January 28, 2020

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, grant us peace
(‘Agnus Dei’, Book of Common Prayer)

5.30 am: I’d been awake since 3.15 am. My body was at one and the same time hot and cold. There’d been a dream, about which I remembered nothing other than a vague sense of unease. As I placed my feet upon the bedroom carpet, my head was filled with a setting of the Agnus Dei.

7.45 am: A communion, followed by a half-hour dose, followed by a seasonal walk across the Promenade to the Old College to begin my day of Masters-level tutorials. This will be my last semester of teaching there. In June, students and staff will be turfed out so that the renovations of the building can begin. The sea and inland water were choppy:

9.00 am: At the West Classroom: a crusade of substrats waited to be painted:

The winter light poured like white wine through the windows of Primary One:

11.00 am: After undertaking four one-to-one tutorials, I took a brisk walk through town back to the mothership in order to set up the room in readiness for the semester’s first Vocational Practice class. This was my first encounter with the Masters contingent as an ensemble, too. Clearly, they’d gelled as a group already. I was the outsider on this occasion. I fear that I’ll put-off the next generation of Higher-Education teachers with my realism and candour. My powers of dissuasion know no bounds. But this is a module built upon honesty and a willingness to share and learn from one another. I learn a great deal from the students, every year. I’ll miss this module enormously.

1.00 pm: Home for lunch and a further micro-dose before returning to consult emails and prepare for the first class of Art in Wales (to which I make three contributions). Professor Meyrick introduced the module, and I set the scene with a lecture on culture and society in Wales.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • The most enduring fantasies are those that are never tested against reality.
  • Discouragement is like bad weather: a certainty, unpleasant to endure, but only for a season. Bright skies and a gentle breeze will follow.
  • Compassion is the foundation of teaching: Whoever teaches on any other basis is not worthy of the profession.

An intriguing tweet cropped up (or whatever they do). If only emails could be this interesting:

I responded:

Duchamp held the view that the term ‘artist’ was a serviceable catch-all for anyone who either painted, sculpted, drew, made music, thought, or played chess. What was good enough for him is good enough for me.

5.00 pm: My final two MA fine art tutorials for the afternoon. Having had so little sleep last night, it took considerable stamina to continue working through the evening. ‘The flesh is weak’. 7.30 pm: I restricted my activities to uploading to Blackboard (the academic deposit) sound and visual material from the days’ teaching .

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