September 17, 2019

8.00 am: ‘Get to, John!’ Since I can’t slow down time, I must, therefore, speed up work. What needs to be done, and when it should be done, is clear. How it must be done (and, in some cases, why I’ve been asked to do it) are not always self-evident. So many tasks that fall to me these days require a prior tutorial in order to expedite them.

I read a salient tweet by Dr Matt Lodder (University of Essex) this morning:

I agree. Tutors aren’t upper-level school teachers (although it sometimes feels like that); we don’t just teach knowledge, we make it. Students, for their part, not only acquire knowledge but also learn to critique, interpret, and apply it and, moreover, learn how to learn. Together, tutors and students collaborate in the construction of an environment in which maturity, commitment, hard work, enthusiasm, mutual respect, and looking to the well-being of others form the baseline of operations. (This is an ideal that has to be strived for, daily; it’s not a given.)

9.50 am: MA Fine Art assessments, Day 2. Dr Forster and I took to the boards once again.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

A measure of the student’s stature is their demonstration and articulation of what they either have or haven’t achieved. One cannot pursue the same subject in the same way indefinitely.

Gradually, the works will become a paler and paler echo of the initial authentic intent. Moreover, as individuals and artists we evolve over time. It’s unthinkable that our work should not keep pace with this evolution.

In an increasingly chaotic and perplexing world, what we do on the canvas (or whatever other support we use) may be our only means of taking control and making sense of reality. It’s natural and understandable to be defensive about our own work, even when we recognise the truth of the criticism levelled at us by others.

There ought to be a measure of congruence between how the work and its title operate.

Exploration within the bounds of limitation.

Just because you might enjoy either a technique, process, idea, or subject matter doesn’t, in and of itself, legitimise it.

1.00 pm: Dr Forster and I convened a consultation meeting to determine the marks to be awarded to the painting students. At 2.00 pm, I began the process of writing up my feedback reports on the tutorial assessments held over the past two days. The feedback is a very compressed essence of what was said at the assessment. It ought not to contain neither surprises nor omissions of substance.

During the evening, I reviewed my inbox, dealt with substantive matters therein, and prepared documentation for Freshers’ Week.

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September 16, 2019
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September 19, 2019

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