January 20, 2021

WFH: DAY 9. 8.30 am: I set up the Teams room for a day of MA Vocational Practice presentations. We’ll each be the other’s teacher today. This was a hairy endeavour. Some students were experiencing internet outages, storms, and various ‘bugs’ in the display mechanism. It felt like trying to do something normal on he raft of the Medusa. I was so glad for the presence of tech-savvy students. They’d earned their wings.

9.00 am: Kick-off. It’s the first occasion many in the cohort have had to see each others’ work. Had the students been resident at the School, and under normal circumstances, they would’ve been in and out of their peers’ studios and study rooms, chatting on the corridors, and meeting informally over lunch and coffee. The conditions imposed upon their educational experience by the pandemic has robbed them of those riches. Nevertheless, they appear to have — digitally and remotely — created inroads for discussion and support. They’ve gelled. Some of them, who were third year students immediately prior to the MA, have matured in an extraordinary way. I was impressed with them, and the others. Mandatory requirement: ‘GET THE CAT OUT OF THE ROOM BEFORE YOU START YOUR PRESENTATION!’ The rain persisted:

Some principles and observations derived from my presentation feedback:

  • This presentation not only fed your peers in art but also would’ve been accessible to a broad audience.
  • Your use of the verbatim script was ideal; it enabled you move through complex ideas quickly and effectively.
  • You spoke with authority and clear-headedness.
  • You’ve come a great distance in confidence and awareness of your work.
  • You explained difficult ideas clearly. There’s a teacher inside you, no doubt about it.
  • I appreciated your candour and honesty; you opened-up ideas that had resonances for us all. And, you avoided jargon.
  • You DO have a gift for communicating. And you’ll be compelled to exercise it in the future. For our gifts always find a way of escaping from us.

2.00 pm: The afternoon shift. If someone were to ask me whether I’d have preferred to conclude my final year as a tutor at the School of Art without the challenges of the pandemic, then, I would have to say ‘no!’ The challenges, risks, and suffering, and the have been fearful. But I’ve also witnessed examples of magnificent endurance, perseverance, kindness, self-sacrifice, and a determination to overcome. This has been, and will remain, an inspiration. We’ve all been changed by this past year in so many ways, and in some ways for the better. 5.15 pm: A conclusion (for now).

8.00 pm (GMT) / 3.00 pm (EST): I touched base with ‘our woman in Washington’ for the final presentation assessment of the day. ‘Full house!’ It had been an exciting day in their city:

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