Where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music (John Donne (1571-1631), ‘Our Last Awakening’).
Armistice Day. 8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: I had a hour to catch up on postgraduate admin, student monitoring, and inquiries before my trek up to P4, Penbryn on the campus for a morning of MA fine art tutorials. I’m always reminded of somewhere between a hospital and well-healed private prison:
The students seem settled in their new accommodation. Granted the cells might be better adapted to a Fra Angelico than a Mark Rothko. But needs must. Students can work and receive face-to-face teaching at university. That has taken a great deal of time, procurement, organisation, chivvying, and wheeling and dealing to secure. Each student is moving forward (even if, at times, they don’t recognise this for themselves). Progress is rarely linear and at a consistent pace. We must sometimes judder, stop, crawl, and backfire — like a clapped-out vehicle burning the last dregs of fuel — before moving forward at speed. The frustrating times are often the harbinger of a breakthrough. One must first clear the ground of the clichéd, obvious, predictable, oft-repeated, and ‘what anyone else could’ve done’ before we can lay hold of a truth, reality, and voice that are uniquely our own.
12.20 pm: Raced back home to begin an online tutorial:
1.30 pm: Well, there it is. It has long been anticipated; now its official, it would seem. Term will be somewhat shorter than anticipated as a consequence. Teaching will have to be compressed. The sand shifts, constantly:
2.00 pm: Back to MA tutorials, online. It was encouraging to witness both their earnestness and positive development. If you chip away at a thing for long enough and intelligently enough, something will happen.
4.30 pm: Runaround … in the rain, no less:
7.30 pm: Postgraduate admin. It’s hotting-up. Changes to the PhD Fine Art exhibition timetable (due to galleries being set aside for teaching) have upended our ‘best laid plans’ and expectations. A new order was required.
Edwin Lutyen’s ‘The Cenotaph’ on Whitehall, London, is now a century old. It was unveiled on this day in 1920. It is as noble as it is austere: an abstraction of memory and death; an embodiment of the classical and the modern: