June 8, 2016

8.30 am. A little Lidling for pineapple chunks before work:


There’s always a danger that a day will fragment into bitty tasks, none of which is particularly fulfilling or contributory to the greater cause, all of which add up to very little in the end. Having dealt with the trivial and marginally important — spam, emails, appointments, references, and form filling — I made ready for the meat of the morning.

9.00 am. A Skype tutorial with one of our PhD Fine Art students:

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 09.34.45

Thereafter, I held an MA Fine Art tutorial and, then, attended a Special Cases review meeting in anticipation of tomorrow’s final board meeting:


11.45 am. A dash home to deliver the can of pineapples that I’d procured at Lidl. 12.00 pm. The second PhD fine art tutorial of the day. Eileen’s notice board:


Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • What we make and who we are are indivisible. This is a commonplace. But, also, so much of the worst that we’ve experienced informs the best that we’ve made.
  • Remember: visual art is notoriously unable to articulate anything specific.  It’s strength lies in its capacity to convey metaphor and allusion.
  • Aim for conceptual singularity: one idea, clearly conceived and succinctly expressed.
  • In a successful tutorial, the tutee and the tutor are both listening: to each other and for the penny to drop.
  • If you’re at war with something in your soul or work for long enough, inevitably you’ll lose some of the battles.
  • One must not only look before you leap but also know when to look and to leap. A sense of inner necessity will inform these decisions.

Over what remained of the lunchtime, I hacked away at the folders of postgraduate applications that had been stacked in my pigeon hole. 2.30 pm. I held an MA inquirers appointment with someone with whom I’d graduated at Newport in 1981. Mid afternoon, I followed up several PhD inquiries and applications on the phone. 4.30 pm. Back at homebase, I pushed on with further postgraduate admin and tutorial arrangements.

7.00 pm. An evening at the cinema/theatre, where I attended the RSC Live production of Hamlet, performed by a largely black cast. Like much of what the RSC produces today, the conception was compromised by the desire to appeal to a broad audience. The principal actor, Paapa Essiedu, held the show together. He was exceptional. Far better than Benedict Cumberbatch in the same role:

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