Research in Practice critical evaluation

Observations

The process of recording the journey has been far more intense than I was expecting. I started my blog quite early on in the process as I had used one before and found it to be essential, as I could not have possibly remembered all the moments where I had really looked back on my practice. My research has moved around in terms of scope but has ended up being a culmination of all the aspects. There have been times when I believed certain elements were irrelevant, such as instructions, but actually they were the key points. It has not been a natural process for me and I have struggled explaining myself eloquently. I’m not convinced it has been successful, although I don’t think it’s awful, I’m just unsure as to whether it fits the brief. I think it explains what I am interested in, what has caught my eye, and what have been my obsessions, but is it relevant/appropriate? I don’t think I would do it this way if I were to do it again, I think its needs a clear question that is much narrower at the very beginning that can be fully explored. I have read extensively but still there is a lot that has been missed out or not yet been read. It either needs to be doubled in length or narrowed in focus. It’s a very good summary, but lacks detail as I’ve tried to cover too much but I found it hard to exclude anything. The presentation in December certainly clarified things but was a much more rewarding process for me personally.
I don’t always enjoy my job and so having to think about it a lot of the time when really I did the MA for an escape was hard.

I felt that the boundaries changed when we returned in the second year. In the first year it seemed to be that we were meant to focus just on education based research, and then it all changed and it was about us at artists, this is when the confusion set in.

I haven’t had that sense of relief or achievement with this module, which normally does eventually come; I’m not sure I’m explaining this properly but I genuinely feel ambivalent to this research.

 

Evaluation

The Research in Practice is an exercise in contradictions. There are days when I’m convinced I know exactly what I’m doing and others, more often than not, where I am completely baffled and lost. At certain moments I would argue it has been hugely beneficial, and definite points when I have found it so incredibly difficult to be involved with that it has been to the detriment of my practical work. I would find it hard to extol the process in terms of progressing my ideas, if anything I would argue that it has merely delayed them, holding them back from where I would be now. Whilst I can appreciate reflection is a key element of both art and teaching practices to be looking backwards for such an intensive, extended amount of the MA course in such a formulaic manner I find very restrictive. However, two days ago I would have said it is difficult to reflect within such a restrictive timeframe. I feel that the process needs to be more equally weighted across the course, and whilst I have used a blog to record my journey extensively, which has been a great resource, I should have utilised the presentation process at more regular points to really summarise more effectively. The presentation was a highlight for me; I felt able to explain myself coherently and enjoyed putting it all together. Since then, by turning it into an essay format has not worked so well. I am a maker and showing visually, or describing verbally, my thoughts and ideas, is a more natural way whereas essays tend to over complicate things. I had initially intended to create a ceramic piece that would encapsulate all the imagery, text and emotions I felt in response to my journey thus far. But when I found out I would still have to write a written piece to explain it I became very disheartened with the process.

Unfortunately, the final stages of the RiP have come at a time in my life where I have been dealing with personal issues that have affected my ability to focus and intention to be involved in anything. If I look back over the MA I could confidently say that the school workshops were highly beneficial, as was the interim show, but in terms of recently there has been little that has fed my practice or my research. I am not trying to gain sympathy, if I wanted that I would have divulged to my tutors what has been going on, but it is simply a reality that has influenced my ability to complete the Research in Practice effectively.

I don’t believe what I have written to be of little value, but I believe it is lacking in terms of insight. However, it also seems alien to try to conclude anything at this point; it is hard to review the practice when the story is not resolved. If my RiP is about the disconnection of my practice to my teaching then it cannot be summatively explored by 6th January 2015. It seems almost contrite to force it into the present.

I have made interesting arguments, and can definitely see where the overlaps have started to form, but my reading around the issues and my understanding of them has only been dipped into. I have had to consciously exclude certain avenues, as the volume of literature is so wide ranging everything seemed to become diluted.

The sections have been the best aspect as by working under headings that are more open I could explore the territory and it’s overlaps. I was unclear as to how academic it needed to be in terms of guidelines so I have simply tried to present it professionally, although I would rather not have kept it paper based.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I really think I would do it differently another time. The conclusions are there but they need refining and explaining more clearly. The solutions to how I can move forward are genuine and I will be putting them all into action, but for myself, rather than because I believe they will enhance my progression along the MA. The possibilities of changing my mindset will certainly improve the way I respond to my job and my art practice, which could not have happened if I hadn’t reflected so strongly, but they are very personal to me and my concerns and I wonder how relevant they would be for other teachers in the same position.

I’m also struggling with this as it is not what I expected a piece of research to look like, even though I think it does adhere to ideas and approaches I read about with the likes of Gray/Malin or Smith/Dean books.

Overall, it is too grey; it needs more highlights and lowlights, more contrast. I find it an odd time to reflect within the course and the method I ended up using leaves me cold. I accept that it is worthwhile and I do better understand my practices and myself but with the MA still unfinished it can only by an interim moment not a summative one. This then reaffirms my confusion.

Maybe I’m missing the point, and that actually it is exactly where I should be at the moment, but I simply struggle to accept that right now.

 

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