mac online apple blackjack http://www.euro-online.org

Intended Thought 94: In a Rut

Sincerely, whatever sense of surety I had was gone. 

~ Productive Actions ~

  • Tutorial with Tom Schofield
    • Discussing Research Proposal Assessment
    • Discussing how best to approach PhD proposals
    • Reviewing potential reasonings for specific institutes to complete a PhD

~ Reflective Overview ~

Originally I felt I was in a strong position regarding my Research Proposal. My Project Proposal had gone quite smoothly, since it was an expansion on an existing proposal, and I had thought that it would be pose the greatest challenge because it had been rejected and therefore had left me in doubt of its quality. However, by using this assessment to draft a proposal for my prospective PhD project I have left myself with even more fears and worries about the approach for the writing. I had lots of research and approaches for research prepared, but I found that my initial question was still far to broad and left too much ambiguity.

With Tom’s help we managed to identify all the areas that needed addressing in the question, and I managed to understand more about what in fact I was interested in researching. Additionally, the discussion allowed me to replace my use of the word ‘culture’ that had been due to a lack of a better descriptor for what was in fact ‘practices’. My focus became on how to justify a range of case studies without having to specify my research to a specific region, as well as define my intentions for the use of said research whilst prioritising studio work and experimentation.

Overall, the experience was stressful and worrying, because I felt that there was so much more preliminary research that needed to be done, but time obviously was now limited. My main focus was to implement one of the biggest references presented to me, which was the ‘archival turn’, in particular the statements of Hal Foster.

~ Referred References ~

  • The Archival Turn
  • Hal Foster, art critic & historian
    • reviewed the ‘archival turn/ trend’ of artists presenting and visualising archives and collections that had been seen to be hidden or forgotten.
    • wrote ‘The Archival Impulse’ & ‘The Archive without Museums’

Intended Thought 94: In a Rut

Sincerely, whatever sense of surety I had was gone. 

~ Productive Actions ~

  • Tutorial with Tom Schofield
    • Discussing Research Proposal Assessment
    • Discussing how best to approach PhD proposals
    • Reviewing potential reasonings for specific institutes to complete a PhD

~ Reflective Overview ~

Originally I felt I was in a strong position regarding my Research Proposal. My Project Proposal had gone quite smoothly, since it was an expansion on an existing proposal, and I had thought that it would be pose the greatest challenge because it had been rejected and therefore had left me in doubt of its quality. However, by using this assessment to draft a proposal for my prospective PhD project I have left myself with even more fears and worries about the approach for the writing. I had lots of research and approaches for research prepared, but I found that my initial question was still far to broad and left too much ambiguity.

With Tom’s help we managed to identify all the areas that needed addressing in the question, and I managed to understand more about what in fact I was interested in researching. Additionally, the discussion allowed me to replace my use of the word ‘culture’ that had been due to a lack of a better descriptor for what was in fact ‘practices’. My focus became on how to justify a range of case studies without having to specify my research to a specific region, as well as define my intentions for the use of said research whilst prioritising studio work and experimentation.

Overall, the experience was stressful and worrying, because I felt that there was so much more preliminary research that needed to be done, but time obviously was now limited. My main focus was to implement one of the biggest references presented to me, which was the ‘archival turn’, in particular the statements of Hal Foster.

~ Referred References ~

  • The Archival Turn
  • Hal Foster, art critic & historian
    • reviewed the ‘archival turn/ trend’ of artists presenting and visualising archives and collections that had been seen to be hidden or forgotten.
    • wrote ‘The Archival Impulse’ & ‘The Archive without Museums’

DMS8013: Research – The History

Vassily_Kandinsky,_1910_-_The_Cow

Sound- colour visualisation is not a new thing. This concept had been proposed long time ago. Isaac Newton developed a sophisticated theory of colour based on the observation that a prism decomposes white light into the colours of the visible spectrum. Aristotle’s works laid the foundation for a later scientific equating of light spectra, celestial motion and sound frequencies. Athanasius Kircher was a German Jesuit scholar and polymath who was the first to allocate colours to tone intervals. Based on Pythagoras’ scales to determine the series of intervals, Robert Fludd designed Mundane Monochord which can represent the concept of contain the great variety of relations of the world in a simple form.

