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Friday, 27 February 2015

A busy week - but advice from the studio - involving the unconscious mind

I t has been a very busy week - but I thought I would briefly post some advice from fine art studio practice that might help with blogging.

A fine artist goes to the studio as a place to work, like a performance space it is a dedicated place for thinking and creating - trying out new things and then building those ideas into a more cohesive unit that you can then present or share with others.

One trick for studio artists in that space is to put up images on the walls to look at - one's own images or inspirational images - and when you go into that space to sit with these images for a while in order to put the mind and body in the place they need to be to 'think'. Sound familiar? It is a process to get 'in the zone' and to concentrate the mind in order that the unconscious mind can become involved. I have nicknamed this process as 'calling the muses' to help with the thinking. Often this involves a cup of tea or coffee to stimulate concentration but not always. You can be very alert or very tired, and that is when the muses come to help you to think and create.

While Tom and I were chatting last night, I found myself saying that this studio trick of getting in the zone might be a useful technique to try when blogging. We often come in from a busy work schedule and cannot 'think' about what to say in relation to the coursework. We are not 'there' for that because our mind is concentrating on other things - schedules - catching up with friends - emails for work - shopping - entertainment...

However, we could think about the time on the computer like going into the studio.  If you have a 'studio' session for blogging - you could allow yourself a bit of time to get into the zone before feeling the 'pressure' of creating something on your blog. So this would mean adding a step to your process. It would mean coming into the virtual space (web) and looking around, reading - looking at images - looking at some short audio-visual  - even audio (I have iTunes) when driving around the space. So it means treating this initial time like studio time when you are purposefully getting into the zone to involve the unconscious mind in the proceedings.

So if we consciously build this time to get into the zone into the process - but mindfully then focus back on producing things for the blogs (or journals or mood boards etc.) this might be the best of both worlds and produce some marvellous things that were not apparent in the first instance - so ways to capture our thinking using practice-based methods.

I am also thinking here of some recent coursework that Jodie - now in Module 1 - used as examples in her Areas of Learning where she showed short films of her performance rehearsals (up on YouTube permission asked to share link that show the process of people working out ideas and choreography. So that preparation time - that rehearsal time - might be a way to think about the zone. I usually know when I have reached it - because I can tell I am concentrated - and ideas flow. Daisuke talked about this flow in his final inquiry. See his archived blog

I once asked one of my art tutors the question that if we created something using the 'unconscious mind' would that still be considered a conscious creation? He said yes, so every since then I have felt the freedom to allow myself access to the unconscious for arts practice. I suppose here I am really passing that freedom onto you - but in a different time and place.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Module 3 1st Online sessions - the professional inquiry

Thanks to everyone who participated. Please add to the conversation! 

FYI updates can be used to help start writing your Introduction!

Tasks with an indicative timescale for the study period

Week 1
After looking at your adviser feedback from Module 2 send a 1 page summary to your adviser with your inquiry title, your research/inquiry questions and ideas, ethical issues, literature review up to this point, changes to your plan, ideas for your artefact, and any questions or issues that might have arisen for the module after reading the Module 3 Handbook. Feedback from adviser. Blog using suggested topics from this handbook.
Week 2
Continue discussions with advisers and peers. Blog.

Week 3
Continue discussions with advisers and peers. Blog.

People had some good questions/comments for - some conversation about the areas of discussion are below:

what is the professional artefact - the professional artefact is like the critical review - both present the inquiry you have undertaken - one is more in the reportage 'formal' style with text /images/audio-visual as needed to show what you have done - there are suggested headings for this

For the professional artefact you choose another audience - and present the work you have done with that focus - we will speak again about the artefact - there have been bogs in the past about the artefact

what is the literature review - several previous blogs - it is an summary overview of the sources that have informed your thinking - if you do an extensive writeup it may need to go in the appendices because you won't have room in your Evaluation section.

can we go to a local university to use the library? Yes - go to SCONOL and you should be able to access the other university libraries in your town - apply online

how can special interest groups and peers to help the process? - talk with others about what you are doing - but also touch base with your advisers about academic decisions - we are sometimes in on these conversation and sometimes not - they are put in as supporting evidence of your thinking - so blog as well

How can data be shown and visualised? yes graphs, grids, images, audio-visual - all forms of communication are useful depending upon 1. what you are saying and 2. how you want to say it - look at how others have communicated in the archived blogs

Please note  there is a suggested task list for Module 3 and the arrow can help you visual where you are in the process!!!


Amy said she was having problems with sources that debated about NOT using arts in schools - sometimes it takes a bit of looking but my hands wandered over the keys to make a start - see if ay of these give you any ideas?

Look using keywords...use the Summon feature form the Library on MyUniHub for 'in-house searching - try to find sources that challenge your pint of view!

Here is at the beginning of a sample search with someone like Amy in mind - I am trying to find reports form government - I am trying to get 'think tank' reports- and these might lead me to other research that examines the question of arts in the curriculum (not as a good thin but as secondary to the core subjects). I don't think the search is finished by the way - but can people continue the dialogue on the blogs - you might have some good suggestions on where to look for this topic area...

government policy arts in school uk (key words for searching)

There are usually sources out there - go shopping for sources that make you think critically about your area - expertise - that resonates with your experience and the experience you are gathering as data.

