Thursday, 28 January 2010


One aspect of doing an MA that hadn't crossed my mind until now is results. I don't remember ever receiving any back in 1973/4 when I was last undertaking this form of study! In fact apart from a rather fine gold embossed A2 certificate at the end I doubt we were ever given any (ah the days before modularity) marks or anything much at all. Tony would occasionally wander through your (generous by today's standards) studio space and offer an encouraging word or two...usually backed up with a "coming down the pub then".

But now it's all different. A continuous stream of paperwork accompanies every semester and your progress is measured each time. Of course it doesn't matter except that - unless you are very strong willed indeed - you can't help but get caught up in it. It even infects the way in which you engage with the programme if - as it happened this time - you don't know the upshot of the last submission before you have to kick off the next (and of course) final project.

What a desperate ring that phrase has to it! The Final Project. And though the course is structured in such a way that the last project is intended to lead seamlessly into this that's only really ok if what you were working on was - well - working. For me, and I suspect from what they said yesterday, for several others that definitely isn't the case. A great deal of revisionism is going to be required in what is around twelve weeks to make something - anything - that satisfactorily stacks up as a decent submission.

I'm back to the drawing board - with a simple but effective piece of advice ringing in my ears. One thing that has struck me on this programme is that - as a friend of mine once said "average people give average advice" - and conversely exceptional people cut through the crap and give short sharp excellent advice. Fortunately we have had both staff and fellow students who fall into the latter category. For me I got to very pithy pieces of sound good sense if I'm too make something out of what I have done to date. One was to stop over-intellectualising and go with what feels right and the other was to get out of the Woods and get my filter stick into other locations. So that's it really. Of course easier said than done but...maybe the way to move forward.

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