W is for…

…what next? A question that I always seem to ask myself when a project or course comes to an end, and in this case it arose from the evaluation section of the final SEDA teacher training course session on Wednesday. So where to next with teaching? That’s what I wanted to know. This week I’ve been also inspired by the film ‘Freedom Writers’ which I came across last week on Film4. It made me realise how much of a difference writing can make to one person’s life, how words can stand for so much and really help people. And that’s why I love to write. I had an article published in a-n magazine this month, May 2010, called ‘Lost in Context: Hand me a Pen’…let’s see if I get any responses from it.

On Tuesday afternoon (after the Skype interview that I spoke about last time), it was time to help out teaching the final year BA(Hons) Photography students at the University of Wolverhampton. The session began with a lecture by photographer Brett Killington who spoke of his diverse and broad-based practice including his recent project and MA show 64 stops. The images and the parallel story of how the project came around was inspiring, incredibly random and bordered with ideas of lost in translation to achieve the perfect image. An example of his work is below. Aren’t they alluringly unnerving and fearful? The extreme grading of the lighting is beautifully captivating and makes you want to creep round the corner to find out more.

Image © Brett Killington

After the lecture, students commenced with their presentations regarding different aspects of the photographic creative industries. The two I helped to assess and provide feedback on were about ‘Curation and Presentation’ and ‘Independent Photography’. The second group produced what can only be said as a professional online resource for photographers called the ‘Independent Photography Guide’ and we were all impressed, overwhelmed to some degree with what they had come up with. We all agreed we couldn’t wait to use this as an example for other students on different courses at different universities. It showed real initiative and faith in their futures.

On Wednesday, the final teacher training session consisted of half the final assessment for the SEDA Preparing Postgraduate Researchers to Teach in Higher Education course. Each member of the group completed a 15 minute presentation on the development of their teaching practice so far…I started off the day with a rather simplistic, straight forward Powerpoint talking through my Visiting Lecturing time at Loughborough University School of Art and Design and University of Wolverhampton School of Art and Design, my experiences, observations, considerations of students, and evaluation methods, stating an acronym for the term “teach”, I felt only definable by yourself, as each teacher is different, where teaching means different things to different people…it’s personal, right?

I finished on a quote, a Chinese Proverb actually, one which I have come across many times…

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

This made one of the teacher training tutors Matthew Badcock smile, as this quote was at the beginning of a book by educational theorist Paulo Freire which he often references from. As part of the day’s session, each member of the group along with the tutors had to informally assess how the presentation went as a direct and instant form of feedback. Comments I received included ‘confident’, ‘systematic in delivery’, ‘interesting slides’, ‘well-structured’, ‘clear ideas’, ‘liked the TEACH acronym’…with recommendations of considering activities and other interactive methods of presentation, what could the solution be to the ethical issues raised, and that I perhaps trailed off at the end of explanations and sentences. All constructive criticisms that I will take forward. Sam, another SEDA PPG student started his presentation with this slide…

Quotations breed within your imagination I think, that’s why I use them. Also, Khen, another student and colleague from the group, is starting an online forum for us all to communicate through about our teaching and also to ask each other questions in the future if we have any issues or problems we want to share. A great idea and I hope everyone keeps involved with it. Now it is only the 2500 word essay left to complete in order to finish the course.

Early Thursday morning I had a group tutorial with my first and second PhD supervisors Joshua and Darren. This was primarily a chance to talk through the first very rough draft of the 9R formal registration of the PhD form and we also spoke of how to start booking the fieldwork research trip in the Autumn. Not much more to say about that meeting really, oh just that RJW and I were perhaps offered some teaching by Joshua at China Academy of Fine Art (CAFA) in Beijing, we’ll see what unfolds with that. Excitement is starting to build!

Finally, on Thursday evening I went to the private view of exhibition EARTH|ATMOSPHERE at Bilston Craft Gallery, a show which I have been marketing as part of my Participation and Events Assistant role at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Presenting the works of Pakistani ceramicist Halima Cassell and Japanese textile artist Seiko Kinoshita, they had a fabulous attendance to the night and it was really good to finally see the new commissions that I had been writing so much about. Cassell’s new ceramics were stunning…

Now my bank holiday weekend consists of completing the 9R form…let the writing commence.

1 Comment

  1. Hello Rachel
    Yes I agree with you completely. I was doing some teaching at Bilston Gallery this Wednesday and then popped down to the gallery. Earth/ Atmosphere is fantastic and Halima Cassell’s work is especially powerful. Even photographs on Cassell’s own website don’t do the work justice.

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