Field Reflective Journal.

I was first accepted onto the Erasmus scheme for field this year. The thought of getting the chance to study in another country and immerse myself in it’s culture excited me. However, it was not to be. I struggled finding all of the information I needed. I exchanged emails back and forward for months enquiring about different things, countries, Universities, courses, probably on an extremely annoying scale for the people in charge, but I wanted to be fully informed before making any decisions as for a whole term and credits to be met, I didn’t want to take any decisions lightly. As the deadline for applications drew to a close I was accepted in two universities, one in Tallinn and one in Mainz, Tallinn being Graphic Communications and Mainz being a straight swap for Illustration. However, our scheme doesn’t fit in with their schedules. We were to go for one term, January through until March. For both of these universities, their term runs from mid February/March through to July. Tallinn the least amount of time I could attend would be four months and the German tutor informed me that he would do his best to help me receive the credits I needed for the module, but I would struggle during such a short stay. He also sent a very useful link about costs. I was told I would need approximately £1600 for my first few days in Germany. This would be for accommodation (first month rent and deposit), health insurance, enrolment fee etc. I would also have to pay flights, rent for the 4/5 months of being there and also paying for my contractual accommodation in Cardiff and the £7500 tuition fee for this year at CSAD. Somehow I don’t think the grant you are given for going to study abroad would cover much. So I decided to pull out. I was disappointed, but then had to be realistic. If I had been given this information at the start, I would of weighed up the options quickly and not been emailing back and forth. But seeing as I hadn’t been on holiday for however many years, I wasn’t prepared to struggle to get the money together to pay that much to study away when I am already paying so much to study here anyway. I was questioned my the head of the Erasmus option why I pulled out, I explained this all to him. I don’t think he was aware of the costs. I feel more research has to be done to make this amazing opportunity achievable.

I then had to select two options. I chose from the limited information available on the subjects; Drawing Philosophy and Surprise Me.

Drawing Philosophy was interesting and as I have previously posted, I enjoyed listening to peoples opinions and the debates, however there was not a lot of drawing apart from the Drawing in Conversation element. The Drawing in Conversation is definitely something I am interested in carrying on and I am disappointed with myself for not finding the time to be more involved with since leaving. I want to reacquaint myself with this during the Summer break as I believe it can be taken in interesting directions. I am interested in Philosophy but feel it was taking me away from making images and that is what I really need to focus on.

*For a more informative breakdown of my thoughts, processes and experience within Drawing Philosophy, please refer to previous posts made during the option.

During a tutorial with Anna, I expressed my concerns about not producing much work during Drawing Philosophy and even though I found it interesting, I was concerned that if my next choice was ‘guess work’ as to whether it would help me evolve my work or help me to produce something substantial towards my portfolio it could affect my outcome for the year. She recommended me trying to change to Gorilla in the Roses option as it was more suited to me. We looked to find more information on the options and everything had been taken out of the option folders on Blackboard meaning students had no access to option documents. I asked to change to no avail but the Illustration tutors managed to get me assigned to the Limited Edition option which meant I at least had control over what I produced and could use collage if I chose to. I took it upon myself to message David Ferry who was running the collage option to tell him the situation and ask if I could have access to his reading list or to any information he would be giving to his class and he replied I should still come along to his lectures and sessions. And I did. I was planning to try and run the Limited Edition and Gorilla in the Roses options side by side if possible, but it would of become too much. Instead I informed my tutor of what I was doing and moved myself out of the option I was assigned to and into what would benefit my practice.

I would like to have more time in this option. It feels like we are only touching on certain aspects as to inform us and take it forward. Which is understandable, but regrettable. Tuesdays are lecture days where we have been talked through satire, editing, digital manipulation, artist books, controversy and films as montage. Thursdays are our hands on days where we are led by what we have spoken about on the Tuesday of that week and we produce work of narratives or we have a workshop showing how we make a concertina book to help with narrative. I would of liked to produce more work again, but I have been reading for dissertation and I have watched a couple of recommended viewings. There was a talk about controversy which has led me towards pin pointing what aspect of collage I want to investigate and write about for dissertation. I have attended an exhibition and talk in London that was recommended and have been advised on others which I plan to go to within the next couple of weeks.

*Refer to earlier blog posts for work and thoughts during Gorilla in the Roses option.

These have been the most enjoyable and beneficial few weeks of my degree so far. I am happy I took it upon myself to not take no for an answer and to make sure I get what I want from the term. Even though Field this year has come on leaps and bounds from last year there needs to be a lot more information available before making choices, especially if the system is going to be so rigid you can’t change. Tutorials would help so you can be given advice on what will be beneficial from tutors that are familiar with you and your work. There is no point in being interested in something and trying the option for the sake of doing something different if it is going to take you away for a full term with the risk of not producing anything towards your work or improving your process. Also allowances need to be made for changes of interests or pursuing breakthroughs that occur after option selection as we were asked to chose the options early on in term one. The option to swap options with someone who would like to swap with you isn’t enough when you are not in contact with the whole school of art and design. There is too much at risk to be guessing when you are about to enter your final year.



