Reflection on Constellation Year 1

My expectations of constellation and what it actually was, could not have been further apart, as it turned out, constellation was much more open and broad than I had been anticipating. When I’d been told that my course involved a section on ‘constellation’, by way of broadening our subject bases and to add another layer to our work that we could then reference; I’d assumed that this meant that we would have an ‘art history’ side of the course. Instead, constellation provided a much more comprehensive subject choice than I’d anticipated, this was a pretty nice surprise. The capacity for discussion and the multitude of connections and comparisons, in terms of other subjects and interests that can be incorporated into your personal studies was far greater than I’d expected coming into the course. However, as usual, I was far to organised to truly take advantage of this. As happens far too often, and is undeniably always my own doing, I missed the deadline on sign up for the courses I’d intended to put down a preference for. This worked out in my favour, possibly better than it might have if I’d chosen the subjects that I was going to choose, as they were quite different from the ones I was given. Though it’s still never I good idea to allow something that carries such a high percentage of your final grade to come down to chance. In the end I was assigned ‘Architecture of the Unseen’ and ‘Creative and Cognitive development’ which turned out to be two really interesting courses with plenty of essay potential.
In ‘Architecture of the Unseen’ it took a while for me to find my feet, as the concept for the subject, that I was studying in the first term, was unlike anything I’d studied before and was therefore a little hard to wrap my head around; it also didn’t help that I wasn’t sure how to explain it too other people, which confused my parents no end. However I did grow to really enjoy ‘Architecture of the unseen’ (once I finally understood what it was about); studying such a conceptual subject brought be back to how I used to work when I studied philosophy and ethics in sixth form, it reminded me how much I love to learn and question higher concepts, in addition my prior knowledge helped me to understand and get back into the correct mind frame to do so. While it took me a while to initially get into the subject and fully understand the implications, once I’d it worked out how to go about writing about it on the blog (roughly, I’m still not great at blogging), it really helped to get to grips with the material and the ideas that Martin was talking about.  The concepts of agency really peaked my interest, and the ultimately became what I based my essay in. I’d never really considered this as a factor in my work, but now looking back on my own creative processes, it became obvious how this had featured my making and creative mind-set in the past. Once I finally got to write the final essay for that term, I’d been able to work this to a subject and personal interest that I could both investigate and enjoy writing about. Working with the concepts of agency and how outside factor and self-inflicted limitations could affect how your work in different ways, I linked my essay to my own interest in costume and body mods, linking in the idea that constricting clothing and body mods could affect your creative processes. The fact that I could work in my own personal interest into the essay made it much easier to write and engaged me in the subject with a better level of understanding and enthusiasm that I’d not expected coming into the course in September.
The following term, having really enjoyed the previous term and gotten good feedback on my work, I was ready to really get straight into ‘Creative and Cognitive Development’. The cross over in the two course made them a really good combination and I had a much easier time getting my head around the underlying concept behind it. I’d never really looked into the development of children, not really having much of an interest in them; but I do have never ending list of why I’m not really on board with the modern schooling system and its rejection of the arts, so this provided me a new perspective I’d not really considered. I grasped pretty quickly onto the concept of cognition and the argument over steam v.s stem, and again the cross over between last term and this term helped a lot in terms of understanding the key thinkers; also having already warmed me back up with the waffling way that psychologists and philosophers love to write their otherwise quite simple concepts. It didn’t take me long to find another general interest, and in this case old vendetta, with which to carry my interest in the subject, preparing me for the essay at the end of the term. I decided pretty early on the if I chose to do an entirely new essay, as oppose to continuing the previous terms, it’s be heavily based in how I’d developed my own creativity and cognition through doodling, something my teachers had never appreciated or encouraged during my time in formal education; this would give me plenty of inspiration and a lot of material to work with.
Being able to work my own interests into my constellation work made it much easier to understand. Constellation on the whole has been a pretty positive experience and allowed me to project my own passions into a more academic context. It also reminded me how much I’ve missed essay writing and academic study, since I’d not had to sit down and do any large amount of writing in well over a year, having sworn off them after doing three essay intensive subjects in sixth-form. Both tutors, Martin Woodward and Sarah Smith, where great at presenting and explaining the work, as well as providing great resources and feedback on work. Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my experience of constellation this term. However, I need to work on how I incorporate into my work in illustration, the amount of cross over in the two sections of my course, written and practical, it not as good as it should be and I’d like to work on this.

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