One of the issues with distance learning is that the feeling of isolation can sometimes be quite overwhelming, something I have been feeling acutely of late. A busy home and work life has left little time and even less energy for to dedicate to the course and in the time I do seem to have I have been lacking motivation. I nearly missed this regular study hangout with fellow course mates due to family commitments which luckily changed at the last minute meaning I could join – I am so glad I did as the two hours spent discussing where we are at, what we have been working on and what has been impacting us helped put everything in perspective. Hearing Bryn and Anne talk about how they are approaching the end of the course also spurs me on to progress myself. I feel like I have a good plan for what I want to do for the rest of the course and being forced to articulate this in discussion helps make that seem much more achievable. Talking about my plans for assignment three also made me realise that I need to experiment more with this practically rather than thinking about what I am going to do.
Bryn’s approach to assignment 5 was to photograph a sky sculpture at the Yorkshire sculpture park. This involved liaising with the park to gain access and meant he was limited to the time he could visit so needed to have a clear plan for this. Part of Bryn’s submission is a video document of the process made in collaboration with Johnathon Hall. It is an innovative and professional part of the assignment which really adds to the overall impression of what Bryn is attempting to achieve. Through the development of the assignment Bryn has documented his progress and thinking thoroughly on his blog. To have this background knowledge and see the culmination of the work distilled in a concise way that also hits the correct academic tone is inspiring to see and something that I can take some notes from. Overall the effect of the assignment succeeds in capturing and records the sky sculpture at a fixed moment in time, which acts as both record of the experience while drawing attention to the fact a photograph is a significantly different artwork in itself.
Anne talked about bringing her course submission together and going back and reworking assignments as necessary. She particularly spoke about her assignment 2 saying this was something she was unhappy with and intended fully reworking if time allowed. My feeling is that the time spent doing this may not show the results that Anne wishes to achieve and could easily prove a distraction to finishing the course, however, I could completely identify with her sentiments and doubts as I share them – proof that it is easy to give advice and not be able to take it!
I ended the hangout feeling reassured and motivated about what I needed to do but also with a feeling of melancholy that the study group will soon be coming to an end as the other regular contributors (Bryn, Anne and Johnathon) approach the end of the course and move on. It is a shame that other students who have started on the course have not chosen to join the hangouts as for me they are something that has kept me going and provided a level of contact and shared experience that is impossible to replicate in other forums.