Remember the search for love...

Module 2 1st Campus and Online sessions 23/2/15

Module 2 Session 1 23/4/15

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Please add comments to this session summary - and go on others blogs to add to the conversations!

We had good ideas for discussion and comments/questions about Module 2 for the session : Paula's comments in blue

At this stage there needs to be clarification for the inquiry – needs to be time efficient – yes it needs to be planned - Module 2 is about planning your inquiry in a 'proposal' 
Planning “The right path for me” – yes it should be related to your work/future work - there should be a purpose and you may want to think about possible implications/impact to your practice - however - it is NOT an experiment and it is NOT covert - permissions must be sought form those with whom you wish to speak - these are good people skills as well
Verification of ‘social science’ type practitioner research where there is not right of wrong answers – feels like you are second guessing…- yes practitioner research comes in many forms but here it is guided into certain tools that are more familiar to arts and humanities - more about tools in Reader 6 - but the practitioner research tools/methods are only informally ' tried out' with colleagues or fellow BAPP Arts learners - you real research needs ethical approval 
Does approval need to come before a line of inquiry is okay to do – yes in a way the advice is about framing what you want to do and with whom
4b special interest groups – are they limited to your area of interest? You can also engage with others and form groups based on doing research – so anyone on the course!
My inquiry seems to be like others – but ‘in-between’ – yes good to discuss the differences and similarities
Does it just have to be in my current workplace? – the inquiry can incorporate future work pathways – but talk this over with your adviser – the work needs to be arts related in some way
What about the tools? - yes the tools are in the Readers - literature and Reader 6 - we will continue to talk about how you can gather data ethically for your inquiry 

We talked about thoughts about various individual topic ideas – some people had ones that had emerged form Module 1 and some people had focused a bit more.

The professional inquiry as a whole was discussed – so the inquiry incorporates various elements in it like – planning some practitioner research – so the research and development stage of a ‘live’ project that involves asking real people their points of view, using looking at literature/expertise to inform your thinking and theorise your topic or area of study, other activities within the inquiry like workshops, other training, interventions based on new knowledge etc.

The main submission of the module is the 1. A plan/proposal for you inquiry 2. A critical reflection of your learning (like Module 1) and 3. The 3 forms (an award specialism title, an ethics form for the practitioner research , and an employer support form where permission is needed -  a peer practitioner can sign if you are doing the inquiry outside of a ‘workplace’ but discuss this with your adviser  The headings for the proposal/plan writing are in Module 2 handbook.

Here is a drawing/visualisation of the elements I did to during the discussion.

IQ  means the Inquiry Questions that help guide the inquiry. What are you trying to find out? 
K is Knowledge R is research - these are my shorthand abbreviations when I take notes...

We went on to talk about Reader 4 – which I (although I compiled it) am now finding a bit dry and would like to make more dynamic. This is the planning stage of your work so can be an exciting time. We talked a bit about how it could be changed and the meaning of the sections as they are now. I have used some comments for these areas

Developing Lines of Professional Inquiry       
Introduction     - deciding on what you want to do for the inquiry – and formulating inquiry questions around which you base your inquiry
Professional Inquiry Explanation and Related Concepts         - this is a ‘live’ inquiry that involves real people – so it is not just you – but you the university and your employer or your workplace community of practice
Links to Work Based Learning - professional practice ideas can use this area for framing your inquiry work - so a ‘capstone project’ in the workplace for your degree work
Identifying Knowledge and Skills in the Workplace- you might have a discipline(like dancing) but work is generally more complicated than that with awider range of skills, competencies,, and capabilities – this relates to knowledge – what you know and how you know it
Professional knowledge – you are gathering knowledge and understanding about your work (paid or unpaid) or workplace to improve your practice and perhaps the practice of others

The next bits talk about the idea of doing ‘research’ in the workplace
What do we mean by research?       
What will the practitioner research be about?           
Worker-Researcher/ Insider researcher position      
Working within Groups and Teams    

These bits talk about looking at the ideas of others to expand what you know and to lead you into an area you want to know more about  - often people look at what others have said about areas of interest before deciding on their inquiry questions
Reviewing Literature for your Inquiry Planning
References, Further Reading and Web Sources  
You will have areas of knowledge that you need to find out about in the inquiry      

The last thing we did in the campus section is something that everyone can do – it relates to the literature. Christie, Michelle and Lara chose an article from The Stage – as an exercise they read it and orally described ‘what it meant’ – that is reading for meaning – and that is a part of reviewing literature. What does it say? What does it mean? You were doing this in Module 1 looking at the Readers – it is similar here but you are finding your own articles. LOOK AT THEIR BLOGS _ LINKS?

I WILL DO MORE BLOGS ABOUT SEARCHING FOR LITERATURE – but I have done some – as has Adesola – so look at past blogs for inspiration!

An earlier blog is 'the search for love' - check this out for some strategies for key words