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.