December 1, 2015

7.00 am. As soon as my feet touch the bedroom floor, the symptoms (headaches, nausea, congestion, and aching) return. Drug up! Push on! 9.00 am. The first hour of Tuesday morning is set aside as a Personal Tutorial drop-in. In between ‘clients’, I caught up with absenteeism (this task never ends) and began reinvigorating the PowerPoint for Thursday’s Abstraction lecture.

10.00 am. I held an MA fine art tutorial. Today, the emphasis was on pruning, distilling, editing, rarefying, and focussing. All terribly difficult stuff. 11.10 pm. The first of the year’s MA Forum sessions. Each practice-based student introduced a piece of their recent work and invited observations from the group.

2.00 pm. Because I cannot access the university’s research database outside the firewall, I’m forced to do so from my office at work. A suitably polite but off-putting sign was placed on my door:


I ought to like databases: they’re structured, outwardly rationale, easily accessible. But I deplore (some of) them. Possibly, because they’re inflicted upon me, or reproduce material that’s already on other, similar websites elsewhere, or else the data fields distort the nature of the input type. But these things have to be done … if grimly.


My prohibition notification has been solidly effective all afternoon. ‘Of the making of databases, there is no end’. The night descends:


5.15 pm. I quit the work and packed for home.

6.30 pm. Practise session 2. 7.30 pm. Another review form to be completed. It will hours to fill in; evidently, it took minutes to compose (and badly at that). The choice is to fill in the form either in an anodyne or acerbic manner. I honestly cannot imagine anyone asking me these questions to my face. My cold has taken hold again this evening. It progresses in an undulating fashion: peaks and troughs.

I’ve met all of my objectives this year, more or less. The ‘factors’ contributing to success included:

  • compressed periods of teaching during the week that allow space for meaningful periods for research and dedicated time for admin;
  • micro-managing every day and setting short-term deadlines for projects;
  • maintaining informed and courteous relationships with collaborators, and seeking advice from those who are better in the know, constantly;
  • a willingness to court failure, risk embarrassment and misunderstanding, and reinvent myself;
  • doing only what I really want to do, as far as it’s within my power.

By 11.59 pm tonight the Abstraction assessment submissions will be in.

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