However, by the 1920s, many experiments and the notion of colour-sound analogies had been proved incorrect. Thus more people who are interested in this area moved away from a scientific notion of media correspondence to a concept of pursuing the harmony of human senses in various media forms. For example, Wassily Kandinsky was a Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting one of the first recognised purely abstract works. Kandinsky’s creation of abstract work followed a long period of development and maturation of intense thought based on his artistic experiences. He called this devotion to inner beauty, fervor of spirit, and spiritual desire inner necessity; it was a central aspect of his art. Kandinsky’s paintings from this period are large, expressive coloured masses evaluated independently from forms and lines; these serve no longer to delimit them, but overlap freely to form paintings of extraordinary force. Music was important to the birth of abstract art, since music is abstract by nature—it does not try to represent the exterior world, but expresses in an immediate way the inner feelings of the soul. Kandinsky sometimes used musical terms to identify his works; he called his most spontaneous paintings “improvisations” and described more elaborate works as “compositions.” His writing in The Blue Rider Almanac and the treatise “On the Spiritual In Art” (which was released in 1910) were both a defence and promotion of abstract art and an affirmation that all forms of art were equally capable of reaching a level of spirituality. He believed that colour could be used in a painting as something autonomous, apart from the visual description of an object or other form.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athanasius_Kircher

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wassily_Kandinsky

Toward 21st Century Wundermaschinen – A Practice-based Inquiry Developing Media Archaeology as an Artistic Methodology by Ping-Yeh Li

Intended Thought 93: Again with the Stories

When the question is not in making something different or improve what is lacking, where do you find space for enhancement. To add without consideration for quality simply stews a good idea to slop. Tasty but no longer enticing or appealing. When change is still necessary, consider: when it was the original how would more time have polished it?

 

~ Productive Actions ~

  • Reviewing emailed comments and comments on my original rejected proposal to Seven Stories for the Late Shows
  • Completed formal written ‘Project Proposal’
    • Enhanced and furthered description including segment on the different ways in which the project would engage with the space, audience, ethos, themes, culture, etc.
    • Produced digital sketches/ mock-ups of the intended installation & card layouts
    • Enhanced formatting and specificities for budgeting and timeline
    • Etc.

 

~ Reflective Overview ~

After having my original proposal rejected from Seven Stories, it became a somewhat daunting and frustrating task to expand and recreate a proposal intended for the same project again. Not wanting to start from scratch because I did believe in my idea of creating trading cards as an exhibition piece, I drew upon the experience of having documented and conducting ethnographic observations on the actual Late Shows Exhibition/Event. As well as reviewing note made by members of Seven Stories and Tim.

There was come conflicting advice with regards to why my proposal had been rejected, but my greatest concern was if the proposal was simply poor to begin with. I was told that the approach to the proposal had in fact been good, and there was little to change other to enhance some of the aspects that had been left in question that I had been emailed about during the selection process. It was more due to the fact that Seven Stories had already done what they had deemed to be a similar project that I was unaware of.

I decided therefore to focus my attention on what elements I had been unable to do during the period of time I had created my proposal. I had wanted to create sketches and layouts as a visual aid to my ideas, but at the time I had been traveling and struggled for wifi let along a scanner or digital drawing device. Then, because I knew the biggest questions that bad been posed to my work were with regards to the validity of its engagement, I outlined all factors of engagement my project would and could be focused on, especially with regards to how to engage the audience using specific spaces.

Overall, it became quite an enjoyable process.

DMS8013: Works well without connecting the buzzer

Connecting to the world, or controlled by the world?

During doing this project, I watched several Cyberpunk movies.

And the Ghost in the Shell(1995) is my favourite.

I can imagine that those cyborgs in the movie is exactly what my friend trying to be except she might wants to keep her brain.

Then I started to think about what would I do if I want to be a cyborg?

So this is what my project looks like in the final.

Finished Video

The buzzer works well with the record and it even sounds like what I’m saying in the record.

Well, it’s weird that the LCD works pretty well without connecting the buzzer.

If I tried to plus in the buzzer, it will occur some interference on the screen.

Perhaps this is gonna be the very first generation of a robot me, with defects.

