SIP – The First Encounter!

So the show stopper today was that your project doesn’t have to be about teaching. It can be about your practice.

When our lecturer announced that the joy in me bubbled so darned high I couldn’t contain it. The squeal I let rip was described by a friend as “in surround sound”. No glass broke so everyone’s eardrums should be ok. To be honest, I wasn’t aware that I was going to squeal until it escaped me. My joy was simply too big to contain – I could work return to my art practice for my SIP. Finally, I was back on track!

Writing this makes me realise something very important – I am more excited by my art practice than teaching. This year I did only two paintings. I simply haven’t had time for commissions or just painting. The idea of getting back behind a canvas (or at least a project that will position me closer to the canvas) just lit me up like a firework.

But back to SIP class.

I think this information blew down a few houses like the big bad wolf wiped out the little pigs’ straw house. There were questions a-plenty and when the dust cleared a lot of people were left re-positioning their questions to do what they really wanted to do. Interesting…

My highlights for today were:

  • seeing PgCert colleagues I haven’t seen in a few months – it’s good to be surrounded by like minds.
  • understanding the freedom of the scope of the SIP unit – I can return my focus to my poor neglected practice? Woooohooo!
  • looking at the research model and understanding the process I would be expected to go through – that was a beaut. I downloaded the PowerPoint for the lecture just for that slide. I’ll be using that as a close reference throughout this course, I think.
  • concept mapping my question and refining that question further – I love a good map because it really represents the non-linear, sometimes random way my brain connects thought. I uncovered some questions that I need answered that I hadn’t considered before, like how do I measure the social change impact, the effectiveness of my exhibition (that’s what I think I’ll focus on for SIP), how do I decide which stories to tell, does one form of art elicit action more than another?
  • getting peer feedback on my question option – this made me consider how much of this process do I want to share up front? (see trust & IP issues mentioned 2 points down)
  • hearing my peers (other lecturers’) ideas for research and discussing how they might focus it – really gave me insight into the breath of topics I could research and multiple angles for approaching a single question.
  • getting feedback and suggestions for my own research ideas – I realise I still have issues around UAL and protecting IP. (Add that to the to-work-on list!)
  • my one-to-one tutorial – this really clarified what I could and couldn’t research for my exhibition and how I might approach it.

I guess, looking at that list, I really enjoyed the entire session. Most likely because today was the first opportunity I had to legitimately, as part of my coursework, look at the project that has needled me to do it for three years.

During my one-to-one, I explained the details behind my exhibition idea and my current art practice which led my tutor to ask, why is “How can I use art to inspire social change action?” your ‘mother’ question? I explained that I was trying to account for the fact that an exhibition might not be the best way to achieve my objective but given that I was a fine artist, maybe I should just list the decision to do an exhibition as one of my assumptions/biases. In a way, I had already tested this when I ran my workshop on Monday at CCW Foundation, where I taught inclusivity and compassion to 49 Communication Design students. This was another way to use my creativity to inspire social change action but having done it, I must confess it didn’t make me half as excited as the prospect of creating this exhibition. My tutor agreed with my reasoning.

And after spider mapping the possible “how to execute” options, I believe I have the makings of a question for this Unit. Wanna hear it?

“How do I effectively produce a large-scale exhibition that uses art to inspire social change action?”

Yay me! I’ll play around with it a bit but for the most part, I think I might be there. Enquiry focus locked and loaded. Question to be tweaked.

Let’s do this!