March 24, 2020

WFH: DAY 6. 8.15 am: A communion. Now firmly ensconced at home, a sense of the breath, length, and depth of my life and its operations in the weeks ahead was more clearly defined. 9.15 am: I set up my stall in preparation for periods during the day when I’d attempt to hold one-to-one tutorials with my MA contingent:

This was all untried. Getting both participants’ equipment up and running seemed to be the call of the hour. Messaging works; but it’s hard work if you are texting on a phone, as was one student. (I’m hopeless at it.) By noon, having conducted two tutorials by messaging, I’d discovered (I hoped) the cause of the sound failure, my end. Once we’d begun to talk ‘art’, the darker issues of the wider world moved from the centre of our vision … for a while. Many students, having had to abandon their student accommodation and the jobs that they’d held down, have returned to loved ones and unemployment. For them, finding the resources to work at home, as well as keep body and soul together, will be a herculean endeavour.

Some pertinent exchanges, today:

S: ‘Worried. Very worried’.
T: ‘Just keeping in touch, by whatever means, is the priority’.
T: ‘Keep safe, and drop me a message if you’re going bonkers’.
S: ‘I think I’m bonkers enough already’.
T: ‘The essential thing is to take time to recover. Don’t rush that process. Life and health are far more important than art. Look, rather, to your own needs, as well as to those who depend on you’.
T: ‘You’ve a super-abundance of ideas. It’ll be hard to sift and hybridize them’.
T: ‘Some things will happen for artists during these times of anxiety and isolation that would not otherwise take place’. 
T: ‘I suspect that we’ll all overlay our work with the current spirit of the times’.
T: ‘I’d advise (not least at this troubled time) that you to keep a diary’.
S: ‘Yes — it’s a sense of complete joy and relief when I realise that there’s a wider scope where this could all lead’.
T: ‘Sometimes it’s not for want of ideas that we become unstuck but, rather, because of a overabundance of possibilities’.
T: ‘A journey undertaken without moving’.
S: ‘To travel within. It’ll be a way of saving ourselves, spiritually and emotionally’.
T: ‘Let the ideas pull you along. Don’t drive them too hard’.
T: ‘I’m not sure how the prevailing crisis will effect us creatively. So don’t be surprised if you experience moments when your endeavours seem utterly pointless’. 
S: ‘[As artists], we need to carry on and make something out of this’.
T: ‘Indeed. To acquiesce is to concede defeat’. 

I set up a second base-station, should my primary one fail this afternoon. I was determined to make this work:

In and around tutorials, I with email advice and reviews, and teaching and admissions admin. (I’ve yet to find time to be bored.) Whatever busyness we’re experiencing as academics is as nothing compared to the pressures that NHS staff are presently under.

1.30 pm: I had time to process email responses before returning to on-line tutorials at 2.00 pm. The first two of the afternoon were text-based exchanges. I’m fine with that. It gives the student an opportunity to re-read the conversation. Video-chat is serviceable too. (Although, I did look rather harassed.):

4.00 pm: Back to admin. My on-line dairy continued to throw-up notifications of events that would not now take place. The world has turned topsy-turvy.

7.30 pm: Back to tutorials on the Ableton Live 10 software and Ableton Plus 2 sample launcher hardware. I had experience of the former, but only up to the seventh version. Much had changed subsequently, and for the better:

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