Intended Thought 92: Professionalism = Donuts

Click. Click. Click. Timer’s not working. So, click. I am watching the people that are pretending they aren’t watching. They don’t want to appear to be watching, when someone else is watching, including those that are hoping to be watched. Still, I’ve heard the same thing 50 times now, maybe more if I could stay. The space appears ill-considered, and though the idea is fanciful, the collaborative demonstration is lost. The kids watching would rather their supervisors watch more carefully, not them, but what they themselves have deemed to watch. 

 

~ Productive Actions ~

  • Prepared for Seven Stories: Late Shows Exhibition/ Event Documentation
  • Documented using photos and video, the works of Mike and Lewis (in tandem with Garry)
  • Completed ethnographic observations on the audience’s reactions

 

~ Reflective Overview ~

I was a long night. Though thankfully along with Garry, I had a friend assisting. Juggling trying to capture Mike’s ongoing piece and Lewis’ range of performers that were spaced at different times and places across the building was quite a task. There really frustrating thing, was one of the cameras that was planned to take a time-lapse of photos stopped working. And then there were performances that ran late or started early.

Most of all, in experiencing trying to conduct ethnographic work and digital documentation of performances was having to deal with the other performances and events within a given space. Trying to conduct observations of 10 minutes long events and an ongoing one at the same time sometimes just meant a lot of running around. Though I found one of my favourite observations and ways to document, was simply to document people documenting the performances or people viewing the performances. It was a strange experience to observe those that had taken it upon themselves to observe others observing too.

HSS8121 – Seven Stories

This one stumped me for quite some time. I’ll admit, when the Seven Stories call for works was first mentioned I was sceptical. Yes it was a fantastic opportunity but the list of current exhibitions and themes just didn’t strike any inspiration in me. It was probably the mention of it being family friendly and centred around children’s books. Anything relating to children makes me want to run a mile. I take ‘never work with animals or children’ very seriously. Although out of the two, give me an animal any day.

By happenstance (aforementioned suicidal pheasants) I ended up missing the visit to Seven Stories, although I did visit on my own at a later date.

The idea generation we had with John before the Late Shows submission date was really useful. A lot of unusual, lateral thought processes went into it which took the themes further than the basic concept of bears and aliens underwear. But it still didn’t strike with me. I ended up not submitting for the call for works because I couldn’t come up with anything that would have enough substance to warrant being pitched.

When I saw the assignment brief and that this was on it, I felt really deflated. If I couldn’t come up with something worthy of being submitted as a pitch, what chance was there of thinking up an idea that I could be graded on. I left it until last hoping that something would come to me.

I’d been thinking about how the art piece had to appeal to the whole family, but there are so many books over so many generations, how could you select one to have universal appeal. I decided that I wanted to work with the ethos and aims of Seven Stories rather than the current exhibition themes because they were doing nothing for me. I was drawn to ‘discovering new books’ and ‘bringing books to life’. My first idea was to create artworks based upon the children’s books that best represented each generation and bring them to life through projection and animation.

__________________________________________________________________________________

The following is my thought process/notes from this time:

Initial ideas


Respond to the ethos: Bringing books to life

  • How can 2d words on a page become lifelike? This will be the starting point for the proposal.
  • Initial response to this: make them move. How can this be achieved? Projection – use moving images, animation and recordings to project onto an empty book page. Can this become 3D? Use pop up parts to the book to make it look more like a realistic scene.

Which books should I use?

  • Respond to the age range of the target audience: this must appeal to everyone.
  • Ethos: discovering new books.
  • Create the theme of favourites across the generations. Select books from various different generations so that it is both a familiar and new experience for visitors. They can see familiar books come to life and be introduced to new works. Parents can share their childhood favourites with their own children, even if the children have children of their own. It will spark conversations, nostalgia and memory sharing across the generations.

What are the classics?

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/oct/20/enduring-love

Reworking the idea

  • Are there copyright requirements involved in using authors work to be adapted and projected? Probably. Let’s look at the 7S archive and use authors and illustrator’s work from there!
  • This also promotes the use of their collections and highlights the diverse range that they hold

__________________________________________________________________________________

I looked through a lot of websites to find the classics from each generation. The lists were really interesting and surprisingly diverse. There was no universally agreed defining book. What interested me even more was the Golden Age of childrens literature being in the Victorian and Edwardian times. Before that all of the kids books were really bleak and no entirely kid friendly!

