Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Last Rites

Well…that’s it then! We handed in our work at around two pm today…hung around for a few minutes, said goodbyes to the guys…and headed off to the restaurant for a long lunch.

It will be a little sad not to be gearing up for another session in the months ahead – I have really enjoyed the course and especially the people. I always used to kick off my ‘Dean’s intro’ at Derby by saying to the audience of freshers – turn to the people either side of you and take a good hard look…because they are the people from whom you will learn most, if not nearly everything, over the years of your study. And thus it was with the course at DMU, which is not to undervalue the terrific support, encouragement and insight of the staff team who also gave marvellous value for money.

What exactly I have got out of the course I'm still too close to say. I've learnt a lot...about Photography I now know what I don't know and have a glimpse of what is still there to learn. About life - well - I understand so much more about how tricky and complex it is for all of us and how much tough stuff we all go through and how marvellously resilient and creative some people can be even under real duress and stress. More than anything I feel as if the enormity of just being here is something we all share - or at least those of us who attempt something of this kind...whether we complete (and how meaningless is that when you are undertaking this kind of endeavour) or not.

I have been humbled more times than I care to admit by my lack of knowledge and immensely glad and honoured by the hugely interesting material that my peers and the staff have either achieved and/or created. There has been some terrific stuff and I am richer by far for knowing about a lot of it. The work of artists such as Claude Cahun and Alex Soth and of writers such Michel Tournier and - more than anyone - WG Sebald have all been of value to me. Without the course who knows when I may have come across them?

So I shall be very sad on the 9th June when I shan't be on my way down the M1 to Leicester to meet up with the guys...but I'm still feeling good about knowing them and for having the opportunity to study at DMU. Thank you to you all - and to Paul, Mike & Greg. It's been a fabulously enriching experience.

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