February 2, 2016

8.00 am. I dealt with the few emails that had arrived since close of office last night before the morning’s appointment with my soul. 8.40 am. There were still Christmas decorations in windows, and dead Christmas trees awaiting collection by the ‘bin man’, on the streets leading to the School. My amaryllis had begun to blossom over the weekend:


9.00 am. The cancellation of a Personal Tutor appointment freed up time for me to clear elements of admin that I’d been avoiding over the past week. One should face the worst first in the day. 10.00 am. An MA Fine Art tutorial.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • If you have access to the space in which you are going to exhibit eventually, get to know it as soon as possible. Place your work in that environment, and observe how it responds. It can be a very encouraging experience.
  • The unity of a body of work is related to its corporate identity, rather more than to the colour, scale, or even subject matter, particularly.
  • The best seat in the art school is always the most uncomfortable: the one that makes you squirm because you’re facing what you’ve never done before with too little confidence that you’ll ever succeed in doing it. Resist the comfy chair!
  • Get to understand the world and your times: their history, geography, politics, cultures, and beliefs. Read or hear the news daily. Otherwise, you’ll shrink to the size of your practice.
  • Develop a healthy suspicion of yourself. But always believe the best about others.
  • Do not make the work to fit the box. Instead, make the box to fit the work.

11.00 am. A postponed MA tutorial opened up a further space for postgraduate module admin. 12.00 pm. The first tutorial with one of our two new PhD Fine Art students who’re beginning their studies this month. At the beginning of a course of study, the choices in terms of the direction, scope, and foci seem bewildering. But there are only two fundamental directions or journeys that each student has to travel on this scheme: the one in outward, the other, inward. Strangely (and this is one of the wonders of it all), these two roads are moving in the same direction and will converge eventually.

2.00 pm:


More adminy, modulary thingy before another PhD Fine Art tutorial, at 3.00 pm. It was an encouraging, a wide ranging, but an entirely focussed discussion. I look forward to the next phase of this student’s research. This degree programme is now throwing up types of practice-based research that could not have been anticipated when we first launched it. Today, I recalled my initial conversations with the constructivist artist Malcom Hughes (1920-1997), in 1995, who supervised the first doctorate studies in Fine Art at the Slade School of Art, University College London. His wisdom and practical common sense contributed greatly to my own considerations, as I set up the programme at Aberystwyth. He was also my MA Fine Art external examiner.

5.30 pm. The opening of the Stanley Anderson: Unmaking the Modern, at the School’s galleries.  A good turn out for a a rip-roaring show:


6.45 pm. Practise session 1. 7.30 pm. A little Facebookery before returning to my week’s PhD and undergraduate submissions review (with a little fretboard training in the background):


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