I really liked the idea of parents, grandparents etc etc sharing their favourite children’s books with each generation. They would be discovering new books, sharing nostalgic stories and bonding over it. But I wasn’t sure how the copyright for this would work.

Seven Stories has a fantastic archive. I think archives are under utilised. They’re viewed as being stuffy and inaccessible and it brings up thoughts of someone wearing a little white glove and turning pages of a big dusty old book for you. I’d like to work on changing that impression of archives, making them more accessible and useable for everyone. Since I wasn’t sure about the copyright of external literary materials, I turned towards using the Seven Stories archives instead. I still can’t pin down exactly which book I’d choose as the final one – my shortlist wasn’t much of a shortlist. It was closer to 30 tabs open on my laptop as I scrolled through their impressive collection. I was surprised to see the extent of what was in there, Angelina Ballerina was probably the most surprising though. Although she’s too well known so I wouldn’t have chosen here. I was also very drawn to Little Bear, but again, too well known. I want something that is going to be new to the majority of people so that they can discover new books.

I was quite adamant that I wanted to project onto the books and animate them, but wasn’t really sure of the logistics. So to Google I went. This is what I found. Watch them, they’re fascinating!

The Icebook is the first one that I came across, rightly so as it was the original.

http://www.theicebook.com/The_Icebook.html

I find it so beautiful and so enticing. It has such a simple look to it, but is so poignant. I like that there is no speech, just music to create an atmosphere. The even better part is that the website had a guide on how the artists created it. This gave me the chance to get my mind around how I could propose this work, and how I could do it.

I then came across this TED talk by Marco Tempest (side note Marco Tempest looks like the love child of Alan Cumming and Martin Freeman):

It led me to start looking at Tanagra Theatre. I’m not usually a fan of TED talks but this was captivating. It had more of a story teller vibe to it than The Icebook, and to be perfectly honest I’m not sure which I prefer. they’re so similar yet so different at the same time.

I finally ended up looking at Macbeth. But rather than the final projection book in the link below, I watched the video of the actors recording for the projections.I have since learned that the artists are the same that made The Icebook, and there is a larger range of them!!

http://www.davyandkristinmcguire.com/macbeth.html

After watching the range of videos I was pretty set that this was the idea that I would pitch as my proposal. I would condense a little-known book from my shortlist in the archive and develop a pop-up book to represent it. I would then retell the story through projection, using actors to illustrate it. I decided that I wanted the scale of the book to remain small, to the scale of a standard children’s book so that it would be an intimate experience. I didn’t want it to become cinematic. I would use the Seven Stories Studio space as this would allow for projection and sound. I think I would use music definitely,but whether or not I, or a reader, would speak a form of narration would depend on the book chosen and how it all came together as an experience.

I pitched the idea to a friend who runs Shabby Cat Theatre (https://en-gb.facebook.com/ShabbyCatTheatre/) and he absolutely loved the idea, and offered the hypothetical support of his actors if the project ever came to fruition. He also offered the services of his boyfriend – a musician and sound artist.

I am now slightly regretting not looking at this sooner, and not pitching it as a real project. I have wanted to work with alternative forms of theatre for a while, and have dabbled in projection in the past but not to the extent that I would like to. This is a project that I really really would like to do,and will probably look into developing it further in the future – especially since I have the backing of potential collaborators.

HSS8121 – The Research Proposal

Rather than doing my documentation is a series of smaller posts, I’m going to do them as several massive ones to get the gist of my work across.

I absolutely love that we had to do a research proposal for this assignment. Sad, I know.

I’ve been working on my research proposal for a while. Since November. Granted at the time it wasn’t for this module, it was for my PhD application. My application jumped ship from Culture Lab across to Media Culture Heritage (sorry guys), where it seemed my research interests had a better fit.

Background to My Research

Somehow these blog posts keep transitioning into me rambling and giving nostalgic anecdotes… And this one is no different!

[Side note, until I started this course I turned my nose up at blogging and thought it was a bit of a vanity project for people. Turns out I love a good vanity project, thanks CAP for introducing me to the blog world. I have plans after this to start my own (maybe (probably not though)) and call it ‘The World According to Willy’ (that’s me, btw).]

