Prior to the start of this academic year, I had never been introduced to a wide range of concepts drawn from the history of art theories, let alone any experience in writing academically. Of course, I have done some analyzing and self-reflection in my own practice; however, I felt straight from the beginning that was about to change. When I began the year, I dreaded the whole idea and concept of Constellation. I honestly, naively thought to myself, ‘I wanna make pretty pots, not a bunch of essays’. However, this innocent thought, quickly changed throughout the first weeks, knowing the potential of these lectures. After all, what is the point of coming to an art school and just do ‘pretty thing’? I initially thought Constellation was a way of writing academically by looking at a range of theories, but not only that, I rapidly learned that those ideas could be crossed both into Subject and my own practice as well as Field. Constellation is all about making connections. It allows me to engage with critical ideas regarding many views of visual and material culture, which enables me to position my own practice in relation to wider contexts of understanding.
The keynote lectures on the first term were a really good insight into choosing my two study groups. Starting these series of lectures with Dr. Asheley Morgan, “When is a nerd not a nerd? When he’s a geek”, was a refreshing way to mesmerize me into her study group, “The body in society”. The body is something that has always captivated me and is something that I always think about on my quotidian, and often people ignore it. Another exciting keynote lecture included, “Teenage Kicks: Cultural Approaches to Dr. Martens boots” with Cath Davies, which I did not necessarily connect it with ceramics but felt completely immersed with the whole idea around it. Some of these lectures, I found vastly complicated to understand and quite hard to connect with my own practice. At first, the lecture, “The Image World” seemed really exciting, in which, Johnathon Clarkson touched upon some innovative ways of viewing the world, and although it was an exciting lecture, I took some notes and didn’t really look back at them. The beauty about these lectures which we might take for granted is that it has the potential to ignite a sparkle in your head and generate ideas, which was the case with that lecture. My recent work in Subject has been concerned with the whole idea of perception and ways different people views matter.
Having a vast amount of study groups to pick from was slightly daunting, as the selection of those two study groups was going to determine ways I would view myself as an artist, my work and the word around me, and acknowledging from that I knew it would take a big portion of my first academic year, so in other words, I had to decide wisely. However, having the fair with all the study group lectures was great as a way to ask any questions and determine my options. I knew from the begging I wanted to pick two options in which I could relate my Subject and Field with. “The Body in Society” was quite an easy option to decide upon as from Dr. Asheley Morgan’s keynote lecture I wanted to explore more in depth some of the theories and ideas she touched superficially. My second option was slightly harder, but I decided to choose, “Pertaining the Visual” with Jayne Cunnick as I thought it had the potential to analyze my work more in depth, and after all visual culture is something that excites me and that you see everywhere and was I intrigued how that could relate to Ceramics. I really was thrilled to find the two study groups I selected were allocated to me.
“Pertaining the Visual – Questioning the Everyday”, being my first term option, and being really excited for the potential of these lectures, we looked at a range of theories which of course had its ups and down in which some I was much more immersed than others sessions such as the theories of the Frankfurt School which I found incredibly monotonous. Following the rapid passage of time and realizing the deadline of my first essay creeping upon me and lot allowing enough time to develop it was a massive mistake as my feedback, let’s say, wasn’t the best. However, from my previous mistakes, and attending some of the academic skills workshops has made me hopeful for my current a. cadeic piece of writing.
Coming to the second term, and looking forwards to attend “The body in society” study group, previously taught by Dr. Ashley Morgan which we did not have the privilege to be with; however, we were in great hands with Davida Hewlett. Really loved and felt really immersed with the whole study group exploring different theories about the body using examples from art and design. Just the sheer diversity on how the body is viewed was really interesting to explore and something that I could of never of gotten if I only made ‘pretty things’. Many exciting topics to pick from to move towards and explore on an essay, from identity, cyborgs and masculinity. I decided to look at affordances and relationships around body and object as I found a direct link with my Subject in which has the big potential to be further developed into my dissertation.
Conclusively, I can see major beneficial points to what I have taken away from my experience of Constellation in which I didn’t really see starting this academic year. I have been able to see things from different perspectives which have indefinitely furthered my own skills in Subject, Field and most importantly pushing me as an artist.