Initial thoughts and aims for Digital Image and Culture

I like to start each course with some thoughts about what I hope to gain from my study. My initial reaction to reading through the course material for Digital Image and Culture is that I have definitely made the right choice – there is much in the content that interests me and it looks like there is plenty of scope for interpreting the material. Here are my initial aspirations for what I want out of the course:

Complete in no more than 18 months:

My last course, Documentary, was the first that I managed to complete without needing an extension, although I did go right to the wire with it. Something that I reflect on as a success with that course is that I managed to work at a constant, regular pace rather than in fits and starts with periods of intense activity. However, I spent too much time on activities that did not progress me and too little time actually taking photographs. Research has become a comfort zone for me and I need to be break that cycle.

As an added incentive, I have received notification from OCA that I have until 2nd September 2020 to complete this course which is just a little over 18 months. I am hoping to gain some momentum and am going to try to completed in a year – hopefully this will keep me well within my 18 months target.

Experiment more, take more photographs:

Following on from the point I make above – I need to spend more time taking photographs. A possible strategy is to work on assignments all the way through a section and experiment with different approaches rather than completing the exercises and then focusing on the assignment. Something I was inspired by at the last OCA North study group I attended was the experimentation that goes into the sketchbooks of students from other disciplines. It struck me that I DO actually experiment in a similar way, but never show this part of the process.

Use the learning log more effectively:

My process of publishing to my blog is quite considered and can often lack immediacy. I realised towards the end of Documentary that I often lacked showing my personal response to something I had come across or experienced. For this course I want to make more regular, personal posts where I can explore how I am feeling about the course and what I am coming across.

Continue reaching out to the student community:

I made some progress with this during Documentary by attending regular hangouts which I found beneficial and helped with the isolating nature of distance learning. I had some interaction on the forums but these can easily become a distraction so I do not feel I engaged fully. A particular success was making contact with students and meeting up for exhibition/event visits and also being involved in setting up a new OCA North group, three meetings of which have taken place so far. At the last meeting I shared work for critique for the first time which was a large leap of faith, but ultimately positive experience for me. I need to continue with these initiatives and look at others to be involved with. For example, there is interest in starting a hangout group for DI&C which I would like to be involved with, I have attended some of the Forum Live hangouts facilitated by tutor Clive White and found these to be motivational so need to try harder to attend these, and I am aware of a regular hangout for level 3 students, feedback from which seems positive. I have also noted that some students I have been in contact with in the past are enrolled on DI&C and have taken the opportunity to reconnect with these.

Decide where my practice is going:

As this is my last course before level 3 I need to be mindful of the direction I need/want to take so I can hit the ground running when I get there. My understanding of the final level is that it is mainly self directed and at the minute this would be something I would really struggle with, through experimentation and exploring my interests through personal work I can hopefully move towards a self sustaining practice.