I have had an interest in my specific research field since the first year of my Undergrad. Back then it was a photography series based around Cragside. They style of it has become a bit if a cliche so I’m not sharing it here. My family has a large collection of photographs of their time at Cragside so I went around the Estate photographing the locations of the old photos and mapping the two together. It looks a cliche but my intentions were quite political. I wanted to show how the National Trust had ‘destroyed’ the Estate in terms of it’s original purpose. A home. Two notable images show the entrance to the Manor, formerly with my great-great-aunt and her son sitting on the steps with a little dog – now there is an access ramp and queueing instructions where they once sat. Similarly there is a photograph of my grandmother as a little girl standing outside her house. Now her old home is a NT office, a woman can be seen through the window working on her computer.

Over time this series developed, with the input of families who lived there before/at the time of the NT’s arrival (1970s). I approached the NT to try and get the work exhibited but this was met with a resounding ‘No’. It didn’t ‘fit’ with the ethos they wanted to present the site as.

From that point, (this is where we get to the recent/relevant section) my research interests became more theoretical as opposed to merely practical. I looked at Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag, and Jo Spence. Jo Spence in particular had a strong influence over my direction with this: namely her ‘social album’. Her work stated that a family album should contain all aspects of family life – the good and the bad. Family albums in the current style are archetypal to a time, place and social class. The are intermittent and interchangeable, the only differences being the names, faces and exact locations that the photographs were taken. With my Cragside work, I wanted to apply this idea of the social album. Use the images, and the stories of those involved as an archive to discover the social context of those who lived there and what the social constructs of their community was.

This is (vaguely) what my initial research proposal was about. An ethnographic research study to understand this now lost community, and how this loss impacted the former community across the following generations. What made it a more prevalent, and allowed it to become more of a social study critical to the understanding of the power struggles currently taking place across rural England was coming across several news articles from 2013 onwards which stated that other NT owned lands across the country were facing similar struggles to what my family and the former Cragside residents faced during the 1970s. This has taken place in Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, Norfolk and other areas of Northumberland.  Rent control, forced evictions, loss of jobs, the removal of communities. This is a continuous social issue within England today and very few are aware of it.

From there I started to look into forced displacement. How viable is this as a PhD proposal? Has this been done before? Not here.

There is a lot of research into large scale displacement. I have looked at Gentry’s study of Maori displacement and Anna Bohlin’s study of District Six in South Africa to name but a couple. The closest to home research I a came across was an extensive amount of studies on the effects of the Highland Clearances in Scotland.

Back to CAP and the Brief

As I said, a lot of the work proposed for my PhD was theoretical. One of the aims in that proposal considered conferring with the former community and discussing whether or not they would like to be represented onsite, similar to the District Six Memory Cloth and Barossa Valley Wall Hanging which I had previously looked at. If they did decided that they would like to be represented (which I have discussed with them during my past work and they were very keen on having their story told, I would then approach this using research through design.) My supervisors and i spoke about this point, and said that it was secondary to the research I was actually going to be doing – understanding the social community make up in rural England and analysing the effects of their displacement trans-generationally.

When the HSS8121 brief came through, I knew that i had to acc a digital and creative aspect to the proposal. I didn’t want to submit what I had for my PhD proposal, I wanted to alter it so that it included the creative representational aspects that i had left behind the first time around. The background and context remains the same – it is the same study after all, just taken from a different angle. I re-worked and re-worded my original proposal and used it as a draft to build this version from. I looked further into community memory projects – Barossa valley Wall Hanging, District Six Memory Cloth, and re-visited an old favourite: the work of Nicky Bird. Nicky Bird was my original inspiration in first year, and I had the pleasure of working with her for my dissertation in third year. The projects provided visual guidance for ways that I could approach representing Cragside, and in turn other displaced, however they did not work with the constraints of being placed on land owned by the NT. Who have previously made it clear that they don’t want my artwork physically in place onsite.

So I turned to the intangible. Tim’s sound walk session really inspired me (see previous post) to start thinking about sensory memory walks. This would offer both a research method and a creative output.By transforming the data captured during the sensory memory walks, I could then develop this into a locative media device. The same applies for the ethnographic work I had planned to do using photographs as discourse tools. The content could be digitised into an app meaning that the narratives could be accessed onsite in the specific location intangibly without the need to place anything physically on NT land.

