve always taken consolation in that magnificent pronouncement in the Revelation of St John the Divine regarding God’s primam causam and motivation for making: ‘for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created’ (Revelation 4.11). The Creation perceived as an initial and perpetual expression and act of self-fulfilment. However, all humankind are beneficiaries of the divine ‘indulgence’. Similarly, as artists, we may create for no other reason than the joy it brings to us. But that pleasure often extends beyond the boundaries of our work and experience to inspire the same feelings in others:

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From 10.30 am onwards, the postgraduates were the focus of my attention.

12.00 pm. The Postgraduate Welcome Lunch began. The hubbub of enthusiastic conversation grew and grew from the outset. This was a good sign — the promissory that a vital, self-regulating, and mutually support community may emerge, once again. The second year MA students are now actively befriending and nurturing the newbies. Such expressions of spontaneous altruism should never be taken for granted:

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After lunch, a colleague and I ‘induced’ the MA contingent onto their degree schemes. What a lot of them! It was good to see some familiar faces from last year’s BA cohort. The secretaries have the more difficult task of inputting their module choice data into a software that doesn’t have the words ‘exception’ and ‘exemption’ in its vocabulary.

4.10 pm. Back to BA module administration. The period of departmental registration and induction feels like pushing a large ocean liner out of the dock by hand:

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6.15 pm. Practice session 1. During the evening session I made an immediate response to an enthusiastic letter from one of my friends in the north. Then I followed through by writing to some of my previous collaborators, to the end of initiating plans for a follow-up conference to ‘The Noises of Art’ (2013). My foot is in the door. So much time is expended either persuading those who hold the purse strings to invest (just a little) in resources to run new projects, or else searching for small grants sufficient to kick ideas into reality.

11.10 pm. ‘The night watch’. I finalised the Art/Sound essay topics.

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