9.20 am: On to the School for the new academic year’s first Open Day:
There was a healthy number in attendance, throughout a glorious day – perhaps one of the last ‘summery’ residues of the season. Dr Forster held forth in the painting studio, demonstrating techniques and answering queries:
Throughout the day staff were in advisory mode. Choosing what and where to study is fraught with difficulties. Taking along either a parent, guardian, carer, or good friend who knows you well is a must, in my view. Can they see you spending the next three years of your life in Aberystwyth? Every perspective on the question helps. Talking with tutors is essential too: ‘Are these the type of people who’ll enable me to realise my potential?’ And, for our part: ‘Are you the type of person who’d benefit from what we’ve got to offer?’ The process is a little like speed dating … but not as sexy.
Here’s the essence of several discussions that I conducted today:
I’m less interested in the skills that you’ve already developed than in your capacity to develop further skills on the BA (Hons.) Fine Art scheme. Convince me that you’re teachable … As a mature student, your attainment at A-level is immaterial, practically speaking. One way or another, your current potential probably bears little resemblance to what you can achieve today. So, don’t carry the burden of your prior educational experience. Beginning a degree is beginning again … Even if you were to achieve a first-class honours degree but never discovered yourself in the process, then, you’ll have failed.
The School of Art has a distinct ambience – a ‘magic’. And it’s not just the architecture; the ambassadors, students, staff (academic and support) work hard to sustain that sense of ‘family’, camaraderie, and commitment to one another’s highest good, for which we are famous. Quality of provision is also important. But people are more important.
4.00 pm: Another opening: The second exhibition of the MA Fine Art scheme. It represents the students’ final flourish and bid to beat their own best efforts. Their friends and local residents were, as always, very supportive and encouraging.