This week saw the launch of the final brief of Protest and Survive where the students had to choose an issue that was local to them and define what they saw as local. We decided to give them a structure to work to throughout the day as this week they have three days to deliver their final outcome and last week they took linger to arrive at being fully prepared to make their work. They were directed to choose their issue, which some already had over the weekend, to then spend half an hour researching, and then they were asked to again consider their feelings, the mode, the audience, type and text, colour, and imagery.
Some similar issues such as homelessness, and animal cruelty, arose again where some issues relating to the issues addressed in previous work were being investigated; such as fracking on Hilbre, recycling, loss of green space, and the farming industry and animal husbandry. The same students seem to be the ones who are willing to battle with their work, talk to me about it, and consider different approaches to their pieces based on what they have done before. You can see the ideas being frantically written down and the debates going on with themselves and the evaluating of their previous protests. Some deliberately wanted to try something different, like a more subtle campaign or an awareness campaign rather than an angry piece. One student wanted to celebrate the green space that was about to be lost due to a road being proposed to access the new football stadium on King’s Dock, however, the more she thought about how she felt and when she evaluated her word and image associations, she noticed that her tone of voice was angry. What I have found inspirational is just how many of the students genuinely care about the current issues in society and how well connected they are. They don’t all live in a bubble which I think is sometimes expected of them. I am also delighted with how most are really considering what visual language and media will be best suited to the message, not sticking to what they know and what has previously worked for them.
We had time today to ask them to go and find two pieces of protest work that they believed were successful and evaluate them and determine what made them communicate well. They were encouraged to look through books I had brought it (on the Guerilla Girls work and their experience, Guerilla Art considering placement and context, and Poster Masters, demonstrating strong compositions, colour choice and a variety of purposes), and other books regarding protest, social commentary, and brief responses. I feel they found this useful to open up their ideas even further and to be able to validate their ideas as possibilities.
The next two weeks are for assessment. I will be allowed to sit in on some of the assessments with the tutors, see how the different tutors deliver their assessments and to also help prepare they students, making sure they have everything they need in their portfolio to date and give them a nudge on what they need to complete or include in time. After the assessment will be the start of the specialism. The students who select the Visual Communication specialism will be given three weeks to compose a zine to submit to Nexus cafe in Manchester. The skills they will acquire will be thinking about type, the layout and accessibility of a zine, the editing and composing process of putting a zine together including making mock-ups and digitally putting their zine together and simple bookbinding.