June 18, 2020

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. / It will flame out, like shining from shook foil (Gerard Manley Hopkins, ‘God’s Grandeur’ (1877)).

WFH: DAY 71. 8.00 am: A communion. 8.45 am: A deletion of spam and other bothersome unsolicited mail. After which, I ‘called-in’ on an ailing student. 9.00 am: Dark clouds gathered; rain fell intermittently. Second cuppa of the morning at my elbow, I picked up where I’d left off with yesterday evening’s writing.

10.30 am: I held a group chat with our sterling clan of PhD photographers. How hard it is when you’re unable to avail yourself of the equipment and facilities that are at the foundation of your operations, due to lockdown. Patience, adaptation, and communication are the watchwords. They’re an admirable bunch: resourceful, intelligent, and eager to do well. 11.30 pm: I held a second-supervisor consultation with one of this brood:

12.00 pm: I attended to administration arising out of the morning’s meetings.

2.00 pm: Change is coming thick and fast, both now and in the mid-term at the School. It’s very exciting; the prospect of re-invention and reinvigoration. On with a pastoral consultation. 2.30 pm: The admin drips into my inbox like rain through a leaky roof after a downpour.

This afternoon, I moved from MS Teams to Skype to FaceTime, from PC to iMac, from studio to study. 3.00 pm: I held a video chat with an intending MA Fine Art applicant:

They were interested in landscape painting. For such, studying art in an environment of such conspicuous natural beauty like Aberystwyth is a no brainer. I used to teach an undergraduate art history module on British Landscape. Today, I would conceived its curriculum very differently. The threat of climate change and our experience of lockdown has changed our relationship to Nature and landscape profoundly. We’re more aware of our participation in, and responsibility to, the environment, as well as its particularities, nuances, extraordinary otherness, and independence. It doesn’t need us. Indeed, presently, it would do far better without us. Art’s relationship to landscape will change as a consequence of these twin forces. This is a good time to be an image maker working in the genre.

4.00 pm: The final video chat of the day was with one of Dr Forster’s students, in my capacity as second supervisor. Always, my primary objective is asking: ‘Are you well? Are you coping? Are you working?’ And, afterwards, affirming: ‘We’re rooting for you! We’ll see you through!’

7.30 pm: I returned to admin., putting to bed some of the issues that had arisen during the day, before taking-up writing and ending the evening with reading. (The latter is developing into a welcome habit.)

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