November 24, 2016



A whizz of a day, bouncing back and fore between the Old College and the School of Art, taking in a lunchtime meeting, a research monitoring interview, and second year painting tutorials. In the evening, I caught up on my research databases, website, and CV — updating, amending, and adding recent events.

Today: 8.30 am: Off to School. There was a hole in the road just inside the School gates. A water pipe had burst. The supply was turned off ‘n on throughout the day, much to the consternation of those photographers who were trying to process their prints. Every hole is an archaeological dig, of sorts:


8.45 am: I set up the morning’s Art/Sound doubler and Module Evaluation Questionnaire — a first for this module. Me, I wouldn’t cross the road to hear John Harvey. (Each to their own, I guess.)

11.10 pm: Becky Backshall, one of our former BA and MA fine art students at the School of Art, shadowed Dr Forster and I on our ‘ward rounds’ today:


It was lovely to have her brightness and enthusiasm ringing through the studios once again. She was one of the most prolific and hardworking students that I’ve ever taught. And the work was suffused with quality too. Undergraduate students need to hear about the ‘after life’ of art school from the mouth of one who is ‘living the life’,  and closer to their age than are their regular tutors. (Let’s not go there!) Bex cast a very long shadow. She’ll be back, I’m sure.

What is it about this red light that fixates me? In all my time at the School, I’ve never walked through the door below it. And I don’t intend ever to do so. There should always be one door that beckons, but which is resisted:


By 5.30 pm on a Thursday I’m ‘dun-in’. 6.30 pm: Practise session 1. 7.30 pm: Every Thursday evening, I attempt to resolve the week’s outstanding admin. Tomorrow, my mind will occupy in a different (but complementary) space, with a clear desk and conscience.

Some observations and principles derived from today’s engagements:

  • We’ll always know less than we know.
  • Don’t nail down the tent pegs too soon; allow the canvas to first catch the wind the change, and billow.
  • Practice denial in one area of life; it’ll help bring discipline to other areas.
  • Don’t be surprised by surprises. Students can shatter your expectations; they’re capable of extraordinary achievements.
  • A good teacher will make you feel as though you’re capable of anything, even if, (presently) you aren’t.
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