This started off as a theoretical ‘I’m doing it for the assignment’ idea. Having developed it and thought about it extensively over the course of the last few weeks, I think this is the direction I want to progress with. Especially after the presentations and finding out how closely this connects to Tom and John’s work (I think we need to have a conversation about this!!). Speaking of the presentation, that is hands down the least nerve wracking presentation I have ever given. I think it was because this is something I am so passionate about, and have spent the last 5 or 6 months (or 4 years) working towards.

As for the PhD, my proposal was accepted by MCH and I have been offered the place, but since I don’t yet have my Masters, Northern Bridge did not grant the funding. So I’m postponing until 2018 when hopefully I will be able to secure the funding for it. This gives me more time to develop the direction that I really want to go down.

 

As an additional note, I have enjoyed reading the edited Heritage Matters volumes published by Newcastle University. Notably:

Displaced Heritage: Dealing with Disaster and Suffering, 2014

Edited by Ian Convery, Gerard Corsane and Peter Davis
First published: December 2014

 

and

 

Making Sense of Place: Multidisciplinary Perspective, 2012

Edited by Ian Convery, Gerard Corsane and Peter Davis
First published April 2012

 

I have also been researching rural studies, looking in particular at Liepen’s work around the construct of community and sense of place.

HSS8121 – Responding to the Lecture Series

Sound Walks with Tim Shaw

The first lecture gave me a lot to think about in regards to how sound walks can be implemented and the purpose for them. I liked the idea of zoning out from usual life and focusing on the sounds around us which usually go unnoticed. But for me this idea seemed skin deep. It’s great for re-focusing the mind and appreciating finer details but I want more from it than that. To me, the personal experience and what it means to an individual partaking in the walk is more important tna listening to sounds. Perhaps a  meaning that the person leading the walk, or all others taking part aren’t aware of. Which in this case was true.

To me, the sound walk was like being forced to walk through a set of memories: not in a good way, but not necessarily in a bad way. In all honestly I can’t remember the sounds I heard other than saying to myself: Oh my God are we heading to Leazes Park, then shit yes we’re going to Leazes Park and finally don’t cry they’ll think you’re weird. It is a  place that has a lot of significant and sentimental value to me, but a place that I have only managed to force myself to visit 3 times since 2013. I’m not an open book kind of person, I don’t talk much let alone about myself or my sentimental connection to certain memories. I liked the irony that I was being led through a landscape that I have chosen to avoid for almost 4 years and was being forced to face certain memories yet no one in the group was aware the context that the walk had for me.

This inspired me to look into sensory memory walks, an element that I have chosen to include in my research proposal. My thought process behind this was, if the sound walk caused me to relive and walk through my memories, it has the potential to do the same for others. My research proposal focuses on investigating the effects of rural displacement in Northumberland, and working with members of displaced communities to create memory projects. I plan on using this technique as a method to gather data relating to their memories of their former homes and environments. By taking the participants on sensory memory walks, hopefully it will inspire a stream of consciousness from them relating to the surroundings and their social history.

Jupiter Recordings with Serena Korda

I found this lecture intriguing in theory. Other than what this course has exposed me to, I have no experience working with sound and I am finding the different sound based workshops really eye opening. Serena’s work and aims were really interesting and quite unexpected to me – I didn’t walk into the seminar room expecting to hear recorded sounds of Jupiter. I can imagine how profound, inspirational, and even the level of achievement it must have felt to those hearing it first hand after waiting all night for the device to pick up the recorded sounds. Purely for curiosity’s sake it is something I would like to hear first-hand.

That being said, I wasn’t particularly invested in the practical side of this session. Again, setting up the equipment and the theory behind what we were doing was interesting and exciting, but the execution and the final result were slightly underwhelming. We heard the atmosphere. I understand we had the constraints of being in the built up inner city during the day, with noise pollution and overhead wires etc. providing interference – under those conditions we’d never be in a clear enough space to hear another planet. But when you’ve just heard the sounds of Jupiter, hearing the atmosphere is a bit of a let-down. Field trip to the countryside to recreate it, anyone?