Overall, I feel there has been an improvement with the course in comparison to last year. The first term within Illustration felt a little manic. It seems like we are trying to cram everything in to such a short space of time as we only have that one term of Illustration before we disperse again. I still tried to be a little experimental with materials, but some projects never went too well. What did begin to stand out was my collage and I realised I needed to pursue that. Also, my tutorials with Anna and Amelia have proved most useful, they have given me every bit of guidance they can. Field has been a lot more fruitful than last year. Last year left me feeling like we had been abandoned for a term. No one knew what was going on. It’s a lot more structured now and I can take what I have learned in my two options forward into my practice. The combination of the end of last term, myself realising collage is the route I want to pursuit, me taking that to field and seeing how my first option could add to it, then my second option being all about collage and satire, this has snowballed and guided me to an area of interest for my dissertation. At the beginning of the year, I thought about refining my research on the subject I wrote about last year; gender and stereotypes, but this is something I feel I can explore within my work and what I want to research is about the collage process itself, what it can be used for, how it is viewed and why it can create so much controversy.

This however has all accumulated without the constellation option. Last year, I still don’t know exactly what my sessions were about as they seemed to be trying to satisfy the interests of everyone, so every session was different and with a broad scope of subject matter, I found it hard to keep up, or find the relevance personally. This year, I was placed within my second choice option. I originally thought it would help my articulate myself when I talk about my practice and my work, it would help me document and become more comfortable with explaining my process as there is usually a meaning and reason behind what I do. I don’t feel it was as I expected. With due respect to the tutor.  Maybe Constellation would be more useful if for the first term we concentrated on the dissertation, started to gather the groups together with similar areas of interest and then run session to help inform you with reading lists and research, etc. This has started to come about now in the second term but it feels completely disconnected to the first term. I don’t really understand what the point of the first term was? (So four terms of this really, including last year). This way it would give you more guidance and time on the books we need to read and write reviews on for our dissertation proposal. Also, to possibly include sessions on how to write literature reviews and other things like abstracts that we need to put together for our proposal, as all of this has only been touched upon in one two hour session, but I feel like it is more important than that.

As i stated earlier, I do feel there has been an improvement in the year this time around, but saying that, I still feel like I am not prepared for my third year. I’m entering it with only two terms of illustration behind me when other years and Universities have had six. I am trying to be positive about this year, but it is hard to forget that we are the first year going through all the changes and teething problems and paying an extortionate amount of money for the trouble. And we are to move campus for our final year…

Lecture notes…

Not to be understood by anyone else… definitely not with how many typos there are! I quite liked that the words were incorrect in the end, I stopped trying to correct them. They show the speed of the information being given as I typed. I think I also just enjoyed that I could still understand what it all meant even though it wasn’t ‘correct’.

S Memo_01 S Memo_02 S Memo_03 S Memo_04

Trip to the Cabaret Voltaire.

Whilst in Zurich I found the Cabaret Voltaire where the Dadaists congregated and the manifesto was drawn up. It is a small place, the cafe upstairs and a shop selling books on Dada and other objects downstairs. I think I expected more from it. There were plaques on the wall of the incredible collection of minds that were a part of the movement and or had once gathered there. There were posters on the walls leading upstairs. I think maybe as it was so quiet and we weren’t sure whether it was actually open or not, I didn’t feel comfortable staying and having a good look. I took a few photos and left. I will try again next time.







Fend for Themselves.

Not too sure on the name for this… this will be getting changed at some point! Also relating to the previous pieces inspired by newspaper articles. This one was titles ‘Catastrophe! Government cuts means elderly will be left to fend for themselves.” Hardly original, but still thought provoking. The article was written alongside a photograph […]

Glue. An exhibition on the art of collage. Chart Gallery, London.

Professor David Ferry was holding a talk on the art of collage at an exhibition called Glue. Chart is a small gallery space which helped me see how varied collage can be. All the work came under this umbrella, yet none of them looked at all the same. Collage is a perfect media to show diversity. Some of the work was vibrant and exciting, some melancholic and some seemingly mischievous. His talk was short and humorous. He talked through why he chose to call his class Gorilla in the Roses, after Joe Orton and his partner were prosecuted for defacing library books and sentenced to six months. (Which made me laugh as for our first practical lesson, he went to the library to see what books/ journals they could spare and told us to do whatever we wanted to them) He then led to how he had humorously defaced signage.  It’s a twist on word association, the visual form instead, a trigger, an automated response which shows your way of thinking, your way of seeing. This enlightened me to the fact that this must be why I am drawn to it as a medium as I have always seen things in objects that were something else to what the object is. Always associating something with another thing or form. That was the moment the big light bulb above my head lit up and I realised why I do what I do.

Artists featured in the exhibition are; Sarah Thomas, Mark Harris, Michal Cole, Keeler Tornero, Deirdre Kelly, Caroline Kha, Hormazd Narielwalla, David Ferry, Cordelia Donohoe, Mary Wintour.

Work of the artists;

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Second visit to the Hannah Hoch exhibition. Whitechapel Gallery, London.

I spent another hour and a half here and again, I feel it wasn’t enough time and will have to call in again before the end of the month. I had a schedule to stick to so I had to grab what I could. This time I spent more time looking at the abstract work upstairs and watching the short interview where she spoke about forms in nature and how she never completes a collage in one sitting, she has to keep going back to it. I can relate to that, sometimes I need to look back on it with fresh eyes as if I carry on, I risk settling for the wrong components just for the sake of ‘finishing’.

I want to go again, to read more the captions and descriptions and understand more about the pieces and the sections of the exhibitions. I did take some photographs… even though you’re not allowed…

tyranny photomontage life portrait 4 abstraction 12 years7 654.143212.


From the last visit;

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