At the start of the year I was thoroughly excited for the constellation module. I do work better with the written word or verbally than perhaps I do visually, so the idea of someone talking about something interesting for an hour was not something that worried me. My ability of being able to sit still for an hour when someone talks about something that isn’t interesting is something that worries me. I looked forward to learning about art styles and art movements, and having my eyes opened to things that I did not know previously. However, after the first few lectures in the first term I found myself lagging. I found there to be very little drive in the lecturers, and oftentimes their lectures were long and drawn out, and I did not find them personally relevant in the slightest. In the lecture with Dr. Jeff Jones, I found it monotonous and incredibly arduous: I just felt totally lost. Why was I sat in a ceramics lecture? I’m not a ceramicist. Mostly he sounded as uninterested in his lecture as I was, which didn’t help with keeping the attention of the room.
I wanted more punchy topics, something with more bite, but unfortunately the following week with Dr. Kontogeorgakopoulos was equally as uninteresting. Once again, it did not appeal to me and still doesn’t appeal to me. I would be studying Music Technology if it were something that I was interested in. Fortunately he did seem incredibly passionate about his subject choice and lecture itself, which in itself encouraged me to listen. It is not something that I think I will use in my future works. The idea of having music with images is not uncommon in Graphic Design, but I think not the music that Dr. Kontogeorgakopoulos is interested in.
By far the lecture that stood out the most for me was that of Cath Davies and her Teenage Kicks! This lecture was the only one throughout the whole year that I, and many others that I have spoken to, felt that I could engage with. I’ve worn Dr Martens boots since I was 14, and the notion of them being a boot with which you kick down stereotypes and societal norms is something that definitely interested me. I was desperate for this constellation option in the second term, but the early bird gets the worm and I am not an early bird. I constantly scribbled notes throughout her lecture, and upon returning home I wrote even more. It really gripped me, whereas the others simply did not. I was really drawn to the idea of culture and meanings, and the different significance that can be put on an object depending on the context. This is something that really interests me. The idea of analysing an artefact in relation to a cultural approach is something that I will definitely take forward with me with my work.
When our study skills sessions began, I was guilty of thinking that they were just a series of sessions on writing an essay, essay formats and how to properly research the writing that would come later on in the year. I was not phased at all by the prospect of having to write a 2500 word essay as I had done essay subjects at A Level, and writing is something that I have never found particularly taxing. In hindsight, the ‘skills’ part of these sessions were probably more about researching artists’ work and the interaction we have with them? I’m not sure, but either way, as much as I love art, and love design, love drawing and illustrating and playing, I definitely don’t love having to describe some of Picasso’s earliest works as anything other than nonsense. I find the whole notion unappealing, and aesthetically confusing and no more than nonsense. I love to learn, I love lectures, but I just don’t love things I’m not interested in. Plainly I am aware of the cultural and artistic significance of Picasso, but I just want to learn something with a bit more significance in the world that I am in, not the one that Picasso was in. I perfectly understand that I am at university to learn, to achieve my fullest potential, but I find it incredibly difficult to identify with William Morris and his pots, or the ‘Grandfather’ of house music.
The lecture that we had with Dr. Shah was one that I was initially sceptical about. Literal? Phenomenal? No idea. But this one made a great deal of sense to me, in as much as I struggle to identify with a lot of art as it stands, so she put forward some interesting questions and viewpoints. Why is it relevant? What is its relevance to me? Does it have a meaning? All of these questions are things I often ask myself, so this lecture is one that I will definitely refer to in time.
After failing to choose a constellation option choice (something that I would obviously address next year), I was placed with Dr. Shah. At first I was again sceptical, but after an initial discussion I became more interested in the idea of what is literal and what is phenomenal. Through some personal circumstances I missed several discussions which is again something that I will have to address, but when writing my essay I did refer my lectures, in that I looked to them for relatively little or lots of guidance on various matters on how to address a topic or subject. Particularly as the majority of our second year revolves around dissertation preparation, constellation is not something that I plan on missing out on.
Overall I have found the Constellation part of our course at times exciting and interesting, but at other times arduous and monotonous. Hopefully when we pick our subject topics for our dissertations, constellation will be something that I find more targeted and specialised in something that I genuinely want to sit down and write about.