8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: I had a text correspondence with one of our PhD students, who was due to deliver a paper at a Oxford University today, and engaged general Inboxery activities. No. 2 (decaffeinated):
There’s a type of problem that appears to have no satisfactory resolution. It’s called a dilemma, wherein all possible alternatives to a situation may involve either compromise, or hurt, or loss, or some such deficit. Thus, no one course of action is entirely right or wrong, good or bad, or clear and commendable. The best one can hope for is a Pyrrhic victory. ‘What’s the best worst outcome?’ ‘Which alternative will prove more bearable not only now but also in the longterm?’ And, if you’ve an altruistic frame of mind: ‘Which “solution” would be more inconvenient for me, rather than for another?’
In the end, the decision must be informed by the anticipation and acceptance of the consequences, however dire. We can’t ‘ghost’ our dilemmas (like ending a personal relationship with someone – irresponsibly, suddenly, fully, and without explanation); they don’t disappear that easily in any case, and grow more problematic if buried out of sight. However, decisions are often retractable. They can be tried, proven to be inappropriate, and amended or replaced.
9.00 am: I made preparations for PhD teaching, which would take up the lion’s share of the morning and afternoon. 10.30 am: Off to School to meet with MA Fine Art and a PhD Fine Art inquirer:
The forthcoming exhibition ‘Wales and the Modern Movements Revisited‘, curated by and held at the School of Art Gallery includes an old friend that I’ve not seen in several decades. Gospel Pews (1991) was drawn from the gallery of an Aberystwyth chapel over four days in November of that year. The interior was perishingly cold, and the light began to fail around 3.30 pm in the afternoons. I’d a hot water bottle strapped to me all day:
I worked through the lunch hour before walking through the rain to the Old College for two PhD fine art tutorials:
4.15 pm: I returned to the mothership …
… for the final PhD fine art tutorial of the day. The emphases of the day have been on preparing for the final shows and structuring the thesis element of the degree. The latter will be the topic of our next PhD Fine Art writing seminar, in July.
Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:
- Make yourself in your own image, as opposed to image that others have, in the past, assigned to you.
- Never place a cap on what you think you can achieve.
- Be confident in your ability to learn, overcome periods of unconfidence, face new demands, and acquire additional skills.
- Modesty at all times. Ambition at all times.
- Beware of flatterers; they want flattery in return.
- Don’t equate hard work and determination with achievement.
- Trust the judgement of those who know what they’re talking about.
7.30 pm: Email catch up and further postgraduate admin.