8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 pm: My final trip to the Old College until the day of the MA fine art Portfolio assessments.
There’s an antechamber between the door leading from the staircase to the door of the West Classroom. It’s windowless and usually in complete darkness. There’ve been times when I’ve walked the floor between them, blind – exercising a reckless faith that there’d still be a door on the other side of the room. I felt a metaphor coming on.
My objective this morning was to prepare students for the forthcoming ‘inquisition’. The questions: ‘Where have you come from? Where are you going?’, provided the crossbeam on my sights. All now appreciate that the air they breathe as MA students is significantly richer and purer that than that inhaled as undergraduates. Maturation was evident: the students could see further and deeper now.
10.45 am: Back to the mothership for a two further MA fine art tutorials, and to monitor developments in the upper studios-becum-exhibition spaces. From now on, my time will not be my own.
1.00 am: A working lunch – dispatching emails, answering queries, and anticipating all the eventualities that’ll become realities next week. Food at one elbow and drink at another. (This will play havoc with my digestive system.) 1.15–2.00 pm: I played general dog’s body: calming fears, de-stressing the anxious, pointing out holes that ought to be filled, creating a sense of urgency, preparing for afternoon consultations and meetings, and walking into rooms and wondering why I was in them.
2.00 pm: A meeting to finalise the marks for the undergraduate dissertation component. There’s always equanimity among staff; we speak as one, and arrive at a judgement that all can own. 3.00 pm: A Skype tutorial with one of my PhD Fine Art tutees. Nothing beats a face-to-face, in the flesh, tutorial. But for those who’re studying at a distance, this method of communication beats a telephone call.
4.00 pm: An undergraduate consultation with one of my tutees, followed by another tour of the studios. The students were, by-in-large, maintaining a steady pace. The smell of emulsion paint was seductively overwhelming; the glare of white, freshly painted boards, blinding. ‘Prepare the boards as if your module mark depends on it’, was my advice. ‘Take pride in the small things.’ I can be a pain in the butt at times.