September 30, 2020

8.30 am: BBC Wales emailed me to ask whether I’d contribute to a radio program on masked faces in workship and the face of God in art. Was I the right person to approach? Perhaps we’ll talk on the phone later in the week and decide.

9.00 am: An MA Fine Art double-marking meeting with Dr Forster to determine the outcome of the Exhibition 2 submissions:

In between appointment, I moved admin of my desktop. 11.00 am: A Teams meeting with Dr Forster and the third-year undergraduate painters. This was an occasion for not only talking about the routine matters of curriculum and the principles of good studentship, but also offering a very human mode of support and encouragement. I recalled and relayed the example of the English landscape painter Paul Nash. He was a war artists during the first and second world wars. In a letter that he wrote from the trenches in 1917, Nash described his output for one day. It included over thirty drawings and a great many colour studies of the battlefield. He exercised a commitment to being a functional artist, while enduring a profoundly dispiriting and dangerous environment during a dreadful period in world history. That was the compact he made with himself.

Determination, adaptability, and resilience cannot be taught. But these are the qualities of character that students require in buckets during this present time. When the world shakes, we wobble. While we all need the helping hands of others to enable us to stand up, we must also learn to balance ourselves independently. Every so often, in order to stretch my legs and give my eyes a rest from the glare of the screens, I added lustre to my travel guitar. The Summer’s heat had dried the wood. I thoroughly enjoy restoring guitars:

1.30 pm, and for the remainder of the afternoon, I held half-hour online tutorials with my PhD tutees. My aim was to discern their condition, in the broadest sense of that word. If they’re not right, then, neither will their work be. Just talking together helps. Both learning and teaching has become a rather solitary affair during this period. Forward march:

I strongly suspect that this present state of affairs will extend into semester 2, unless a vaccine is imminent. How could it be otherwise? Slowly but surely the pandemic becomes a way of life. The end of the afternoon:

7.30 pm: Having spent the greater part of the day talking to my screen, I attended to the admin that had accrued in my inbox, student enquiries, and the transformation of teaching materials in readiness for online delivery, should it be needed.

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September 29, 2020
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