Assessment began today and it runs for the next two weeks up until Christmas. The bus strikes effected the attendance again today but you recognise the same faces who make it in regardless. Today was a brilliant opportunity for me to catch up with the students and see their body of work. I was hugely impressed with their level of commitment, their willingness to experiment and their genuine interest in their chosen issues, as well as the social environment around them. I could constantly hear discussions going on with the group engaging in talks about the news and the Scandinavian way of life and their attitude to equality. I also had to opportunity to be shown the work of students on other elective projects such as Textiles and Fine Art. I am overall impressed with the amount of work produced. As you can expect, there was the odd student who didn’t turn up with all of their work or students who talk about what they are going to do next, but obviously they can not be marked for this. I found it invaluable to experience how the tutors deal with different students. There are some who experience difficulties with communication and have different ways of processing information. The students were made aware of the support that was available to them such as help with dyslexia and mental health support. They were also notified that there are other ways of documenting if writing is proving difficult. If it is more effective for them to document by recording themselves speak either by recording or by filming, that is acceptable. It is better than having it all stored up in their heads but not having anything to produce for the tutors and eventually, the external examiner.
I found it challenging to engage with a couple of the students, possibly down to my inexperience. One never really wants to show me anything and doesn’t really speak much. I can tell by the sketchbook evaluations that this student is very intelligent but I find it difficult to read the student. I am unsure whether they know they are intelligent and know what is expected of them so they give enough to demonstrate this but there is a lack of enthusiasm, or even interest. This also could be down to the fact they are shy and introverted and I am misinterpreting them. Another was finding it extremely difficult to cope with being told they had not done enough. They struggled to break down what has just been asked of them to compose an action plan of what was needed from them over the next two weeks. All the student could focus on was that they had not done enough and they had missed so much out. I’m not sure why they did not engage with the process that we had walked them through during the Monday sessions but now they were finding it difficult to go back and fill in the gaps. They had not done any artist research or evaluations and when I suggested going and sourcing some artists to look at or artists that work with the same materials they had used, they were reluctant to. They said it didn’t feel genuine. They wanted to use the time to collate a list of things they needed to do and that was all they could focus on at the moment.
I spoke with a couple of the students who were very open and honest about their life experience and their dealing with anxiety and the support they needed, and also how some were dealing with mental health issues within their work and how they were finding it therapeutic while they hoped to help people deal with their own issues through their work. I found their openness very positive and hopefully as each generation comes through, the stigma will lessen and it will be as accepted to talk about these issues as it is physical health issues and health care will be just easy to access.
I spoke with Jason and Jennie about being involved with the course throughout the year and beyond my expected time-frame. I will either come in throughout the middle of the course and again at the end or possibly a week every month, we will work it round the timetable of the next few projects and their FMP. It is mutually beneficial to me and the students and I would like to experience the change in the students as they settle into specialism and their confidence grows. I would also like to be involved in the proposal for their FMP and the end of year show.