August 28, 2019

Tuesday, August 27, 2019: A day, largely, of MA fine art tutorials with students who’ll be undertaking their second and final exhibition next month. Many have been working on this project flat-out since their last exhibition. They’re now reaching the point of exhaustion. This can be a dangerous time. Their judgement, confidence, and sense of both self-worth and the integrity of the work can be impaired. Now, they need the encouragements, support, and insights of each other and the tutors, as at no other juncture in the scheme.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019: For the first part of the morning I conducted PhD fine art tutorials at the Old College. Teaching at this level is hardly teaching at all, in some ways: it’s more a conversation towards mutual enlightenment. Growth in awareness and understanding isn’t guaranteed; sometimes all the tutorial can hope to do is till the land in readiness for seeding ideas in the future. There were chinks of light today, in both cases.

11.30 am: Back at homebase, I caught up with incoming mail and the political news that was breaking. We live in uncertain and unprecedented times. The world lurches like a boat upon a stormy sea with no competent captain at the helm. In periods of pessimism, when politics fail, art can provide an anchor of hope. To create, is an act of defiance in the face of meaninglessness and despair: individual and collective.

1.00 pm: An old friend visited and shared lunch. 1.40 pm: On, then, with endless tutorials on worthy issues that, nevertheless, absorb time and energy that would otherwise be expended on the bigger issues of life. We each must ‘redeem the time, because the days are evil’.

7.30 pm: I continued wading through slides and tests about subjective bias and equality in the work place. One must always be aware that any mode of instruction, however admirable its intention, is itself subject to assumptions and bias. Trust nothing implicitly; prove its validity. In the background, I packed for a day away, tomorrow.

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