July 18, 2017

The big day! Like a wedding on steroids. Graduands morphed into graduates at the doff of a hat. For many, this was the great ‘leaving home’ party. Others will return to undertake MA studies with us in September. For everyone, it’s a memorable rite of passage. That so many young, and older, people go to university these days doesn’t diminish the achievement. To obtain a good degree requires ability, hard work, perseverance, knowledge, wisdom, and maturity. As I sat on the podium, looking out at our brood, I saw the faces of some who, variously, got into the School by the skin of their teeth, had faced insuperable personal problems at some point in their studies, collapsed academically halfway through, and, in so many other ways, got lost. And yet … and yet … here they now were, along with those whose voyage through education had been smooth from start to finish, valiant, rightly proud, changed, stable, optimistic, converted to learning, and full of potential.

In one of my Messenger exchanges today, I’d remarked:

I was a bad-to-mediocre secondary school student. (The proverbial underachiever.) Few teachers had any hope for me.  I was socially inept and struggled without confidence in either myself or the system of education. Art school was a life-ring for me — a complete reorientation of my understanding about what it was to learn. Motivation and determination followed in its wake. [Any individual’s ] turnaround (like mine) comes from within … . In part, it’s the recognition of a fitness for purpose, and of belonging to a tradition and community of endeavour that seeks to accept and encourage rather than remould and undermine.

Teachers have their contribution to make. But the real heroes in this process of transformation are the students themselves:

1.30 pm: Email catch-up, Facebook n’ Twitter upload, and ‘to do’ list and tutorial diary update. 3.15 pm: Postgraduate admin: the ‘memory’ project, which the School will be running in collaboration with the Royal Commission in November, needed to move forward. I contacted our, now, well-trained team of workshop mangers (the MA Vocational Practice students) and others to ask for volunteers.

7.30 pm: Studiology. I returned to the sound system that I’d designed, initially, for the Epistle of James performance composition:

I sensed the need of another sampler recorder/player in the effects loop. Presently, the Roland SP-404SX if dedicated to playing samples of keywords derived from the epistle. The floor-based loopers’ job is to capture and overlay the output combined further down stream. What I cannot do at the moment is snatch momentary samples off the decks — ‘self-erasing one-offs’. I shall sleep on it.

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