Reflection on Part One

Completing of the first part of the course has taken me much longer than I expected and had planned for – in order to complete the course I am going to have to increase my pace significantly otherwise I am in real danger of running out of time. With this in mind, I decided to brain storm all of the positive and negative aspects of my study so far on the course. The aim of this is that by acknowledging what is going well and facing in to the things that impact me and have stopped me from progressing I will be able to make changes to my ways of working…of course, this could be another example of deferral!

Documentary:

I now acknowledge it was a mistake to enrol on the course before I had completed my assessment submission for Documentary. Going back to this was both a drain on time and motivation – I was so unhappy with what I put together for my submission that I seriously considered not sending it at all. This had the knock on effect of slowing down my progress with DI&C as I became seriously demotivated. The fact is however, that even if I was unhappy with the mark I received for Documentary I passed the course and the eventual effect was that this negative experience focused my mind on what I need to do differently with DI&C.

Time:

With a busy family and work life I often consider why I would want to invest so much of my free time on study. The amount of time I have versus the amount of time I would like to be able to spend on the course is a major issue for me. Simply – I need to moderate this and set myself clear deadlines for completing coursework to make sure I have the right balance with most of my time spent on the assignments rather than the exercises. Keeping motivated can be a struggle, but I have found that working little and often helps with this. It is also important not just to confine working on the course to my days off as invariably something will come up and before I know it a week has passed without doing anything. Also, if even a week passes without looking at the course, getting back into the swing of things can take a while so I need to avoid falling into this trap. Recently I have been trying to spend some time each day on some aspect of the course and I have found this is helping me keep a more even pace.

Research/blog:

I have really enjoyed the research, particularly looking at artists, and readings for the first part, however, this is in danger of becoming my comfort zone and a distraction from making work. I have been able to stop myself form spending lots of time on writing posts about the papers we are asked to read as this can often be time consuming, it may also be helpful to try and make my research posts more like notes and not be overly worried about how they read. I am also concerned that there is not enough personal response to the course material – I struggle with the diary aspects of the learning log, I am not sure of this is an issue or not however. I remember my first tutor saying that the blog was not something that needed to be ‘weighed in’ for assessment and that there was a limited amount of time to look at them. If I keep the emphasis on the assignments as the most important parts of the course then this should help me keep the balance right.

Experimentation:

Experimenting more, and showing this on my blog, was a key goal for me starting this course, and I am pleased with how much more of this I have done. Looking back however, I recognise I could still do more – lots of ideas occurred to me during this section and I have only acted on a few of them. Pushing this will help me significantly going forward as a simple idea that initailly seems of little worth can easily morph into a larger biody of work.

Assignment 1:

It has simply taken too long to get this done and I am struggling to really understand why. My idea for the assignment developed organically alongside my research and context and self doubt which is something that usually impacts me significantly was kept largely at bay. Something just stopped me getting down and finishing it – I need to be acutely aware of this working on assignment 2.

Peer interaction:

This has gone well and although a drain on time, is something that I need to continue with as it keeps my motivation going and is a real help with the isolating nature of distance learning. I participate in a regular course hangout group, am a committee member for OCA North with meetings held every two months and meet up with students locally to visit exhibitions and have a chat over a coffee every three months or so. Again, I have tried to limit the amount of time I spend writing about these on my blog as it is the attendance that matters here.

Exhibitions:

Visiting exhibitions is an important part of both my OCA learning and also wider understanding about art, photography and visual culture as a whole. At the point of writing this post however, I have only noted one of these visits on my blog. I am trying too hard to complete major research following exhibition visits, and while doing some wider reading about the artists and work I have seen is something I will continue doing, I am beginning to recognise that translating all of this into a definitive blog post is not practical. Going forward I will try to write blog posts about exhibition visits as soon as I can following after seeing the work and attempt to keep the emphasis on my personal reaction to the work.

This exercise in trying to be honest about where I am with my studies and what I need to do differently feels like it is helpful – only time will tell however – hopefully I will look back at the end of part two and find that the actions I have decided upon here have been followed through and also made a difference.

Summary:

  • Keep up the momentum – work little and often and do not confine working on the course to particular days (e.g. days off).
  • Do something course related everyday no matter how small – e.g. reading, note taking, even take some pictures!
  • Set a time limit for research and writing blog posts.
  • Remember that the assignments are the most important parts of the course and this should be reflected on the amount of time spent on these rather than the coursework. Doing this will hopefully mean time management will take care of itself.
  • Keep experimenting – make work without considering too closely where it will go. Translate research into practitioners into practical work, e.g. techniques used.
  • Make blog posts on exhibition visits more about my personal response rather than an attempt to be a definitive analysis of the work.