December 8, 2020

8.00 am:

8.15 am: A communion. 8.45 am: I looked over my itinerary for today: a menu of MA fine art tutorials (the last before the Christmas vacation) and consultations, and meetings. Those who are undertaking their degree in full-time mode will be submitting their work for assessment in the first week of the new year. What with all the other projects to be completed, they’ve a great deal on their hands over the next month or so.

10.30 am. Three tutees down and a half-hour pit-stop in which to embroil myself in matters arising from incoming mail. Sunshine and rain; sunshine and rain: our lives. 11.00 am: A further three for the taking.

12.30 pm: A hurried lunch before returning to research admin inquiries and making preparation for a 1.30 pm research meeting. Frequently I found myself talking with one part of my brain and reading and responding to emails with another. This was, for me, a new skill. The practice is not ideal. But the competing priorities of teaching and research admin at this point in the research assessment cycle are prone to collide hideously.

1.30 pm: The meeting:

There’ll be much to do over the vacation in terms of the articulation of research artefacts and their intent. 2.30 pm: Postgraduate admin catch-up. (Is it ever so?) 3.00 pm: A consultation with a PhD student on Temporary Withdrawal. Life-changes; life changes; life, changes.

4.00 pm: The final MA tutorial. Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • A marker of maturity: the ability to destroy a sub-standard piece of work dispassionately.
  • S: ‘Just work hard! The quality of the art will come as a result.’
  • T: ‘There’s a period in artistic development where you learn to control the work (by the acquisition of knowledge, technique, method, craft, and so forth). Later, you must learn to let the work to take control of you.’
  • T: ‘You’re behoven only to the impulse within the artwork itself, and not to anyone else’s agenda and expectations.’
  • T: ‘What you’re doing, and what you’re thinking about, now may not be the same thing. Our thoughts are often well in advance of our present actions.’
  • A marker of maturity: the willingness and confidence to take a break from working (however pressing the deadline).
  • T: ‘What about the picture interests you most? Could you paint that, and only that, in the future?’

4.30 pm: Time out; (whatever the weather)!:

7.30 pm: Further postgraduate admin., leave booking (I’ve no chance of spending it all … ever), and task-setting for the remainder of the teaching period.

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