January 29, 2020

7.00 am: A far better night’s sleep. 7.45 am: A communion. 8.15 am: Onto the streets. When I arrived at the School, the back of the building was in darkness. Power cut. The projection system in the main lecture was inoperable as a result. My only course of action available was to deliver the introductory talk on the undergraduate Exhibition modules from memory, and with the aid of the Powerpoint slides displayed on my phone. Curiously, the obstacle improved the performance (subjectively speaking). My vulnerability became a strength. It’s not the challenge that defeats us but, rather, our failure to meet it.

10.00 am. A consultation with one of our secretaries regarding postgraduate applications, followed by a PhD fine art tutorial with a student who has begun their course of study this month:

11.30 am: Homeward – to undertake admin, battle with digital ‘stuff’, upload material, and prepare to wade through postgraduate applications, following decisions made at the earlier meeting. Inquiries for the PhD and MA schemes come to us in three ways: the university portal, email, and via informal visit to the School (and sometime all three together). So, it’s difficult synchronising applications across all points of contact. This would have to be an evening task performed to very loud music.

2.00 pm: The first of a trio of PhD fine art tutorials. How hard it is to achieve a perspective on one’s own work. Understanding is only gained years after we’ve made it, in some cases. Others can have a far greater insight into our operations, sometimes. So, perhaps, conversations between ourselves and others (in the know and doing battle with the same problem) may serve to break the ice. The technique commends itself, notionally. 3.00 pm: I was sitting at a table in a studio of a student who was not physically present. We were trying to connect and converse across the ether. The endeavour felt like a séance. But Skype is not always a reliable medium.

4.00 pm: The final tutorial of the afternoon. A fine art tutorial at this level can evolve into a psychoanalytic encounter. (It’s in the nature of the subject. We can’t access the work other than through ourselves.) And, sometimes, the tutor turns patient. I was drawn to a shuttered window that divided the room we were sat in and another, beyond. Metaphorically, these doors would one day be opened on my behalf. My dilemma concerned what lay behind them. For the student, the metaphor unfolded in a very different way.

5.30 pm: Homeward:

7.30 pm: Back to sifting postgraduate applications.

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January 30, 2020

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