Playing with the sound recordings at the end of the session was – confusing, in a good way. Like I said, I have no experience working with sound so the whole process eluded me, but I quite enjoyed not knowing what I was doing and seeing what happened.

Ethnography with John Bowers

Along with the sound walk lecture, this is the session that I took most away from. Ethnography is a research method that I will be implementing into my practice further down the line, which I have also embedded into my research proposal. It is a methodology with which I am already familiar, but it was useful to get a first-hand account of how John has applied it to his own work.

I found the exercise of going out into Newcastle to practice ethnological research under the context of planning a piece of artwork located in the city centre particularly interesting and engaging. It was good to be given the chance to experience this in practice rather than just in theory. It allowed me to develop observational ethnographic skills in the community which will be particularly useful further down the line in my own research. Possibly my favourite, and without a doubt most relevant and useful lecture of this module to me.

That Speaker who’s name I can’t Recall So Shall Refer toAs ‘Ice Girl’

This was probably my least favourite lecture of the guest speaker series. I found the speaker’s background, practice and enterprise interesting but it felt more as though she was pitching her biography and list of previous work than providing something that would be useful in the context of individual future practice. I do think it’s helpful to understand the work and background of other practitioners, particularly within the area, but this somehow fell short. Perhaps it is because this was mostly a lecture based session rather than involving something with practical substance or perhaps it is because I am comparing it to particularly strong lectures given by the other speakers.

The practical aspect, melting the ice cube with hand and mouth, was quirky but I’m not sure I understood the significance. Maybe that was the significance – to not understand it and infer what you do from it. I have notoriously cold hands (anecdote time). Flash back to 2008, a 15 year old Megan sit’s in GCSE Physics class doing an experiment on the fastest method to warm ice to a certain point and cool boiling water to the same point. The aim was to see which happened quickest. So in my group of me plus 4 guys we applied man logic which consisted of ‘she’s a girl she’s probably warm, Megan put your hand in the cold water and heat it up!’ As I said, I have freezing hands, somehow the cold water got colder. Which prompted ‘Megan put your hand in the warm water and cool it down!’ which actually did work. I’m not a scientist so this probably has no scientific logic behind it. It may have been coincidence, or maybe I’m secretly Killer Frost (comic book geek logic).

Back to my actual point, I spent my ice-melting time during the session fondly remembering my high school days (or rather, one particular Physics lesson) and hoping that the ice would actually melt. The time of the session ran out before it melted fully so I can’t attest to the final results. I ate the remainder.

I would love to respond to the remainder of the guest speaker lectures however, I was either absent or can’t remember them. The four accounted above were the most memorable and had the most profound lasting effect. I do regret missing the Seven Stories session, that day is regretfully now known as the day I ran over a pheasant on my way to Newcastle, dented my car and cried from Amble to Kingston Park (RIP Pheasant, that’s what you get for running across the road between cars). However, I have since visited Seven Stories and really enjoyed the experience. I would like to spend more time in the future investigating the materials they have in their archive. I have been working on the Trevelyan project in the Newcastle University Robinson Library Archives and have since developed a strong interest in the representations of archived material.

Fancying things up with InDesign

Contents spread

My motivation for taking the Sub-Editing and Design module was fairly utilitarian – I was hoping that having a bit more formal experience in this area would help me to get jobs in the future. Hopefully creative jobs, but still, I didn’t anticipate that it would benefit my broader practice quite as much as some of the other modules. Almost the opposite turned out to be true. Having a tutor around with a good knowledge of InDesign, and a practical purpose to put it towards, I’ve definitely come a long way with the software since working on Middle Spirits.

How to get text to follow the edge of a shape, how to crop images to precise shapes, make text transparent, arrange images in less crude ways than WordPress and Microsoft Word allow, etc. These are all pretty low-grade skills on the Creative Arts scale (or at least, not the kind to be the driving force of a big creative project), but so far they’ve allowed me to improve the basic standard of presentation in several pieces of coursework and job applications. Say goodbye to crummy word docs, and hello to snazzy pdfs!

Here are a selection of images from the magazine re-design I’ll be turning in on Friday, plus some screenshots of other things that ended up looking much nicer thanks to a good working knowledge of InDesign: