Lean not unto thine own understanding (Proverbs 3.5)
8.00 am: A communion. 8.45 am: My morning was spent marking the remainder of the Abstraction module’s exhibition report submissions. The weather moved between moods. Our states of feeling and mind, sometimes, likewise, shift between obfuscation and clarity, infirmity and resilience, and anxiety and relief. Winds suddenly arise and either bring storms in their trail, or else scatter the clouds before them.
(In the background: Gillian Welch’s Hell Among the Yearlings (1998) and Gavin Bryar’s Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet (1993) – against the occasional crash and tinkle of bottles being retrieved, in the street below my study window, for recycling.) 11.15 am: Rain against the Velux window, against the silence of the study. I wanted, in that moment, to be at prayer within some great cathedral. The need for solace and confession has, of late, descended on me suddenly, like an unexpected shower. The marking of the module was completed by 12.45 pm. On, then, with preparations for this afternoon’s Research and Process in Practice presentations for third-year Single-Honours Fine Art students:
3.30 pm: A strange light, an unsettling darkness, and a wind full of substance – recalling the biblical plague of locusts – hit land. The Creation was troubled:
By 5.20 pm: Dr Forster and I had heard nine presentations. We convened to rake-over the ashes. 5.40 pm: Homeward.
6.30 pm: Practise session. 7.30 pm: I wrote up my feedback for five of the afternoon’s contributions. The essence of my observations:
- You delivered a cohesive narrative that developed ideas at a rate which the audience could follow.
- You gave a thoroughly instructive background to your field, one which didn’t upstage the discussion about your own work .
- Concepts, processes, and methodology native to your disciplinary field were explained in a manner that was comprehensible to non-specialists.
- The presentation gave a fascinating insight into, and overview of, the progress and development of your ideas and practice over the past two years.
- You have the making of a good teacher.
- You projected your presence into the room.
- The Powerpoint medium was deployed very successfully: it served not only to show but also to communicate and persuade.
- You looked at ease and, thereby, put your audience at ease.
- Gather yourself before opening your mouth. Be present unto yourself, the room and, finally, the audience.
A closing commendation: