October 21, 2020

6.00 am: I put my feet on the bedroom floor following a dismal night’s sleep. I ‘potched’ around the studio until it was time for ablutions and breakfast. 8.00 am: A communion.

9.00 am: I took on the remnant of those MA students who I’d not the space on my calendar to accommodate yesterday. It’s worth making the effort to attend to their needs and anxieties early on. Many of the reasons for unconfidence and fearfulness are familiar to them all, to a greater or less degree. As our internet connection disintegrated into pixels and bits, I encouraged one student thus:

[Anxiety] is a common element in many students’ experience, both under normal circumstances and especially now. You’re not alone. Try and develop an empathy for yourself. Be realistic. The course under these conditions will seem unusually hard and perplexing at first. Just persevere. … And remember, staff are happy to go through anything you don’t understand with you. It’s not a bother. … Quite a number of students miss the opportunity to get one know one another personally. This is an inevitable result of the pandemic restrictions.

10.40 am: Off to the dentists for a tooth restoration project. I suspect that I’ll be slurring words for the remainder of the day. En route: urban Surrealism:

The surgeon and the nurse were dressed in full-PPE. It was like being confronted by technicians at Chernobyl’s failed reactor. 12.15 pm: Back at my desk with a cup of tea in hand in an attempt to stave-off residual numbness. On with postgraduate teaching prep.

1.30 — 5.00 pm: An afternoon of MA and PhD fine art tutorials. It’s always a rich experience. Discussion at a high level. I’m always enriched. Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • Make it interesting and exceedingly well. That’s all.
  • Concentrate on understanding the car’s engine first, rather than on the map of the journey ahead.
  • I believe wholeheartedly in the culture of the discipline. You cannot impose the culture and values of one discipline upon another.
  • ‘Video killed the radio star!’ What has digital done to the analogue?
  • Make art like you love life.

7.30 pm: One evening ahead of schedule, I began filling-in next week’s tutorial schedule.

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October 20, 2020
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October 22, 2020

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